The process of filing a lawsuit can seem daunting. In many cases, the process will take time, but it is often worth it if it means getting compensation for the expenses you faced in an injury. Knowing what you are in for when you file an injury lawsuit is important.
First, know that settling an injury case can often take months or even years off the timeline for your injury case, and many victims settle specifically so that they can get damages faster. Otherwise, going to court and taking the case all the way through trial can take a few months for a relatively simple case and years for a more complex case.
Call our Tennessee personal injury attorneys at Howe Law today at (844) 876-4357 for a free review of your potential injury case.
How Settling Can Speed Up Your Injury Case in Tennessee
In an injury lawsuit, there are usually a few major stages of the case. A claim starts with filing and the initial motions involved. Then it moves on to pre-trial conferences, negotiations, and discovery. The discovery stage is when evidence is exchanged and parties get a better view of the strength of their case. From there, the case moves on to trial. By settling, you can end the case at any stage in the process.
It is never guaranteed that a defendant will offer a settlement or that the settlement offer will be fair. However, settlement is almost inevitably going to be faster than taking the case through every stage of the process.
Settlements Before Filing
Initial settlement offers might be made when you file an insurance claim – likely before you’ve even filed anything with the courts. When you accept a settlement at this stage, you should be prepared for it to be the lowest offer you will see, as insurance companies often set offers at a value just under what it would cost them to litigate the case in court. Make sure to have our Nashville personal injury lawyers review your case to determine whether this settlement is enough.
Settlements During Discovery
Settlements often take place after or during the discovery stage. As mentioned, this is the stage where both sides get a better look at the evidence and might have a stronger understanding of how strong their case is and whether it is likely to win at trial. If you have a strong case, the defense might increase their offer to a reasonable amount somewhere around this stage of the case because they know that they would lose at trial. When you accept a settlement at this stage, you might still be past the halfway mark, but it is still quicker than going to trial.
“Courthouse Steps” Settlements
Settlements can also take place all the way up until the end of the trial. These “courthouse steps” settlements are usually tactical and really do not speed up the case much. Nonetheless, accepting a settlement this late in the case might still be a good move if you are unsure of how the jury will rule.
How Long Does it Take to Go to Trial for a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Tennessee
Getting a case all the way to the trial stage often takes months or years. Using the general stages of a case discussed above, we can look more closely at how long each stage takes and where the delays come in.
The first delay might be a necessary one: the delay before filing. Under Tennessee law, victims have 1 year from the date of their accident to file an injury case. It might actually take that full time for a victim to recover from their injuries enough to call a lawyer, gather evidence, and file the complaint in court. In some cases, this timeline can be sped up, but your case might not even start until a year after your injury. In the meantime, insurance might be available to cover some of your injuries, especially if you have first-party benefits on your car insurance or disability coverage.
The initial stages of filing your case often involve motions from both sides. The defense will usually get 30 days to file a response to your initial complaint, and they will often try to file motions to dismiss your case in the early stages. Each motion gets time for a response, and courts might also schedule arguments and hearings on these matters, all before you even get to trial.
The discovery stage can take weeks or months, depending on how much evidence and how many witnesses there are in your case. If you have a complex injury or it was caused by a complex problem, we may need to get reports from experts analyzing your case. This is often required in medical malpractice injury claims as well as cases involving complex product defects or pharmaceutical injuries.
How Long Does Trial Take in a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Tennessee?
The good news about injury cases is that trials usually do not take as long as you might expect. Famous, newsworthy trials are often reported on for months, but the actual time it takes from the time the jury is selected to the time a verdict is rendered is usually short in a typical injury case.
Most injury cases that make it to trial are resolved in only a day or two in court. More complex cases can certainly take a week or two, but cases only rarely extend longer than this.
Moreover, most cases do not ultimately get to trial. Something like 97-99% of injury cases are ultimately settled before they go to trial. This is good news, as it usually means shortening your case and getting you the damages you need faster – and it saves money for both sides on legal expenses and court costs. However, you should not settle your case without having a lawyer review the settlement offer with you to make sure it is adequate and that you understand the terms of the settlement.
Call Howe Law’s Tennessee Personal Injury Attorneys Today
Contact Howe Law’s Knoxville personal injury attorneys at (844) 876-4357 for a free case analysis and help with your prospective injury claim.