Injury claims are not always fast, but they are often necessary to get you the compensation you need after a serious accident. It is important to understand the timetable you are looking at for your recovery and to understand how these cases can be sped up or slowed down – and how you might be able to get damages faster.
Simple injury lawsuits with clear facts and clearly defined damages can often be resolved within a few months. In more complex cases, it will take around a year or more to get the case through the courts. In any case that goes to trial, the case will take much longer, even though trials typically only last a few days in the end. However, by settling a case, you can potentially get compensation within weeks or months, even for somewhat complex cases.
For a free review of your injury claim, call our Alabama personal injury attorneys at Howe Law at (844) 876-4357.
How Quickly Can a Simple Personal Injury Case Get Through the Courts in Alabama?
If your case is somewhat simple and straightforward, it might be able to get through the court system somewhat quickly. However, there are some built-in timing issues that cannot be skipped or sped up no matter how “easy” or straightforward your claim is.
Case Prep and Filing
The first delay will be the time it takes to build and research your case. Our Birmingham personal injury lawyers will work as fast as we can, but it is important to be thorough, to talk to witnesses, and to make sure that all filing and supporting documentation are as strong and accurate as they can be before we file your claim. For this reason, it often takes us a few months to prepare your case to be filed in the first place. However, you can speed up this process by collecting all of the evidence and records you have related to your accident and contacting us as soon as you can after your accident.
Defendant’s Responses and Judge’s Rulings
From there, once we file your complaint in court, there will be delays for the defendant’s replies. Every filing usually gets time for the defendants to file their answers and responses, typically around 30 days. From there, the judge also needs time to make a ruling on each document.
In a typical case, the defendant will provide an answer to the initial complaint, and if their arguments merit a reply, we will have to send another response, and they will again get a chance to respond. This is often the slowest part of the case and all takes place before the court hears the case “on the merits.”
Even with simple cases where the facts are somewhat straightforward, there will be an evidence collection stage after your case goes through the initial filings. Here, we will be able to send requests for evidence and depositions, during which time we can shore up our claims about what happened and what evidence we have to support your case. However, this process can also take weeks or months, even for simple fact patterns.
Trials are not usually scheduled immediately because courts are crowded and have limited schedules and resources. This could mean waiting weeks or months for trial, during which time our lawyers will work to prep your case.
After all of this work and prep, the trial itself usually only takes a day or two for simple facts. All things considered, your case could get to a verdict on the first or second day of trial, and you will be awarded damages after 6-8 months for a quick case.
How Much Longer Do Complex Court Cases Take in Alabama?
A more complex case will take longer in each area mentioned above.
First and foremost, it may take longer before we file your case in the first place. In many cases, injured victims need time to recover, and their lawyers need time to research and prepare a case. The law gives victims two years to file their injury claims, and it can often take the whole two years before filing your case.
From there, complex litigation often has additional motions at the beginning of the case. This might take more filings and back and forth – each with sufficient time for the parties to respond – potentially dragging out the case before it even gets to discovery.
More complex fact patterns will mean talking to more witnesses, taking more depositions, having more studies done, and having more experts review and write reports about what happened to you during discovery. All in all, this stage could take months on its own.
Pre-trial settlement discussions and mediation are often required in complex or expensive lawsuits. Judges will try to get both parties to come to an agreement, which often means presenting the case to a mediator and trying to come to an agreement before the judge will even schedule a trial.
Once the trial is scheduled and the parties are in the courtroom ready to go, the trial could take longer. However, even complex injury cases typically take around a week or less. Cases that take a month or more for trial are rare but not unheard of.
Settling to Speed up Your Injury Claim in Alabama
The vast majority of injury cases never actually get to trial because the parties settle well before that. Cases can be settled before they are even filed, getting you compensation through insurance claims or through an out-of-court settlement within days or weeks of your injury. However, cases are more commonly settled during the discovery stage, where the defense gets a good look at the evidence and realizes that they have no case.
Many settlements are low-dollar “nuisance” settlements, where the defense offers only a bit less than the cost of litigating a case to try to end the claim early. This is often not enough, and our lawyers can work throughout the entire process to try to reach a settlement so that you can get the damages you need faster than the court process permits. Cases can settle any time, all the way up to just before the verdict is announced.
Call Our Alabama Personal Injury Attorneys for a Free Case Review
Contact Howe Law’s Mobile, AL personal injury lawyers for a free case review by dialing (844) 876-4357.