A personal injury case is often the best route to compensation. While insurance claims can sometimes supply the sum total of your damages, insurance companies are often unwilling to pay in full without a court case looming over them or a jury verdict against them. Even so, these cases can take quite some time, and it is important to know what you are in for.
A court case for a personal injury claim can take about a year to resolve in full for many simple cases. More complex cases might take longer, with 2 or 3 years, mostly consisting of wait time between events on the client’s end – though the lawyer often has more active work time during those waiting periods. Even so, settling a case can often mean much quicker results, potentially driving a case down to a few months or even weeks.
To have our Georgia personal injury lawyers review your case for free, call Howe Law at (844) 876-4357.
What Makes an Injury Lawsuit Take So Long in Georgia?
Injury cases take a long time for a few important reasons. While it might be difficult to have your case pending for so long, it is important that this system be given time to work.
The first and biggest reason for slowdown is simply access to the courts. Courthouses are often busy, especially in large cities like Atlanta. Courts only have so many courtrooms and so many judges, so inevitably, scheduling becomes one of the factors slowing down your case. This is part of why so many cases settle through insurance or outside of court: you don’t need to wait on the courts to schedule your hearings and trial.
Another reason cases take a while is that both sides need to be given due process. Defendants need to be notified of the case against them and given time to get a lawyer and respond (or to work with their insurance company’s lawyer on a response). From there, each side also gets a fair amount of time to respond to each motion and filing, making sure that the case is fair.
Along with this fairness comes the common idea in the legal field that trials are won by ideas, not by surprise. Atlanta personal injury lawyers need to take time to speak with witnesses, take depositions, collect evidence, and share evidence with the other side to make sure that everyone knows what happened and can prepare an argument about those facts and events. Trials are not won by producing surprise, last-minute witnesses and evidence but by putting both sides’ claims through the “crucible” of the legal system and seeing which side has the best claim. This truth-determinative process simply takes time to make sure there are no mistakes or surprises.
Is Settling an Injury Case Faster than Going to Court in Georgia?
Settling your case is almost always going to be quicker than going to court or taking a filed court case all the way through trial. When you settle with the other side, it ends your case – and you will sign a settlement agreement that makes that clear. That means that, after that point, you cannot take the same defendant back to court and claim additional damages against them. Instead, your case is done early, and the damages you already received are the sum total of what you will receive.
While settling is faster, it must be done with care. Because settling ends your case early, it means that there might be evidence you do not yet have or health complications related to the accident that you do not yet know about. Filing your case in court and taking it through the “discovery” stage – where each side shares its evidence and witnesses with the other – can help flesh out the facts of your case. In doing so, you will have more information about how strong your case is, and so will the defense. Many cases are settled during or after this stage, as the parties have essentially shown their hands and can no longer bluff about how legitimate the case is or how much it is worth.
However, personal injury cases can settle at any point, even before being filed in court. If you tell the defendant about your injury and they offer to pay you cash up front with no questions asked to end the case, that is still a settlement – and a settlement like that might take only days to finalize. More commonly, cases are settled through insurance claims, where the victim files with the insurance company and receives a payout for their damages in the next couple of weeks or months after filing. In both cases, the final amount might be too low, so it is important to have our lawyers review the offers and help negotiate if the offer is too low.
How Can I Speed Up My Personal Injury Lawsuit in Georgia?
As mentioned, some cases can take around a year while others will take multiple years to resolve. In some cases, you can take steps to speed your case along – but there are outside limits that will not be able to be shortened.
First, we should go over some of the hard limits on how short you can make your case. In most cases, it will take months or even a year to prepare the case for filing. Our lawyers can only shrink this portion of the case so much before weakening your case with insufficient prep. Additionally, filing deadlines for responses are often set at 30 days, and they often take the full 30 days. From there, the judge will always need time to make a decision and to schedule hearings, and there is little we can do to speed up this process.
As far as what you can control, collecting evidence and bringing everything you have to the table with your lawyer is the best way to speed things up. If you can get witness contact info, police reports, medical records, bills, and other evidence, that saves a lot of time. Promptly responding to calls and emails can also help things go more smoothly while preparing your case and taking it through the courts.
Call Our Georgia Personal Injury Lawyers Today
For a free review of your injury claim, call Howe Law’s Columbus personal injury attorneys at (844) 876-4357.