How Long Does a Personal Injury Case Take in Philadelphia?
Each personal injury case is different, which means that the time it takes for your case to settle or close would depend on the various factors specific to your case. Broadly speaking, however, your case could take several weeks, months, or even years.
One of the most influential factors in estimating how long a case could take is the severity of the injuries involved. In general, cases involving minor injuries usually last several months to a year. On the other hand, cases involving serious, life-changing injuries requiring extensive medical treatment usually last for years.
However, injury severity isn’t the only factor that would determine how long your personal injury case could take. To understand how certain factors will impact the duration of your case, here’s a standard timeline of personal injury cases.
Consulting With a Philadelphia Lawyer To Discuss Your Personal Injury Case
After you have received proper medical treatment or while still receiving treatment (for long-term or catastrophic injuries, complications, or disabilities stemming from the accident), you must discuss your case with a skilled Philadelphia personal injury. Your lawyer will explain to you the best legal options suitable for your case and make sure that you receive fair and full compensation for your accident-related losses and damages. Your personal injury case officially starts when you hire your lawyer.
Your Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyer Investigates the Accident
You must tell your lawyer everything there is to know about the accident and your injuries. Your lawyer will then gather all the medical bills and records related to the accident, collect other evidence relevant to your case, evaluate the accident scene (with help from experts if necessary), interview your doctors, check out police reports, and talk to any witnesses.
Depending on the exact nature and severity of your injuries, your injury history (if any), and your medical treatment, this part of your personal injury case could take months. But this part is immensely crucial because the information found during the investigation will form the basis of your personal injury case and determine how much compensation to which you are entitled.
Making the Demand
The vast majority of personal injury cases are settled prior to a lawsuit ever being filed. Your lawyer will try to settle the case and make a demand to the liable party. If the liable party agrees to the demand, your case will conclude much quicker than if you take your case to court. However, it’s important to note that your lawyer might opt to take your case to court if your case involves catastrophic or permanent injuries or impairment.
Most lawyers also won’t make a demand until the injured victim has reached MMI or maximum medical improvement because they can’t possibly know the real value of a case until the injured victim has reached MMI. MMI simply means that the injured victim has completed the recommended medical treatment and has recovered to the point that doctors expect them to recover. Depending on the injuries, it could take months to years for an injured victim to reach MMI.
Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Philadelphia
If the liable party doesn’t want to negotiate and agree to your demand, your lawyer will file a personal injury lawsuit. Pretrial procedures may vary from case to case, but usually, it could take a year or two for your case to reach trial. Take note, though, your case could settle before the trial starts or as it is happening.
The Discovery Phase
During discovery, each party will investigate the other party’s claims and defenses. Doing so entails interviewing relevant witnesses (deposition), including the plaintiffs and defendants, and sending document requests. Depending on the case’s complexity and court deadlines, discovery could take several months to a year.
Negotiations and Mediation
Once the discovery phase concludes, the lawyers of both parties will begin settlement negotiations. They might go to mediation if they need help settling the case amongst themselves. During mediation, the plaintiff, defendants, and their lawyers will all meet with a third-party mediator to discuss the case and try to settle it, hopefully avoiding a trial.
If mediation or negotiations still don’t work, your personal injury case heads to trial. During the trial, the judge or jury examines the evidence from both parties to determine whether the defendant is responsible for the injured victim’s injuries and, if so, how much compensation the victim must receive. The trial could last from a day, a few weeks, or longer.
Consult With a Skilled Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyer Today
Put simply, a personal injury case could take several weeks, months, or years depending on the specific factors surrounding the accident and injuries involved. Consulting a skilled Philadelphia personal injury lawyer as soon as possible following your accident helps ensure that you settle your case quickly. Contact Matthews Injury Law for your free consultation with our Philadelphia personal injury lawyer by contacting us online or calling 215-709-7915.