When you’re injured, the pressing need for money to cover bills weighs heavily. You have medical bills to cover right now and waiting is driving you closer and closer into debt. You can’t work because you don’t have a car or are still healing, and the loss of income isn’t helping. You don’t want to accept an auto insurance company’s settlement offer if it seems too low. Yet, it doesn’t seem that your personal injury lawyer is moving fast enough. What do you do?
Start With an Honest Conversation
Start by calling your personal injury attorney. You may simply not understand the process as best as you can. Ask what’s going on and where the case is. If the attorney is waiting for a court hearing to get information from an insurance agency. If there is a three-month wait for that court date, there will be three months where the attorney has nothing new to report.
You need to talk to your lawyer about the steps involved. Don’t just nod and agree. If there is something you don’t understand, say so. You don’t want to leave the practice or hang up the phone until you have a full understanding of the steps involved, where the case is now, and how much longer it may take. Remember that the best attorney can give you is an estimate. As a case progresses, additional delays may take place.
Here’s a Breakdown of What’s Involved
Start from the moment you call the attorney you want to take your case. The attorney needs time to gather information and determine if you have a valid case. The attorney also needs to know if you’ve reached the point of Maximum Medical Improvement. This term means you’ve recovered as best your body can. You’ve healed, undergone rehab and therapy, and doctors say you’ve plateaued and will not get any better than this.
Until you have reached that point, there’s no point in filing the complaint. It’s the only way to determine the full extent of the financial loss your injury will cause. Say the lawyer files the complaint before the point of MMI. You’re expected to heal completely, so the damages are based on that information. Months down the road, you still haven’t recovered. The doctor changes that earlier prediction and says you won’t get better. This changes the amount of damages you face. The fact that you won’t get better than you are can impact your ability to do the same job, which would impact your income.
Once you have reached your MMI, the attorney can start looking at how much your medical bills are, the total loss of income since the accident and into the future, and other factors relating to your injury. Legal paperwork is drawn up so that the attorney can file the lawsuit.
After the lawsuit is filed, the defendant needs time to look it over and respond. You may be offered a settlement, but you may have to go to court. If you go to court, time is needed to question witnesses and involved parties. Time is needed to gather medical bills, accident reports, and other paperwork. There will also be a wait for court dates.
In general, it can take months or even years for this to happen. The average personal injury case requires up to two years. Historically, there is a case that took more than a dozen years. When there are conflicting facts or missing information or a lot of money on the line, a case may take longer than the norm.
Your lawyer needs to prove that the other person was solely responsible for the accident. Plus, there needs to be medical proof that the injuries were caused during the accident and were not present before. If there are questions regarding who was negligence, it can make it harder to fight for you. That can slow things down. If a homeowners or auto insurance company is involved, they may delay things to see if they can get you to take a lower settlement offer.
What Do You Do?
After talking to your attorney, you should have a better idea if the delays are justified. Your attorney may be less experienced and is hesitant on moving forward. There may be so many other clients needing that lawyer’s attention that your case has been set aside. If that’s the case, it may be better to look for a new personal injury attorney. You should at least talk to another lawyer to see what that expert thinks.
The Denver personal injury attorneys at Jordan, Herington & Rowley – Trial Lawyers for Justice – have a winning record when it comes to their cases. They put their full attention into the cases they take and deliver results. Call 1-303-647-3026 or click the “Chat Now” button to arrange a free consultation.