Your personal injury lawsuit is as distinctive as your injury. This means that your timeline won’t resemble anyone else’s. Whereas there are several factors at play when you file a personal injury claim, knowing the duration it’ll take can help you get ready for the legal proceedings ahead.
That said, with any type of personal injury case, it’s probable that your eyes will be set on the finish line and being able to get your life back in order. But is there a definite timeline for these types of cases? The answer is no. The timeline for personal injury cases can be a moving target. This guide will walk you through the general timeline of a Kentucky personal injury case. At Flora Templeton Stuart, we work hard to ensure that your personal injury case is settled as soon as possible.
The first thing you should do immediately after being involved in an accident is to seek medical attention. Even if you don’t see any signs of injury, you should still seek medical care, given that some injuries take time to manifest. At Flora Templeton Stuart Accident Injury Lawyers, we refer our clients to quality physicians to properly document any injuries and get them the medical attention they deserve.
A medical evaluation will ensure that any injuries you suffered are diagnosed and treated promptly. Besides helping ease your injuries, medical evaluations will furnish you with vital documentation that can be presented as evidence in your personal injury case. Without medical proof of your injuries from a medical professional, it’ll be your word against that of the insurance company.
Besides that, failing to seek medical attention after an accident may open doors for the argument that your injuries were not severe or that you weren’t injured at all.
Whereas there isn’t a law that mandates that you consult a lawyer after an accident, it’s worth doing so if you wish to get the compensation you deserve. A skilled personal injury attorney will help you take the right measures to help you win your case—from gathering data and preservation of evidence to extensive investigations, medical evaluations, and partnering with medical professionals and other experts.
Apart from leveraging resources that may not be at your disposal, a personal injury lawyer can evaluate your case in its entirety from a legal perspective and advise you on the viability of your claim and the best strategy to use to obtain maximum compensation for your damages.
It’s not unheard of for personal injury lawsuits to be settled outside of court. If the attorney thinks that a lawsuit can be settled out of court, they’ll make a demand to the other side.
That said, an excellent attorney won’t issue a demand until their client has reached Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI)—this is the point where the plaintiff has recovered as fully as possible. The reason for this is that, until the injured person reaches MMI, the attorney won’t be able to accurately determine what the case is worth.
Once you’ve collected enough evidence, know the full extent of your damages, and you’ve attained the state of Maximum Medical Improvement, it’s time to file an insurance claim or demand for settlement. Your claim should include what caused the accident, how it happened, and what makes the defendant responsible for it, the extent of your damages and injuries, and how much you’ve suffered because of the injuries and damages. You should also include the amount you hope to receive from your claim.
Insurance adjusters will do all they can to refute your claim or try to reduce the compensation amount by shifting some of the blame to you. While it’s important to stay patient when trying to reach a settlement amount with the insurance company, if after a few offers and a few counteroffers, there still isn’t an amicable agreement, it may be time to take your personal injury case to court.
If the defendant’s insurance company chooses not to negotiate in good faith to settle the claim, your personal injury lawyer may advise you to file a personal injury lawsuit. According to Kentucky Revised statutes section 413.140(1)(a), the time limit for filing a personal injury case is one year from the date the injury took place, unless the injury is sustained during a motor vehicle accident. In these cases, the statute of limitations is two years from the date of the accident or the date of the last PIP (no-fault) payment. This means that you have only a one- or two-year window to file a claim against the negligent party depending on the type of case.
Insurance companies often drag cases. If you find yourself in such a situation, your attorney might suggest filing a lawsuit against the insurance company to protect your best interests.
A personal injury case may take a year or longer to finalize—different variables will determine the duration. Flora Templeton Stuart attorneys always endeavor to move cases through the court system as quickly as possible. Even so, there are deadlines that your lawyer can’t rush.
This is the phase where both parties investigate what the other side’s defenses and legal claims are. They send a request for pertinent documents to each other, send interrogatories (questions), and take depositions of all witnesses and relevant parties, typically beginning with the defendant and the plaintiff. This process can take up to one year, depending on how complex the case is.
After the discovery period comes to a close, meditation period sets in. Here, lawyers will start discussing settlement. There are instances when lawyers can come to a settlement amount just by talking amongst themselves. There are also instances where they have to go through a mediation process—such an instance is when both lawyers and both clients agree to get assistance from a mediator to try to resolve the case.
In Kentucky, mediation is usually ordered by the court prior to trial. The settlement to the case will be reached only when both sides are satisfied with the outcome. Additionally, anything either side says during the mediation process cannot be used by the other party in the later stages of the lawsuit.
In most cases, mediation does result in a settlement, but if it doesn’t, the case moves on to trial. Personal injury trials can last a day, a week, or even a longer duration. The duration the case takes will depend on how complex it is.
One essential thing to keep in mind about trials is that just because a given case is scheduled for trial doesn’t mean that the trial will actually take place on the set date. A trial may be pushed back or forward depending on a judge’s schedule. In case your trial is moved, you need not assume that something unfavorable is taking place. Trials get delayed all the time, and sometimes for the most innocuous reasons.
If you or your loved one suffered an injury due to another person’s negligence, Flora Templeton Stuart is here to help. We will stand for your rights and not back down until you get the compensation you deserve. Given that our main office is located in Bowling Green, Kentucky, you can meet with us personally. If you cannot travel to us, our lawyers will travel to you. Contact us for help with your personal injury cases.