If you’re injured in a car accident, the road back to normal is a long one and it starts immediately upon impact. You and your passengers may have suffered injuries that need medical attention, your car is likely damaged, and you have to file a police report against the at-fault party — all of which take place at seemingly lightning speed.
Once you visit the doctor’s office, the cost for your treatment can vary from manageable to astronomically high, depending on the extent of your injuries. Similarly, your car could be damaged beyond repair or could be out of commission for weeks, leaving you to rent a car to get around.
The effects of a car accident are immediate, but the process to recover restitution from the at-fault party in a personal injury claim can take quite a while. People who file claims are often confused by the delay between the accident and the final decision, but below, the personal injury attorneys at HCK outline the typical timeframes and deadlines to expect when filing a claim.
Throughout the process, there are set deadlines that keep your case moving and help you reach a resolution as quickly as possible. Typically, you, as the injured party, have to notify the at-fault party that you’re filing a lawsuit within a certain period of time from the accident date. Most accidents have a deadline of two years to file a lawsuit.
Although the deadlines help establish when certain parts of your claim should be completed, they don’t determine how long your case will take — and no two cases are the same. There’s not a set amount of time that your particular case should and will take, and the timeline can be affected by a variety of different factors, including the following:
- The extent of your injuries and your treatment time – If you are injured, you don’t want to start determining how much to seek in restitution or negotiating a settlement amount until you know how much your doctor’s bills and treatment plans are going to cost. Medical reimbursement can include all of your hospital bills, long-term care costs, as well as the pain and suffering you are going through and the impact your injuries will have on the rest of your life.
- How well the negotiation process goes – If the at-fault party cooperates, your case has a much better chance for a quick resolution. Unfortunately, most cases don’t have a cooperative defendant and admissions of guilt or offers to pay restitution are not forthcoming. Most insurance companies try to avoid paying or try to pay as little as possible, and negotiations can stall your case for months.
- Whether or not your case will go to trial – Trials can take even longer in a personal injury claim, although most cases don’t make it that far. If a settlement is not reached, the trial process is long and expensive and it puts your potential decision in a judge’s hands.
If you’re filing a personal injury claim after an accident, you should be aware of what will affect your case and how it will impact the outcome. For more information on personal injury claims and at-fault accidents, contact an attorney at Helmer, Conley, and Kasselman, PA, a New Jersey personal injury law firm, today.