How Long Does It Take to Settle a Personal Injury Claim?
If you are thinking of filing a personal injury claim in the state of Washington, you may wonder how long the entire process will take for you to receive your settlement check. The length of your case will vary based on the facts of your accident, the number of defendants in your lawsuit, the complexity of your case, and many other factors. A settlement can be negotiated in as little as six months. If you go to trial it may take two to three years to reach a conclusion. If you are considering filing a personal injury claim, begin the process as soon as possible with a Seattle personal injury attorney at Washington Injury Law.
Step #1: Seeking Medical Treatment and Finding a Personal Injury Lawyer In Seattle
The first step to filing a personal injury lawsuit is to seek medical attention as soon as possible following your accident. Your medical records will be a crucial piece of evidence in your case, as it will provide a basis for proving your injuries and calculating your damages. You should also seek the services of a personal injury attorney to begin filing your lawsuit.
Step #2: The Investigation Process
After you hire your attorney, he or she will begin investigating your case. Your Seattle personal injury lawyer will interview you about the accident, your injuries, and your background. Make sure to answer all questions thoroughly and truthfully. Your attorney will also obtain your medical records and other pieces of evidence.
Step #3: The Negotiation Process
Depending on your case, your attorney may make a demand to the at-fault party’s attorney and attempt to negotiate a settlement. If you negotiate, you and your attorney will meet with the at-fault party and his or her attorney and attempt to reach a settlement. Most personal injury claims successfully reach a settlement and the ends here.
Step #4: Filing the Lawsuit In Seattle
If your lawyer does not think that the settlement offer is sufficient to compensate for your damages, he or she may begin the process of taking your case to trial. Your attorney may wait for you to reach maximum medical improvement to file your lawsuit, which could take an unpredictable amount of time. This step depends on your circumstances and your attorney’s judgment.
Step #5: The Discovery Process
Your attorney and the defendant’s attorney will share information with each other during the discovery process. During this time, each party will investigate the legal claims of the other. The attorneys may also interview witnesses. This process can take anywhere from six months to a year.
Step #6: The Negotiation Process, Part Two
After the discovery period, you may enter into a negotiation with the other party again. You will discuss the case and attempt to reach a settlement. If you do reach a settlement, the process ends here. If you do not, you proceed with a trial.
Step 7: Entering the Courtroom
The trial process can be lengthy, depending on the complexity of your case. It can last a day, a week, or even longer depending on the facts. The jury will listen to both parties and determine the damages it can award to you. At the end of the trial, if you are successful, you receive a verdict in your favor and a judgment for the amount of compensation you will receive.
Step #8: Collecting Your Settlement Check in Seattle
Even though you received a judgment, it will take a while for you to receive your check. Your attorney will negotiate an agreement with the defense that you will have to sign. The insurance company will write a check to your attorney, who will deduct his or her legal fees. After this process, you will finally receive your check. It can take a few months after the end of your trial for you to finally receive payment.
At the end of the personal injury claim process, it may have taken up to two years to complete your case. Contact an attorney at Washington Injury Law for a free initial consultation to discuss the details of your case.