Depending on the circumstances of your case, a personal injury lawsuit can take a year or longer to reach a settlement or jury verdict. The personal injury claim process can be lengthy, but if you have unpaid medical bills, lost wages, and other damages, a lawsuit is often the best pathway to maximum compensation.
After your accident, it is important to seek immediate medical attention for your injuries. You should always go to the hospital, even if you do not feel like you have any injuries. You may have underlying or internal injuries that require treatment, and your medical records will form the foundation for your injury case. As soon as possible after the accident, go to the emergency room and save every piece of documentation you receive from the medical staff.
Once you receive treatment for your injuries, contact a Chicago personal injury lawyer. You will consult with your attorney and he or she will evaluate your case. If he or she believes you have grounds for a lawsuit, your lawyer will explain your legal options. After your consultation, your attorney will begin gathering evidence, contacting expert witnesses to provide testimony, and take the initial steps to file your lawsuit.
At this stage, your attorney may contact the at-fault party and his or her insurance company explaining his or her liability and the damages associated with your injuries. You may enter negotiations with the at-fault party. If negotiations are successful, you will receive a settlement and your case will end at this stage.
If negotiations are unsuccessful or insufficient, your lawyer will file a lawsuit in Illinois civil court. Your attorney will wait to file your lawsuit until you reach maximum medical improvement. It is important to wait until your injuries heal as much as possible so you can better understand the damages you need to recover. The more serious your injuries are, the longer your case is likely to take.
After filing your lawsuit, you, the at-fault party, and your respective attorneys will enter the discovery process. During this stage, you will exchange evidence, request documents, and depose witnesses in preparation for the courtroom trial. It can take several months for this process to complete.
Before trial, you may enter an additional round of settlement negotiations or enter an alternative dispute resolution process, such as mediation. If you are able to reach a settlement at this stage, you will sign an agreement and receive your compensation at this stage. If negotiations are unsuccessful, your case will proceed to trial.
During a personal injury trial, both parties will present evidence to the court in order to establish the facts of the case and your right to damages, or lack thereof. At the conclusion of your case, the court will determine whether or not you deserve damages and how much compensation you should receive. Your trial could last a day, a week, or longer depending on the facts of your case.
Several factors impact the length of your personal injury case, including injury severity, liability complexity, and availability of evidence. If you are filing a claim against a negligent party, you need an attorney on your side to help you navigate the process. Contact a Chicago personal injury lawyer as soon as possible following the accident to discuss your legal options.