How Long Does a Sacramento Personal Injury Case Take?
September 6th, 2022|
Sacramento personal injury laws allow compensation to individuals involved in automobile accidents, slip-and-fall, dog bites, or any other accident caused by a party at fault. However, several factors impact the amount or how soon the plaintiff receives the compensation.
Some factors can be influenced by the plaintiff or their personal injury attorney, while others are beyond their control. Understanding these factors can help reduce the compensation waiting time. If the actions of another party injure you or your loved one, Berg Injury Lawyers could help hasten the compensation process. Contacting a personal injury attorney could also increase your chances of getting maximum compensation.
Factors That Affect the Timeline of Your Sacramento Personal Injury Case
Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI)
Accidents or actions that lead to personal injury claims lead to different injuries. The severity of injuries in a head-on car accident may differ from a slip and fall. Although the cause of the accident may not matter, the severity of the injuries does. Some injuries take longer than others to heal, and the time taken to achieve maximum medical improvement impacts the compensation timeline. The plaintiff or their lawyer cannot influence the doctor’s report.
Once a doctor ascertains the plaintiff has reached maximum medical improvement, they will not require further medical procedures in relation to the accident. An MMI report at this time allows for the computation of compensation amount since the cost of medical treatment is a factor in a personal injury lawsuit. Even where the plaintiff calculates the value within a reasonable time, they may have to wait for other parties in the lawsuit to recover. The delay in submission of medical bills and MMI reports, therefore, delays compensation.
Although MMI reports delay the compensation, temptations for quick settlements should be discouraged. One never knows what medical complications may arise from the injuries. A little wait could help the plaintiff get their compensation in full.
The Value of Your Claim
Insurance companies are always willing to settle small claims promptly. However, when the claim reaches tens of thousands, the insurance company may put up a spirited negotiation to reduce the amount. These negotiations may take months to conclude.
Although plaintiffs may start the negotiation early, insurance companies do not take them seriously before they file a lawsuit. After filing the suit, the respondent has 30 to 60 days to file their response. California laws also allow the respondent 30 to 45 more days to file their response. Filing the lawsuit and getting a response could take months. When the hearing finally begins, it can take several months.
Whether You Go to Trial or Decide On an Alternative Dispute Resolution
An aggrieved party can settle a personal injury claim through a trial or use alternative dispute resolution channels. The route taken affects the compensation timeline by shortening or prolonging it. Using the alternative dispute resolution route significantly reduces the waiting time. It can take 9 to 18 months to settle a compensation claim through the alternative dispute resolution channel.
If, on the other hand, the plaintiff chooses to go to court, they should expect to wait longer. Filing the dispute and getting a response takes several months, while the first appearance at the trial court happens after a year. The negotiations may take another year or longer, depending on the case.
The waiting time may also depend on the cooperation of the other parties. If the defendant is cooperative, the waiting time reduces significantly.
Should You Settle Early to Save Time?
Once the plaintiff seeks medical treatment, insurance companies are likely to make compensation offers. In most cases, the insurance company offers compensation that is way below what the plaintiff deserves. The insurance companies understand the complexity of filing a lawsuit and the waiting and hope the plaintiff will accept the offer to save time. This tactic is known as a lowball offer.
A plaintiff should not accept the lowball offer. They should reject the first and the second offer and make the defendant believe they are willing to stop at nothing but their rightful amount. However, the plaintiff should seek the opinion of a Sacramento personal injury lawyer on whether to reject a given offer. Berg Injury Lawyers have years of experience in personal injury claims and can help the plaintiff make an informed decision.
The Documentation Process Takes Time
Documenting different pieces of evidence takes time. The plaintiff may have to visit their employers to calculate lost wages or wait for an MMI report. The cooperation of the parties involved also impacts the documentation time.
Specific Issues With Your Case May Arise
While issues like whether to accept offers from the insurance company are within the plaintiff’s control, others are not. For instance, some injuries are diagnosed way after the accident. In such cases, the defendants may claim they did not result from the accident. Identification of the party at fault may also consume a lot of time. Any other unforeseen issues may increase the settlement time.
Patience Is Your Best Friend
For a plaintiff to get what they deserve in a Sacramento personal injury case, they should invest in patience. Patience means they will wait for their MMI, reject lowball offers, and invest their time in documentation. Even when the compensation process takes too long, the plaintiff will eventually get the compensation they deserve.
When To Contact A Sacramento Personal Injury Lawyer
Filing a compensation claim in Sacramento can be long and tedious. However, contacting a personal injury attorney can help simplify the process. While the time to complete the compensation process varies from case to case, the attorney takes the negotiation burden from the plaintiff. This gives the plaintiff enough time to recuperate. When dealing with a personal injury Sacramento residents are advised to contact a lawyer immediately after the accident may also hasten the compensation process.
Berg Injury Lawyers Can Help You With Your Sacramento Personal Injury Case
At Berg Injury Lawyers, we understand the complexity of personal injury cases can prolong the compensation process. Although the waiting time depends on several factors, our experienced lawyers will do everything to speed up the process. Contact us at (866) 904-2014 or fill out our free form to speak with our legal team.