If you have suffered injuries in a car accident, receiving the settlement money you need for medical bills and making up for lost wages is important. However, a speedy settlement is not always fair compensation.
A personal injury claim in Georgia might be settled in three months, or it could take two years or even longer, depending on several factors.
Injuries and Treatment
Settlements in a personal injury case should cover all the harm the injured party (the plaintiff) suffers.
For minor injuries, on completion of medical treatment, the plaintiff’s law firm collects medical records and the claim proceeds.
However, settling a case involving serious injuries too quickly can mean doing so without complete medical records or understanding the injury’s full consequences.
In Georgia, the statute of limitations on personal injury claims is two years. Serious accident victims should wait until as close as possible to maximum medical improvement to start a car accident claim or other legal action. This period helps clarify the cost of medical treatment and expenses of living with severe injuries.
Occasionally, liability is evident in a personal injury lawsuit, but at other times establishing blame is complicated and takes time. Sometimes, third parties admit partial liability, suggesting that the plaintiff was also somewhat responsible.
Proving liability involves investigations, witness interviews, evidence evaluation, and consultations with experts. Establishing liability is difficult without legal advice from an experienced personal injury lawyer.
An insurance company adjuster will often try to reduce settlements by disputing liability, disagreeing with the injury’s severity, or even suggesting it was not caused by the accident. The insurance adjuster knows plaintiffs need money for expenses, and the longer the settlement process lasts, the more likely they will accept unfair settlements.
However, if an insurance company adjuster understands that a plaintiff has hired an experienced car accident lawyer willing to fight the case in court, they are more likely to offer a fair settlement to avoid issues.
In fact, most straightforward personal injury cases are settled by the insurance company out of court. If personal injury attorneys take the case to court, it will be a lengthier process. Still, the vast majority of cases reaching the Georgia courts are decided in the plaintiff’s favor.
At the start of a personal injury case, it is rarely possible to know which way it will go, so your lawyer will prepare for an out-of-court settlement while at the same time being ready to fight in court to secure adequate compensation.
The Court Process
If a defendant is keen to settle, the case should go quickly. However, if the defendant fights, a settlement will take at least a year or longer.
Here are the steps in the court process:
- The plaintiff’s lawyer serves the defendant with notice of court procedures.
- The defendant has 30 days to respond.
- Next is the discovery phase, which often lasts six weeks or longer. During discovery, law firms take depositions, ask questions, and document evidence.
- Meeting in court is the next step.
Getting a court date in Georgia, especially in cities, can involve a long wait.
The more complicated the legal case, the longer it will take to settle. However, a typical car accident lawsuit generally takes two to four days.
Making a Decision
An experienced personal injury attorney understands all the factors involved with the timing of a settlement and helps their client come to an informed decision, weighing the urgency of receiving money to pay bills with the long-term implications of settling prematurely.
If you or a loved one have suffered an injury in a car accident, the legal team at Georgia Auto Law can advise you on the next step, whether it be filing an insurance claim or starting a civil lawsuit. We are highly knowledgeable in auto law and are experienced in handling sensitive or confidential information. When we say we take the attorney-client confidential relationship very seriously, this is not attorney advertising. We mean it, and we’re available 24/7 to prove it.
To find out more about our team, call 404-662-4949 today.