If you are in a car accident in Illinois, you may be out of work for an extended period of time, as you try to heal from your injuries. You may have bills mounting up. You may be in serious pain. All this may add up to one feeling how long will my case take to settle or otherwise resolve.
If you file an Illinois personal injury case, there are certain questions that may arise such as how long will the case take? Or, how long will it take you to receive compensation?
The answer to these questions is complex and varies from case to case. It will help to understand the stages of a personal injury case, and approximately how long the stages last. This blog will can give you an idea of how long it will take to receive compensation. It is advisable when you have questions about the personal injury claim process that you speak with an Illinois personal injury attorney at Claim Your Justice to get the answers you need to your questions.
In the time after your accident, you may have access to some insurance proceeds. if you are injured in a car accident. Your car insurance will pay damages to your car under the comprehensive coverage portion of your policy, and your medical bills under the medical payments coverage portion of your policy.
This is not the compensation that personal injury victims are looking for.
Before discussing the time frame to receive compensation, it is worth mentioning that in some cases, the responsible party’s insurance company (or the other side itself, if the Defendant is a larger company), may try to prey on your financial desperation. They may entice you with a quick settlement offer. Although they may seem like good or fair offers, these offers are almost always way less money than you are entitled to.
The other side’s goal in making these offers is for you to take what they are offering in desperation. As a result, you would sign a release that would forever bar you from ever suing them for more money. Always talk to a personal injury attorney at Claim Your Justice before signing any of these documents, and for that matter, before even speaking to the insurance company for the other side.
At the outset, your Claim Your Justice attorney will need to evaluate the facts of your accident, to see if there is a claim. In most cases, this is immediate. If you were stopped at a red light and hit from behind, there may not be any investigation needed at all. However, in a wrongful death case or medical malpractice case, your Claim Your Justice attorney may need to get medical records and have them evaluated by a doctor before determining whether there is a viable claim or not.
By doing this investigation, your attorney isn’t guaranteeing your case will win. He or she is just verifying that there is a strong likelihood of a case and a strong argument that you can make to win compensation. Your Claim Your Justice attorney may also speak with witnesses, or get photos or video of where you were injured.
The initial investigation period can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, depending on the type of case.
When the investigation is done, or while it is going on, if you are injured you will be treated by doctors for your injuries. Your attorney will want to wait to see how well or how fully you heal. Some people heal almost completely, while others may get better initially, and then plateau, never getting back to their pre-accident self. Your Claim Your Justice attorney won’t know what a fair amount is to settle your case, until it is clear how disabled, injured, or limited you are, because of your personal injuries.
How long it takes to see how injured you are or how much your body will heal, depends on several factors, such as the type of injury you sustained and how often you visit your treating doctors. If you are still making improvements and feeling better, your attorney may want to wait to present your claim, to see how much you improve before that improvement stops.
Your doctor may recommend further medical procedures, like surgery. Your doctor may refer you to another medical specialist. You may also need to undergo a course of physical therapy. All of these things take time.
There are some instances, where your injury is so obvious, that its value is clear from early on. Then, there may be no need to wait until your entire course of treatment is complete.
For example, if someone is paralyzed, that is often clear from the initial stages. There may be some improvement as time goes on, but we generally know what the lifetime consequences are of paralysis. In the case of amputation, it is clear from early on that there has been an amputation, and what the costs and associated lifetime medical needs will be.
This waiting period isn’t just about your current medical treatment. Your treating doctors may recommend future medical procedures. Your attorney also needs to know whether your job, income or future earning potential at work, will be affected. If so, the wage losses need to be included in your claim.
The time period for you to treat, heal, and have your injuries and physical or mental improvement measured, can be anywhere from a few months, to a year or more.
Once it is clear what the extent of your injuries is, your Claim Your Justice personal injury attorney will make a money demand to the insurance company. The demand will detail the accident, why the other side is liable for your injuries, and what the value of your personal injuries and expenses are.
There will be a “back and forth” negotiation between your Claim Your Justice personal injury attorney and the insurance company, in an effort to resolve the case. This “back and forth” will usually last anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. The length of time will depend on how much information the other side requests and whether your attorney thinks it is best to settle, keep negotiating, or file a lawsuit. Your attorney will relay to you the demands made, offers by the insurance company, so you can evaluate whether to accept an offer made.
If the case cannot be settled, you will have to file a lawsuit. The time it will take to get your case to trial after you file the lawsuit, will depend on the Illinois court’s docket. Busier courts may make the wait a year or more to get a trial date, while other courts and judges will move your case along much faster.
Your personal injury case may need time before it goes to trial for your Claim Your Justice attorney to conduct pre-trial discovery, and a lot of delays may be out of your attorney’s hands. For example, you may need to take the depositions of corporate representatives of the defendant, and witnesses.
Even if you are on a longer schedule, you can still settle your case at any time. The negotiations often continue between your attorney and the other side, even after a lawsuit is filed. You may go to, to mediation, where you could settle your case relatively quickly.
In some situations, your trial won’t be the end of your case, even if you win. The defendant may file an appeal. That is rare, but if it happens. An appeal can delay payment for another year or more. However, in most cases, after a successful trial, the Defendant would rather just pay the verdict, instead of filing an appeal.
Even after you agree to a fair settlement or win a jury verdict, there still may be a delay in receiving your award. That’s because your personal injury attorney may need to negotiate with your medical providers, to try to lower your medical bills. Remember the less money your bills are, the more money you will receive. So, although this can seem frustrating, the time spent is in your best interest.
Depending on how many medical bills there are, and who is owed (government entities can take longer to negotiate with than private medical providers, like doctor’s offices), you can anticipate a few weeks to a few months to allow your expenses to be negotiated.
As you can see, the time to get paid or to receive compensation in a personal injury case can vary from case to case.
Many of the variables that may increase or decrease the time are not in your or your attorney’s control. However, a good, diligent personal injury attorney can stay on top of your case, get the information that’s available, and make the settlement demand as quickly as possible, to help you get the compensation you need and deserve on a faster time scale.
Call our personal injury attorneys in Schaumburg at Claim Your Justice to schedule a free consultation at 847-434-3555 to help you understand the process of receiving compensation for your injuries.
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