You’ve finally found yourself a good attorney to represent your personal injury case. You’re ready to get the ball rolling, but it seems like your case has been taking a lot longer than you imagined. Some cases can be finalized within few months. Others can take up to two years or more to resolve.
It’s easy to get frustrated with a slow moving case, but it’s important to not rush into taking a settlement. In fact, that’s probably what the insurance wants you to do, since they rarely offer you a fair settlement early in your case. You need to remain patient during this extensive process, so here’s what you can expect.
Evaluating your injury
The first part of any case is discovering what injury you have and how bad it is. The full extent of your injuries cannot be known within the first few days of your accident. In fact, it can take months for doctor’s to give an opinion about the seriousness of an injury. Doctors must first wait for the patient’s condition to stabilize to establish that the injuries are permanent. This process may take more than a year to discover the injuries.
Once you know your injuries and have found your attorney, the process has started. If the case cannot be settled without filing suit a lawsuit may need to be filed. After a lawsuit is filed a scheduling conference may be set up establish deadlines in your case. This will be handled by your lawyer. You will not need to be involved. However, if you have dates that you would be unable to go to trial be sure to let your attorney know.
The first months of the lawsuit will be dedicated to discovery. Discovery is the evidence gathering phase of the lawsuit. This is typically six months or more. During this time, each party will try to learn everything they can about each other’s case. You will be requested to answer interrogatories, which are written questions that you answer under oath.
You will also be requested to produce other documents, or authorize others to produce the documents. These include accident reports, medical records and bills, and insurance policies. An independent doctor may need to examine you to verify your injuries.
The next step includes depositions. A deposition is when you or another person is asked questions in front of a Court reporter. The Court Reporter types up what you say in response to questions asked. This is all done under oath. You will be questioned about the accident, injuries and what your health, education, and work were like before the accident.
After moving on from the deposition, it is possible for the attorneys defending the wrong doer to try to file a motion asking the Court to dismiss your case. It is important that your attorney has gathered all the necessary evidence to prove you have a claim. If he has not done this your case may get dismissed. If the case goes to trial the Lawyers may file motions to determine if certain evidence can be admitted at Trial. Often times lawyers disagree about what evidence is relevant to the case. Sometimes a Judge’s ruling on these issues can make or break a case.
Sometimes just prior to Trial the Court will order the parties to mediation to try to settle the case. The evidence of the case is reviewed by a mediator who will try to get the parties to reach an agreement about settling the case. If you and your attorney agree that you weren’t offered a fair settlement, your case will move on to trial.
After deciding not to settle, your case will go to trial and a jury will decide what damages you are entitled to. The trial may only last a few days or possibly a few weeks. During this time, it’s still possible to settle the case.
It’s always best to wait and not rush into a settlement agreement. By hiring an experienced attorney, you can get an estimate of how long your personal injury case may take.
If you have had a Kansas car wreck injury that was not your fault and need medical treatment, you need an experienced professional who can help you get back on the road to recovery. Call us today at 316-269-1414 or visit our contact page here. Our Kansas personal injury attorneys will provide you a free initial consultation and if we take your case you don’t pay a dime unless we recover money for you. Even then we only take a percentage of the total amount of your recovery.
If you have questions on what you should be looking for when you are making a decision to hire a Kansas personal injury lawyer, read our article located here.
Ray Hodge & Associates proudly represents victims and their families across the state of Kansas, including Wichita, Andover, Derby, Goddard, Haysville, Mulvane, Rose Hill, Newton, El Dorado and Hutchinson. Call today for a free consultation all over the state of Kansas. We have proudly served clients in Sedgwick, Butler, Sumner, Harvey, Kingman and Reno Counties.