How Long Will My Injury Case Take To Finish?

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May 13  

How Long Will An Injury Case Take?

I want to talk about how long will your injury case take. So I got a call from a person yesterday who asked me this question. She kind of knew how injury cases worked in a general sense, but wanted to know how long would her case take.

So here's the brass tax, let's get right down to it. Everyone wants their case to be over quickly. Everyone wants to have their case resolved quickly without hassle. I do everything in my power at my Law Firm to do that for people. In fact about 90 percent of my cases are settled. And the vast majority of those settle in less than a year. We are very aggressive about getting the cases done. Some offices are less aggressive, some offices immediately file a lawsuit. I think that just stretches the case out, that otherwise might be a case that could settle.

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Settling A Case

What do you need to know about how long your case will take? Well the number one thing you have to keep in mind is, once we settle an injury case the case is over. In other words, we can't go back and ask for more money later. So whether it's a work injury, a car crash, a dog bite, nursing home abuse or whatever it is. When we settle the case and sign the release or sign the settlement papers, then the case is over for that amount of money and that's it.

So because that's the case, we have to keep in mind that it's really important to make sure we know all of your injuries. We have to know what your medical outcome is. Now in the vast majority of cases, the medical outcome is that, you get better or you get close enough to better, maybe your life's a little bit harder, but you're able to do things.

Maximum Medical Improvement

But what happens in circumstances where I had a client who needed surgery. And against my judgment he said if I didn't settle his case for the offer on the table, he would fire me. I talked to him and I explained "what I'm explaining to you, that it's a bad idea to settle your case before you know your medical outcome or you reach what's called maximum medical improvement". So this guy wanted to settle this case because they built in money for his leg surgery.

I had him sign things up and down and sideways. I even encouraged him to go get second opinions from other lawyers, because any ethical lawyer would say the same thing. There may be some unethical ones out there who will just want to collect the money and won't really care, but in my case, definitely, I didn't want this guy to settle his case. Why? Because I wanted to know what his outcome from the surgery would be.

There Are Possibilities

There's three possibilities with his leg surgery. Either the doctor miraculously fixes him and he's better than new, or it doesn't help them at all and he needs another surgery or maybe multiple surgeries, or it makes him worse, and he can't walk anymore or something like that. Now admittedly that outcome is less likely, it's more likely that a surgery is really going to help you.

But I'm your lawyer. I have to protect you, including protect you from yourself. Which is why I take pains to explain all this stuff to Injured people so they know what's right.

With this guy, sure is anything. He had the surgery and then he needed another surgery. After he collected all the money, he called me like three or four months later. And said "oh my doctor says I need another surgery, is there anything we can do?". I told him nope, there's nothing we can do.

Lawsuit Loan

I even brought up a lawsuit loan. I told him "look if it's an issue of you, needing money, because you're pinched for money, don't settle your case just because you're pinched for money". He didn't want to take a lawsuit loan, he wanted his money, he understood he signed off. I wrote him a two-page explanation that I made him sign. And then sure enough, three or four months later, he calls me back and says his leg is worse and he needs another surgery. And once the case is settled, the case is settled.

The point is, until we know you're better or until the doctor tells you're not going to get any better, once we know that, then we'll know what your maintenance medical for the future will be. We'll know what the repercussions are for your employment. Like can you keep doing the same job, this sort of thing. Then I can sort of evaluate the value of the case and not before then.

There's lawyers out there who are desperate to get you to sign on the dotted line and hire them. They're going to tell you oh it's a great case we'll wrap it up in three months, we're going to get you a million dollars, and then it doesn't work out that way. So any lawyer who tells you that kind of thing you can't really trust.

How Long Will It Really Take?

So how long will your case take? Well I've settled a case in less than 30 days and I've had cases that were litigated for years and years. Most of my cases settle sooner than that. But the main thing for you to know is that until you hit a plateau or until you're done going to the doctor, it would be a mistake for us to try and settle your case. So that may give you some idea if you go to the doctor for three months and tell me you're done, I order all your medical, I may very well have an offer and have your case settled in three months after that. Sometimes 30 days, 60 days sometimes longer.

I hope that information helps you sort of gauge how difficult a question is how long will my case take. 

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About the author - Scott D. DeSalvo

I've been helping injured people just like you for my entire 20+ year career in all kinds of injury cases, and I can probably help you, too.

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