While every case is unique, the vast majority of cases are concluded between six (6) and eighteen (18) months after a client retains counsel, depending upon the length of medical treatment and the complexity of the legal issues involved. There are several factors that might make a case take longer than others, including: a) different opinions of the settlement value of the case by the claimant and the defendant’s insurance company; b) the unavailability of key witnesses to give deposition testimony; and c) insurance coverage or legal defenses by the defendant’s insurance company that lead its attorney’s to question whether or if their client will have to pay anything to resolve a particular claim.
One of the biggest hurdles to settlement is an accident victim’s physical recovery. Often one side or the other will have a different view of the injuries, the facts or the evidence that support the injury. There might be medical experts who are consulted to determine the extent of the injuries and how they will impact a person’s life. If the injury interferes with the ability to earn an income the case may be valued at a higher amount than an injury that does not interfere with income. Also, the nature of an injury may well require more time for a settlement or trial to take place. Generally, no settlement should be considered until the victim has received a diagnosis and prognosis from his or her doctor, particularly for one of the following conditions:
- Brain injury;
- Fractured bones;
- Neck injury;
- Head injury;
- Spine injury;
- Back injury;
- Scars requiring plastic surgery;
- Children Injuries.
Approximately 95% of personal injury cases settle prior to trial. Usually, but not always, the case will settle for its maximum value just before it is tried. Accordingly, how long a case takes to settle can be dependent on the client and his or her belief in the merits of his claim and the jury system. Talk to your attorney about this issue. Your attorney will probably not ascribe a value to a case until all material facts have been investigated. Once that threshold is met, however, your attorney should be candid with you in discussing settlement value.
In many cases settlement is a very important option. Once a trial begins, there are many factors that can impact the outcome. A jury or court trial could result in a verdict in your favor, but that depends on many factors. Experienced counsel, like Scholle Law, will be able to help you evaluate the likelihood of success at trial. In most cases, it is important to consider a settlement because trials are inherently risky. Ultimately, the decision as to whether to settle is yours, but it is good to have a lawyer with the experience needed to let you know what is best in your particular case. When a client decides not to settle a case, but their lawyer has recommended settlement, it is important for that client to know why the lawyer recommends settlement. These factors should be communicated to you as the client so that you understand what might happen if you go to trial.
If you or someone you care about has suffered a serious injury or death because of another’s negligence, and you would like to learn more about your options, Scholle Law can help. From our main office in Gwinnett County, we maintain offices near Midtown and the Perimeter and represent clients throughout Metro Atlanta and Georgia. To discuss your case at a free, confidential consultation, please contact the firm online or call 866-972-5287 or 770-717-5100 in Atlanta. We take most cases on a contingency fee basis, which means we will be paid after we win for you.