- November 20, 2017
No attorney can say upfront how long a personal injury case will take. This varies from situation to situation. There are two main factors that determine the length of a case: liability and medical stability.
In order to determine liability, we have to answer two questions: who is responsible for the injury, and to what degree is that party responsible? It is possible that more than one party is responsible.
Aside from liability, a person’s medical status is probably the biggest determining factor of how long a case will take. Ideally, the injured person should get to a point where his or her medical situation is not necessarily resolved but is stable. Then we can have a realistic idea of what the future holds. Oftentimes, people settle their case too early, and then they find out about additional injuries and complications.
Sometimes, surgery is not necessary until a substantial amount of time after the accident occurred. You should only settle a case when you and your medical team agree that you have reached the end of your medical treatment. If you foresee the possibility of another medical procedure down the road, it might be best to wait to settle. This is because you only get one shot at settlement; once you agree upon a sum of money for your injuries, you will not be able to get anymore, even if other expenses arise later on.
Let’s consider a typical situation. If someone has a back injury, most doctors will treat it conservatively and won’t even discuss surgery for months if not over a year (except in extreme situations). A person who has had surgery is usually entitled to more compensation than those who have been treated conservatively and their injury has been resolved.
Your medical situation will dictate how long you should wait before you can settle, but it is crucial that you get the case started as soon as possible. You want to inform the insurance company and all other necessary parties. Sometimes, there are some very short deadlines for various types of cases that you will need to keep in mind. Contact our personal injury attorneys at Stenger, Glass, Hagstrom, Lindars & Iuele LLP today for a free initial consultation. We have two convenient locations in Dutchess County, NY, contact our office in Poughkeepsie, NY or Wappingers Falls, NY.
For more information about personal injury, check out these resources:
More frequently asked questions about personal injury:
- I was injured in an accident; what should I do?
- I was injured in a car accident and it was not my fault; who will pay my medical bills?