One of the more common questions we hear about car accident cases is how long the case will take. Often there are matters that need to be attended to immediately (payment of medical bills, securing a new car, etc.), and every day that passes counts.
Today I’m going to talk to you about how long you can expect your case to take.
However, the short answer is – it depends.
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Typical Timeline of a Georgia Car Accident Injury Case
There is a general pattern for car accident injury cases. The exact time may differ by a couple of weeks or so, but typically this is how they go.
1. You Hire Us to Help You
This is the first step in the process. Until you hire us to help you we can’t work on this case. And if we can’t work on the case then we can’t help you out.
Some people think it’s best to wait to hire a car accident attorney, but this is generally not a good idea.
Estimated time = 1 day
2. The Firm Gathers Everything About Your Case
Usually what this entails is putting together all of your medical records, police reports, statements, and anything else related to the case. Also included could be pay stubs from work (if you have missed work because of the accident), repair receipts for your car, and things like that.
We take the time to do this because it helps us get you what you deserve from your injuries. The more we can organize and document everything up front, the easier that makes the insurance adjusters job of settling the claim.
Estimated time = 3-6 weeks.
3. We Put Together a Claim Package and Send it to the Car Insurance Representative
In most circumstances, there aren’t other lawyers working for the car insurance company when a claim starts. It’s just someone who has been trained to review cases just like yours and assign a monetary value to them.
What’s great about this is that we know the people reviewing your case has a specific set of criteria they use to value your case.
It’s our job to put together the claim in a way that makes sense to the adjuster, and gets you the best offer possible.
Estimated time = 1-3 weeks
4. We Discuss Settling the Case with the Car Insurance Claim Rep.
Once we send over the demand package we start talking to the insurance rep. assigned to your case to see if we can agree on a number that gets it settled.
It’s at this stage where the timeline can get a little tricky. You probably already know this, but insurance companies do not want to pay you. These companies are not looking out for you, they are looking out for their shareholders. When they pay you it hurts their bottom line.
After some back and forth if the case is resolved we finalize the agreement and get you your money. If not, we move on to the next stage.
Estimated time = 4 weeks to 6 months or more
5. Filing a Lawsuit
At this point in the game no settlement has been reached. The only option is to file a lawsuit and start dealing with the insurance companies lawyers.
If the case gets to this point the timeline really goes long, insurance defense lawyers get paid by the hour. They are not interested in resolving your case. They are interested in billing their client for their work.
There are depositions, interrogatories, motions, court hearings, and eventually a mediation.
Estimate time = 2-6 months
6. Mediation of Your Car Accident Lawsuit
Before the case actually goes to trial it will go through something called mediation. This is a conference between both parties and a neutral third-party who tries to get both sides to agree to resolving the case. The neutral party will listen to both sides and try to facilitate a discussion that will lead to a resolution.
Many cases resolve at this point, as the lawyers for both parties may be reluctant to move to a trial because of the uncertainty of a trial.
If the case is settled here then the documents are drawn up and the case is settled.
Estimated day = 1 day
7. Car Accident Injury Trial
If no agreement can be reached then the case goes to trial. At trial, a jury of 12 people from the surrounding area decide who was at fault and how much damage was caused by the accident.
The trial itself usually only lasts a few days to a week. But getting to trial can take a long time.
Estimated time = 6 months
Trust is Critical
As you can see, these cases can take quite a long time and require a great deal of expertise and attention. That’s why its critical to get a Georgia car accident lawyer that you can depend on for the long haul (for a checklist of selecting your Georgia Car Accident Lawyer click here). You deserve an attorney that will put your needs first and put you in the best position to get your claim resolved.
I think I can be that lawyer.
Call Now to Schedule Your Free Consultation
If you have been injured in a car accident, time is of the essence. The insurance companies have already mobilized to keep you from getting the money you deserve.
Call us now at 762.323.1460 to schedule your free consultation. You’ll be able to meet me, ask any questions you have, and see in person that our firm is the firm you should hire.
Tyler Moffitt is the founder of Moffitt Law, LLC, a full service personal injury and criminal defense firm serving the state of Georgia. With an office in LaGrange, GA