Slow and leisurely may be a perfect pace for a weekend afternoon or a family getaway. If you’re talking about settling a personal injury case, however, you probably would like things to move along with a little more speed so you can get back to your normal life.Personal injury laws and timelines vary in each state. To make sure you have accurate information, you should retain a personal injury lawyer in Georgia. They can answer your questions and will stand by your side throughout the process. They’ll help you navigate the complexities of the system, as well as your particular case.
While you consider filing a personal injury suit, here are some basics you need to know.
The statute of limitations
In Georgia, you have two years from the date of your injury to file a lawsuit. If you are suing the government, the statute of limitations is only one year. Counties or local governments may have other regulations.
There are certain limited exceptions to the statute of limitations. For instance, if a healthcare professional overlooks a medical diagnosis, the effects of the serious illness may not be recognized for more than two years.
The shortest route to recovering damages for your personal injury is an out-of-court settlement, though even those timelines vary.
In the most basic personal injury settlements, when both sides agree on terms, you may have to wait anywhere from two weeks to a month to receive the proceeds. Why the delay?
The most straightforward settlements still require the insurance company and both attorneys to complete a significant amount of paperwork. They may have some back-and-forth discussions about the particulars included in the settlement release.
Once the other party’s insurance company produces and processes the settlement check, it will be sent to your lawyer. Your lawyer will apply the proceeds to any medical bills you may have, as well as their own fees, before you receive your portion of the settlement.
That’s the best-case scenario. A more intricate, contentious settlement can take months. The settlement language may be much more complex and require extensive negotiations. If the injured party is under 18 or an adult who has been deemed incapacitated, the settlement is subject to court approval. All of these factors extend the length of time between settlement and your receipt of settlement proceeds.
Going to court
The majority of personal injury lawsuits settle out of court. Out-of-court settlements save both sides time and money, not to mention the stress of litigation.
However, if all parties involved cannot reach a settlement agreement, the case will go to trial. When a case goes to court, your personal injury timeline can extend from months to years.
Your personal injury attorney will file a complaint with the court. The court serves the defendant with the complaint.
The discovery process comes next. Your attorney will talk to witnesses, identify relevant experts, and gather documents, including your medical records. Both sides offer the evidence they plan to present at trial. The discovery process itself can take up to a year.
During the discovery process, your attorney and the defendant’s representatives may still try to reach a settlement. If the settlement talks are not successful, motions and arguments will proceed.
Barring any settlement, your case will go to trial. This time span depends on the court’s schedule and will likely add several more months to the timeline. Ultimately, they may not issue a ruling for years following the filing of your suit. Even after the verdict, the defendant may still appeal.
So, how long will that settlement take?
Unfortunately, it’s tough for even the most experienced attorney to provide a specific answer. Your personal injury case may take anywhere from a few weeks to a few years to settle.
Since each case is unique, every timeline is different. Elements that impact the timeline may include:
- The type and severity of your personal injury.
- The amount of the settlement you are seeking.
- The court’s schedule and caseload.
- Your need to settle quickly for a lower dollar amount vs. your ability to wait for a more substantial financial settlement.
Find a personal injury attorney who will stand by you the whole time.
We care about our clients and will go above and beyond to represent your interests, from negotiating with insurance companies to fighting for your rights in court.
Our law office is in Atlanta, Georgia, but we offer services statewide. Our skilled team has experience in a broad range of practice areas, from truck accidents to slip and falls. We’ve won countless personal injury cases in Georgia. We can help you too.
Disclaimer: The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only, and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through, this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.
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Atlanta, GA 30303
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