No two personal injury claims are alike, so it’s impossible to answer how long your claim will take. However, by understanding the process and knowing what to expect, you can better understand how long it might take to get your claim resolved.
If you have been injured in an accident, contact Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. today for a free consultation. Our experienced personal injury attorneys are here to help you through the personal injury lawsuit process and fight for the compensation you deserve.
The Personal Injury Claim Process
The first step in filing a personal injury claim is to contact an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you navigate the process.
Meet With a Lawyer
A lawyer will be able to review your case and advise you on the best course of action. They will also be able to give you an estimate of how long your personal injury claim might take. Once you have retained an attorney, they will begin gathering evidence and building your case. This can take some time, as they will need to obtain police reports, medical records, and witness statements.
Negotiate a Settlement
Your lawyer will need to do fact-finding, and wait enough time until your injuries are healed, or at least until the nature and extent of your injuries are clear. Then your lawyer will try to settle your claim, usually by negotiating with an insurance company.
File a Personal Injury Lawsuit
If a settlement cannot be reached yet, the next step in the personal injury claim process is to file a personal injury lawsuit. The injured party’s lawyer usually does this. The lawsuit will state the injuries sustained and ask for compensation from the responsible party.
In the discovery phase, each party investigates the facts of the case by obtaining evidence and other discovery. This may include requests for answers to interrogatories, requests for production of documents, admissions, and depositions.
Personal Injury Trial
Even if a lawsuit is filed, most personal injury cases settle outside of court. However, if a fair settlement is still not reached, the case goes to trial and will be decided by a judge or jury. The length of time it takes to resolve a personal injury claim will depend on how long the trial takes.
Other Factors that Impact the Length of Your Case
Other factors can impact the length of your personal injury claim. For example, if the responsible party contests liability, this can lengthen the process. In addition, if there are multiple parties involved in the accident, this can also add to the length of time it takes to resolve a claim. Other factors that may impact your case include:
The Severity of Your Injuries and Maximum Medical Improvement
The severity of your injuries and how long it takes you to recover will impact the length of time it takes to resolve your personal injury claim. If you have severe injuries that require extensive medical treatment, your case is likely to take longer than if you have less severe injuries.
It’s important to keep treating until your doctor determines that you have reached maximum medical improvement (MMI). This is the point in your treatment where your doctor believes that you have recovered as much as possible. Ensuring you meet MMI ensures our evidence is as accurate as possible and helps calculate your damages in full.
The Complexity of Your Case
Another factor that can impact the length of your personal injury claim is the complexity of your case. If your case is complex, it may take longer to obtain evidence and other discovery.
Willingness to Negotiate
If the parties are cooperative and willing to negotiate, the process will usually go more smoothly. However, if the parties are uncooperative or unwilling to compromise, the process can take longer.
Large Claim Amounts
If the amount of money sought in the personal injury settlement is large, it can also impact how long it takes to resolve the case. Large claims usually take longer to settle because the parties are more likely to go to trial.
Personal Injury Statute of Limitations in Washington, D.C.
It’s important to note that there is a statute of limitations for personal injury claims in Washington, D.C.. This means you only have a certain amount of time to file a lawsuit in court. If you don’t file a lawsuit within the statute of limitations, you will be barred from recovery.
In Washington, D.C., the statute of limitations for most personal injury cases is three years from the date of the accident. This means that injury victims have three years from the accident to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party. If you do not file a lawsuit within this time frame, you will be barred from doing so and may not recover any compensation for your injuries.
However, there are different deadlines for different causes of action, such as for wrongful death claims (which have a 2-year statute of limitations in Washington, DC). In addition, many claims have certain notice requirements which are much shorter. You should contact a qualified Washington, D.C. personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to discuss the deadlines that apply to your case.
The Type of Personal Injury Claim
The type of personal injury claim can also impact how long it will take to resolve the case. For example, medical malpractice claims often take longer than car accident claims because medical malpractice may require more evidence and take longer to negotiate.
Damages You Can Recover in a Personal Injury Claim
The type and amount of damages you can recover in a personal injury claim will depend on the facts of your case. Some of the damages that you may be able to recover include:
If you’ve been injured in an accident, you may be able to recover compensation for your medical bills. This includes the cost of hospitalization, surgery, rehabilitation, and any other medical treatment necessary due to your injuries.
If you’ve been injured in an accident and cannot work, you may be able to recover your lost wages. This includes the wages you would have earned if you had not been injured.
Pain and Suffering
You may also be able to recover damages for the pain and suffering you’ve experienced due to your injuries. This includes both physical and emotional pain and suffering.
If your property was damaged in the accident, you might be able to recover the cost of repairs or replacement.
In some cases, you may also be able to recover punitive damages. Punitive damages are designed to punish the responsible party for their actions. They are usually only awarded in cases where the responsible party’s conduct was particularly egregious.
Personal Injury Claim Settlements
For more than 50 years, the Washington, D.C. personal injury lawyers of Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. have successfully represented individuals and families who have been injured or lost loved ones due to someone else’s negligence. Here is a small sample of some of our successful verdicts and settlements:
- $4.8 million on behalf of a severely injured man when his motorcycle struck a trailer being pulled by a minivan.
- $4.5 million for a woman who was seriously injured in a pedestrian accident after being struck from behind by a transit bus in a crosswalk.
- $15 million for a woman who was permanently paralyzed from the neck down due to being struck by a stray bullet.
- $6 million on behalf of a man who suffered a brain injury due to a rear-end collision.
- $5 million medical malpractice settlement on behalf of a 14-year-old client who suffered a severe brain injury due to a doctor’s inappropriate use of a chemical product.
See additional examples of our case victories and settlements on our “Case Results” page.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer Today
If you are looking for the highest level of representation available for your personal injury case, turn to Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. Our law firm has helped clients recover more than $500 million in compensation, and we have more than 100 years of combined experience. All of our partners are recognized by Washington, D.C. Super Lawyers®, and our firm includes three past presidents of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, D.C.
We work to help our clients obtain fair settlement offers to compensate them for the injuries they’ve suffered, but our attorneys are extremely well-equipped to go to trial if needed. Call (202) 659-8600 or contact us online to get the proven legal representation you deserve.