Why Does It Take So Long to Resolve a Personal Injury Case?
Most personal injury cases involving car, truck, or motorcycle accidents in Texas are resolved within two years. Some cases are resolved much more quickly while others can extend well beyond the two-year mark. At any rate, we understand that clients sometimes feel as though resolution is taking too long. But trust us, we want to get your case wrapped up just as quickly as you do.
The fact of the matter is that the wheels of justice turn slowly in the U.S. This is by design. Our legal system has been built on principles meant to prevent innocent people from being punished. Those principles dictate a certain pace that is hard to get around.
Please know that even though it may seem like your case is taking longer than it should, the wheels of justice are still moving. Be patient. Resolution will come in due time.
Limitations of Personal Actions
You might be interested to know that plaintiffs in personal injury cases only have a limited amount of time to file claims. That time limit is two years. In other words, you have two years from the date of a car accident to file personal injury claims against those you believe are responsible.
If you were to immediately file a claim on the day of your accident – which is rare by the way – your case would likely be resolved two years from now. But if you waited two years to file your claim, final resolution may not come until four years after the accident. That’s why it behooves accident victims to sit down with their lawyers as soon as possible following an accident.
Preparing for Litigation
So, what happens during the actual two years it takes to resolve a personal injury case? A lot. For starters, both sides in any personal injury case need time to gather evidence. In the case of a car accident, that could mean poring over police reports, analyzing photographs, visiting the accident scene for reconstruction purposes, etc.
Along with gathering evidence, attorneys might want to secure witnesses for eventual trial. Attorneys for the plaintiff are talking to medical experts, experts in traffic control, and even witnesses to the accident itself. Interviewing all potential witnesses to determine the value of their testimony also takes time.
Next, the plaintiff’s attorneys have to spend time building a case that can be proved in court. This is not as easy as it sounds. There are multiple elements to every personal injury case that have to be proved. They include things like breach of duty, carelessness, and negligence. The more complex the case, the more elements the plaintiff’s attorneys have to deal with.
The Negotiation Phase
It is not uncommon for personal injury cases to never end up in a courtroom. Why? Because throughout the entire time the two parties are preparing for litigation, they are also trying to negotiate a reasonable settlement. The fact is that insurance companies prefer to avoid court whenever possible. It is better for them to settle out of court.
Once again, negotiations take time. The plaintiff’s attorney wants the best deal possible for his/her client; the insurance company wants to pay out as little as possible. There is a lot of back-and-forth that can take weeks, if not months, to settle. And insurance companies sometimes wait until just a few days before trial to settle.
As you can see, there is a lot that goes into preparing and litigating a personal injury claim. You should now have a better understanding of why personal injury cases are not resolved overnight.