If you’ve been injured by someone else’s negligence, you may wonder how long it will take to get compensation in a personal injury case. Although Utah is a no-fault state for car accidents, you can still file a lawsuit against the other party if you suffered serious injuries.
However, it can be difficult to predict how long it will take to complete your claim without first speaking to a lawyer about the specifics of your case. The time needed can vary depending on your medical condition and who is at fault. Great West Injury Law’s Utah personal injury lawyers can help you determine how long it will take to resolve your claim.
The Legal Process of a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Utah
Many factors go into the length of a personal injury case, including the severity of your injuries and the legal complexity of the case. Whether the insurance company is reasonable during your negotiations or if you need to take your claim to trial also influences the length of your case.
When you hire a lawyer to file a claim on your behalf after a serious injury, most cases will proceed like this:
1. Free case review
The first step is to meet with your lawyer for a free case review to decide if they are a good fit for you and your claim. The lawyer also learns more about you during the case review, including when and how the accident occurred, your current health condition, and future medical treatments.
They may also ask about your work history and if your injuries affect your capacity to earn a living.
2. Gathering documentation for your case
Once you’ve agreed to hire the lawyer, they can begin gathering evidence and putting together a case. Videos and pictures of your personal injuries can be used to show the severity of your injuries.
The medical records and expenses for ongoing medical treatment also help your lawyer estimate the potential settlement amount. Your lawyer can review past pay stubs and work history if you cannot return to work because of your injuries to determine how much you should demand in lost wages.
They can then negotiate with the defendant’s insurance company or attorney after collecting all the documentation.
3. Filing the complaint
Your attorney files a complaint with both the defendant and the court after putting together all the evidence for the case. There are several elements in the complaint, including the facts of the case and the amount of relief requested. The defendant has 21 days to respond to the allegations and present a defense.
4. Discovery of evidence
The court allows time for the attorneys to discover more evidence. Both sides can exchange interrogatories, which are written questions answered under oath in writing.
The parties may exchange documents to check whether they support each other’s evidence. Examining witness statements is also part of the evidence discovery process. They each have 28 days to respond to all these pieces of evidence.
5. Pre-trial negotiations
The court may direct the attorneys and parties to meet for a pre-trial conference. During the conferences, the attorneys for both parties meet before the court to address any matters requiring resolution or to propose a settlement to the court. They can estimate a timeline for litigation if the dispute cannot be resolved.
Both parties can also choose to send the case to ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution). Both attorneys outline how far they will go to resolve the case during mediation.
6. Out-of-court settlement
Before the trial, the insurance party of the defendant may make a settlement offer. This can happen before or after the lawsuit is filed but must be before the verdict is handed down.
Before making a final settlement offer, a claim adjuster considers several factors, including your past and current medical costs and lost wages. They also account for future medical bills and your ability to return to work.
Insurance companies may delay your settlement and not give you the maximum compensation you need if the liability is not apparent from the evidence.
If you accept the defendant’s settlement offer, you must sign a liability release, waiving any accident-related claims. You also agree not to file another lawsuit or take any further legal action in connection with the accident.
7. Court trial
If the mediation and settlement process fails, the case proceeds to trial. Both parties submit motions asking the court to approve or deny one or more of the opposing party’s motions. The jury hears both attorneys’ arguments, reviews the evidence, and renders its verdict, including the amount of damages you will be awarded.
If a defendant is clearly at fault for your injuries, you can waive your right to a jury trial. Instead, a judge will decide how much to award you in damages.
You Can Turn to Great West Injury Law for Your Personal Injury Case
Our personal injury lawyers at Great West Injury Law can help you navigate the process of settling a personal injury claim. Our goal is to get you the maximum compensation possible while also ensuring you don’t have to wait too long for the money you need now.
Our experienced lawyers can assist with the claims process or answer your questions about your legal options following a significant injury. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation.