As the saying goes, “The wheels of justice turn slowly, but grind exceedingly fine.” Many people express frustration at the length of time it takes to receive compensation after an injury, occasionally many years. While attorneys strive to set reasonable expectations for their clients, pop culture is constantly leading us to believe that cases are resolved in a matter of weeks or months. This is simply not true.
Let’s say that you were injured in a car wreck on New Year’s Day and your injuries required eight months of treatment before you were back to your old self. Most attorneys will not send an initial demand for payment to the at-fault driver before you have finished all treatment to best protect your interests. No attorney wants to send a demand (basically an official record of what the plaintiff’s team believes to be fair compensation) six weeks after the wreck, only to find out later that your injuries require surgery and your damages cost six times more than you anticipated!
So now it’s Labor Day, and the demand has been sent. It’s customary to allow the at-fault driver’s insurance roughly 30 to 45 days to respond. Fast forward to nearly Halloween and the at-fault driver’s insurance company is denying any wrongdoing. It looks like your attorney will need to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver to compensate you for your injuries. Once the lawsuit has been filed with the Court, the at-fault driver must be properly notified and given time to respond. This can take anywhere from 45 to 90 days.
So now it’s Christmas, it’s been a full year since your injury, you have fully recovered but have a mountain of medical bills and lost wages, and your attorney is just now starting the legal fight. As you can imagine, there are dozens of additional steps along the way to reaching a resolution with the other side, and each one of those steps takes an additional 4 to 6 weeks, at least! Imagine sitting down with your friend to play a game of checkers, but there’s a catch: Each side must wait 30 days in between each move—the game would take forever! That’s a brief way of explaining how a lawsuit works—one side moves, the other side has X-number of weeks to respond.
While frustrating for clients, attorneys are doing everything in their power to get you compensated. No matter the time frame, it’s in your best interests to hire an attorney to navigate any legal obstacles that require serious expertise. Have a legal question about your case? Call our offices, one of our attorneys will be glad to speak with you.