If you’re thinking about suing a driver that caused you injuries, it is only normal to ask how long your lawsuit might take. The most honest answer we can give is, “It depends.” Various factors come into play, such as the severity of your injuries, negotiations with the insurance company, and the schedule of the court itself.
A rough estimate might be that the average car accident litigation in New Jersey takes about a year or two, but it’s also common for these cases to be much longer – sometimes upwards of three years.
Just to give you an idea, here are some of the aspects of a car crash lawsuit that might take some time.
First, we have to wait until you have reached your maximum medical improvement (MMI) before we dive in to negotiate with insurance. MMI means that you have medically recovered as much as possible after your accident. It is at this point that we’ll have a clear picture of all your medical bills and potential expenses in the future. We can then make an initial demand to the insurance company to get the negotiation process started.
Somewhere during the negotiation, you may find that the insurer is not being fair to you or not taking your claim seriously. You decide to file a lawsuit. Before the official trial begins, both sides have to take on the discovery process, which is essentially gathering evidence. This is where your attorney interviews people, obtains documents, and conducts depositions. The whole process usually takes between six months to two years.
Now, the trial begins. If the case is fairly straightforward, it can conclude in as little as three days. However, expect delays and complications. For one, court dates depend on the court’s docketing procedures and caseload. The busier the court, the longer you may have to wait.
We have to stress, however, that your case may not get to trial. Even after you’ve filed a lawsuit, your insurance claim is still active and could still be settled anytime. There is a chance that you and the other party would come to a favorable agreement before a court hearing is scheduled. In fact, most claims are wrapped up without getting to court.
Hiring a personal injury attorney is your best bet. It takes experience to negotiate with a powerful insurance company. While it shouldn’t be this way, any claimant represented by an attorney is taken more seriously than one without. Attorney involvement means more level negotiations and an insurance payout as quickly as possible.
Contact a lawyer as soon as you can. New Jersey’s statute of limitations for accident injuries is only two years from the date of your injury. Beyond that, you would no longer be able to sue. Talk to us at the Grossman Law Firm – we are ready to help you.