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Two Reasons Why Personal Injury Cases Can Take So Long

Posted on - Saturday, October 24, 2015 under Personal Injury

If you judged the swiftness of our legal system based solely on TV shows, you might get the impression that the average lawsuit goes from filing to verdict in an hour (or 52 minutes without commercials).

For many personal injury cases, however, the reality is that the wheels of justice can turn pretty slowly. Even seemingly “simple” cases, with a personal injury lawyer doing everything he or she can to move the case forward, can take months or years to reach a resolution.

This is obviously very frustrating for injury victims who need their compensation as soon as possible. It can be frustrating for me as well. There are many often unavoidable reasons why a personal injury case can take so long, but two of the bigger ones are:

Discovery

“Discovery” is the term used to describe the process and ways that parties to a lawsuit exchange relevant information, develop evidence to support their case, and investigate the circumstances of the accident. This can involve exchanging written questions (called “interrogatories”) and answers as well as requesting and reviewing voluminous amounts of documents.

Additionally, most cases will involve scheduling and taking numerous depositions where the parties, witnesses, doctors, experts, and others will be asked questions under oath by the attorneys in the case. When expert witnesses are involved, they may also be asked to prepare reports.

All of this can take a very long time, and that is without the parties engaging in fights about whether certain requests were proper, whether the other side has provided all of the information requested, or whether there were issues relating to the conduct of a deposition. Such fights can add even more delay to a case, but discovery is vital in any personal injury lawsuit as it can strengthen or weaken one side’s case and increase the chances of a settlement rather than the risk of going to trial.

Insurance Companies

After a car accident or any other incident where an insurance company will be involved, the insurer’s primary objective is to minimize the amount they need to pay or to fight tooth and nail to avoid paying an injury victim anything at all.

At first, the insurer will often want to resolve a case as quickly as possible by offering a sum of money to a victim substantially less than what they deserve. That is why you should never negotiate with an insurance company without speaking with a skilled and experienced personal injury lawyer first.

Once the insurance company realizes that they can’t get out quickly and on the cheap, it becomes in their interest for the case to drag on. As they deny or try to minimize their exposure, they will engage in extensive discovery and fights about discovery, and file various motions with the court that may also delay proceedings.

The reality is that the system allows a party who truly wants a case to proceed at a snail’s pace to make that happen. While an aggressive and skilled plaintiff’s personal injury lawyer can keep pushing things forward and fight efforts at delaying a case, it still may take a frustratingly long time.

At The Parian Law Firm in metro Atlanta, Georgia, we represent injury victims exclusively and are committed to getting justice and compensation for our clients. Please contact us at (770) 727-5550 or chat live online with a member of our staff today.