One of the first questions a person who is considering filing a car accident lawsuit has is, “how long will the case take to resolve?” Unfortunately, the answer depends on the facts and legal issues in the case.
However, as a general rule, the average car accident case in Delaware takes 2 to 3 years to resolve. In the best case scenario, an opposing insurance company may offer to settle a case inside of 2 years, if fault is not an issue and the injuries are clear. For instance, in a case which leads to catastrophic injuries or death and the at-fault driver only has a bare bones policy, the at-fault driver’s insurance company may be willing to resolve the claim before a lawsuit is filed in the case. In the worst case scenario, a complex case can lead to a knock down drag out fight over every issue, which means resolution might take 2 to 3+ years.
There are many factors which affect how long a car accident case takes to resolve. The three most important factors include:
- the nature and extent of the physical injuries, and whether the injuries have healed;
- the complexity of the factual and legal issues in the case; and
- the insurance companies involved in the case.
Below is a discussion of how the nature and extent of the physical injuries/healing affect how long it takes for a case to resolve. Click here for part 2 of this article which discusses the second and third factors.
How serious are the physical injuries, and have they healed?
Two factors related to the physical injuries affect how long a case takes to resolve: 1. the nature and extent of the injuries and 2. whether those injuries have healed.
The Nature and Extent of the Injuries
In general, the more serious the car accident case and resulting injuries, the longer the case takes to resolve. Someone who suffers major head trauma and is in a coma will have complex medical issues which can take extended periods of time to resolve. On the other hand, someone who suffers whiplash can usually expect to return to normal within a few weeks or months with minor medical treatment such as physical therapy.
In a car accident case, it is important to present evidence which shows how the injuries affect the individual. This means developing a complete picture of the injuries, from the initial emergency room visit to the recovery process and everything in between. In addition, the more complex the injuries, the longer it takes to present a complete picture of the injuries.
Healing & Injuries
It is important to allow injuries to heal in order to understand whether there are any permanent limitations, because the presence and nature of permanent limitations caused by an injury affect the value of a case. For example, it may take months for a broken wrist which required surgery to heal, after which time, the individual notices that he has lost range of motion in the wrist. If he is a construction worker, the loss of range of motion, especially in the dominant hand, may mean he cannot return to work as a construction worker. Such facts often change the outlook of the case.
It is important to note that some individuals simply take longer to heal than others. Everyone is different and responds differently to physical injuries, stress, medical treatment, etc. What is a relatively straightforward back injury with spinal disc herniations or bulges for one person may be something entirely different for another person. Therefore, some cases may take longer to resolve than others.
Related: Should You File a Car Accident Lawsuit in Delaware – What is the Value of Your Case?
Delaware Car & Truck Accident Lawyer with Over 30 Years of Experience
Since 1982, Knepper & Stratton has handled Delaware personal injury matters, including car accidents and truck accidents. Contact our accident lawyers today and ask for a free consultation. Our offices are located in Wilmington, Newark and Dover. (302) 658-1717
Our lawyers also represent residents of other states such as Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland and Virginia who are injured in car or truck accidents while in Delaware.
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