Virginia residents who are injured in a car or other type of accident may consider filing a personal injury claim to recover compensation for their damages.
If this is your first time filing a personal injury claim, you are likely to have many questions, with one of the main ones being how long will the process take?
There is no definite answer to that question. Each case is different and relies on many different factors that are based on the facts of your particular case.
However, an understanding of the factors involved can give you a general idea of what to expect in terms of a timeframe.
Statute of limitations
The statute of limitations in Virginia for personal injury claims is two years. This means that you have two years from your injury to file your personal injury claim.
Obviously, the sooner you file, the sooner your case will be resolved. However, do not rush to file without discussing your situation with a personal injury attorney first.
An attorney can not only file your claim for you but can provide advice on what you should do while your claim is pending.
For example, you likely sought medical treatment after your accident for your injuries. You should continue to treat your injuries, follow your doctor’s instructions and save the documentation for all of the treatment.
Once you file your personal injury claim, your case will be scheduled for a trial. When your trial takes place depends on the court’s schedule.
Many Virginia courts today are extremely busy, so you might not get a trial date for months or even into the next year.
However, that does not mean do nothing while waiting for trial. The time before trial is not only used to prepare for the trial but also to exchange evidence with the other side and try to negotiate a settlement.
While many personal injury cases resolve through a settlement, this usually cannot be accomplished until all of your injuries have healed and you have a clear idea of the total losses you have sustained.
The worst thing you can do is settle your case for less than its worth because you are impatient and just want to get the process over.
Maximum medical improvement
You can potentially receive compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and future medical expenses. It can take time for you to know how long your pain is expected to last or what future medical treatment you might need.
Once you have reached what is called maximum medical improvement, you will have the best idea of your total losses.
When you reach this point, you will submit your medical bills to an insurance adjuster, who will evaluate them. Again, while there is no definite answer as to how long this takes, it is common or it can take 1 to 2 months.
Remember that every case is unique
After negotiations begin, your case could settle quickly or the night before trial. Every case is different and depends on your individual situation.
Staying in touch with your attorney through the process can help you understand what point you are at in the case and when you can expect a resolution.