There is really no way to concretely determine how long a personal injury lawsuit in Tennessee will take to reach its resolution. This is because many factors are at play in a personal injury lawsuit.
Even when two cases appear to be strikingly similar, one could take much longer to resolve than the other because of unforeseen complications and hidden issues.
In this sense, a personal injury claim could take a few months to resolve after an accident has occurred, or it could take a year or longer to culminate in a settlement or verdict.
Here, we discuss factors that could determine the amount of time it takes for your personal injury claim to reach its resolution.
DIFFICULTY OF THE INVESTIGATION
Your personal injury claim will require an investigation. During this investigation, your attorney will gather and examine all of the evidence that must be presented to establish a claim for damages. This includes evidence that:
- The other party had the duty to protect you from harm
- The other party breached this duty
- The breach directly caused you to be injured
- Your injury directly caused the damages for which you are seeking compensation.
Your lawyer will examine all available records of the accident such as photographs, witness statements and any official reports as well as records from your doctor and employer attesting to the physical and financial harm you have suffered.
When it is difficult to obtain these records or an expert witness needs to be brought in, the investigation of your personal injury claim can take a longer amount of time than it would have otherwise.
WHETHER FAULT IS ADMITTED OR CONTESTED
When the negligent party involved in your accident admits his or her fault, the personal injury claim process can be completed much more quickly. This is true for any party who admits fault, even you.
For this reason, you should not agree to make or sign any official statement with an insurance provider or even speak with a representative of an insurance provider connected to the claim without first consulting with your attorney.
Tennessee personal injury law follows the doctrine of modified comparative negligence. This is also called the “50 percent rule,’ which means that even if you are partially at fault for your accident, you can recover compensation as long as you are deemed to hold less than half of the responsibility for it.
WHETHER THE PARTIES AGREE ON THE AMOUNT OF DAMAGES
When you and the other party can agree on the amount of damages caused by the accident, your personal injury claim will be quicker and easier to resolve.
If your attorney has to negotiate with your doctor or the insurance provider about the extent of your damages, your personal injury claim could take longer to resolve than it would if all parties were in agreement about the amount of damages you are suffering.
NUMBER OF PARTIES INVOLVED IN THE ACCIDENT
Additionally, these parties might allege that you were at fault in the accident. You could be required to provide evidence to demonstrate otherwise.
The other parties could be seeking personal injury claims of their own, bringing your case into a circle of claims and counterclaims.
WHETHER AN AUTOMOTIVE DEFECT IS TO BLAME FOR YOUR ACCIDENT
The party at fault for an accident is not always a negligent driver. Sometimes, accidents happen because a part of one of the driver’s vehicles malfunctions, causing him or her to lose control of the vehicle.
When this happens, any injured party may file a personal injury claim to seek compensation from the vehicle’s manufacturer, parts manufacturer, distributor or seller.
Whether the defective part has been recalled or not can also add complications to your personal injury claim. If the part had been recalled, there is a record of the manufacturer acknowledging that the part was faulty. However, the vehicle’s driver may have also held the responsibility to get the faulty part repaired or replaced.
On the other hand, if the part had not been recalled, you will need to prove that it malfunctioned, and that this malfunction caused your accident.
GET HELP FROM AN EXPERIENCED MEMPHIS PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY
After you have received appropriate medical attention for your injury after an accident, you should contact an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss the details of your case.
Your attorney can make an estimate about how long your case may take to resolve based on the factors present in your case.
The most important thing to keep in mind about how long your personal injury claim will take to resolve is this: If you are willing to settle for a lower compensation amount, your claim will be resolved sooner.
Any time you file a claim with an insurance provider, the insurance provider will offer you the lowest amount it thinks could reasonably cover your expenses. If you accept this amount, your claim is finished.
Instead of simply accepting the first settlement you are offered, you should speak with an experienced personal injury attorney to determine if you can potentially receive a higher settlement amount. If so, you should allow your lawyer to negotiate on your behalf to reach it.
Do not attempt to navigate the personal injury claim process alone. Get help from an experienced personal injury attorney who can explain the process to you in detail and act as your advocate through every stage.
To learn more, contact The Law Office of David E. Gordon to schedule a free initial consultation.