After a motor vehicle accident, most victims want to know how long it will take to finalize their claim and receive any damages they are awarded. However, there is no single answer to this question--there are many factors that impact how long it takes to resolve a case.
Having a Colorado personal injury attorney on your side is key to obtaining a favorable result in your case. Whether you settle or go to trial, your attorney will ensure that your legal rights are protected.
Settling with the Insurance Company
Settling with the insurance company avoids the need to file a lawsuit. In some cases, it may expedite the resolution of the case.
However, your attorney will make sure that your case is worked up properly before submitting a settlement demand to the insurance company. This increases the chances of obtaining a satisfactory settlement.
Your Colorado personal injury attorney will present evidence of your damages to the insurance company in a demand letter.
Negotiations with the insurance company go back and forth until, ultimately, the accident victim decides to accept or reject the insurance company’s offer.
If you settle with the insurance company, you will not have to go to court. However, once the settlement with the insurance company is finalized, you will not be able to file a lawsuit to seek any additional damages.
Filing a Lawsuit
If the claim does not settle through negotiations with the insurance company, it is necessary to file a lawsuit.
Depending on the size of the court’s docket, a lawsuit may take 10 to 12 months or longer to resolve.
First, your Denver car accident attorney must file a document called a complaint. The complaint lists the allegations against the at-fault driver.
Once the complaint has been served on the defendant, the defendant is able to file an answer. The answer responds to the allegations in the complaint.
Once these initial documents, called pleadings, have been filed, the parties enter the discovery phase. The discovery phase may last several months or longer.
During the discovery phase, the parties are able to seek different types of evidence from each other.
The parties may request specific documents from each other, such as photographs and records.
Additionally, the parties may wish to schedule the depositions of different individuals.
If necessary, hearings may also be scheduled.
Scheduling hearings and depositions may take a significant amount of time, due to court schedules (for hearings) and coordinating the schedules of the individuals involved.
In some cases, your attorney may need to consult with experts. For example, accident reconstruction experts help piece together how an accident happened. Medical experts provide insight into how an accident caused a victim’s injury.
Once the parties feel that they have enough evidence to finalize a claim, they may negotiate a settlement.
Many parties hire a mediator to help them with the settlement process. A mediator serves as a third-party neutral. The mediator’s role is to help the parties compromise and create an agreement.
However, the parties are free to negotiate a settlement through their attorneys.
If the claim does not settle, it will be necessary to schedule a trial.
Scheduling a trial may take months due to backlogged court dockets.
Your attorney will prepare all of the evidence that will be submitted at trial. In addition, your attorney will locate witnesses and discuss their testimony with them.
In some cases, a trial may take place years after the actual accident.
If you do go to trial, there is no guarantee that you will receive a larger damages award than what the insurance company initially offered.
How Does an Attorney Help?
Your Colorado car accident attorney will make sure that you are well informed of all of your legal options. In addition, your attorney will provide estimates as to what your damages could be worth.
Whether your claim settles with the insurance company or goes all the way to trial, your attorney fights on your behalf to ensure you receive as much compensation as possible, given the facts of the case.
Further, your attorney will work hard to make sure the claim moves as quickly and as smoothly as possible.
Attorney Jennifer Donaldson is Prepared to Help You With Your Case
Denver personal injury attorney Jennifer Donaldson has more than three decades of experience in motor vehicle accident claims. She is prepared to help you through your claim and will work hard to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. To schedule a free consultation, contact us at 303-458-5000.