The personal injury process can be lengthy — it can take one to two years for the average case to reach a conclusion. If you need compensatory damages to recover from your injuries, waiting this long for a settlement can be tiresome.
While every case is different, there are a number of strategies you can use to expedite your personal injury claim. However, it is important to remember that not all cases may benefit from a faster outcome, especially if you are asking for a high payout.
#1: Hire an Attorney
This is one of the most important actions you can take to expedite your claim. After an injury, handling legal paperwork and navigating complex litigation processes can be very difficult. You can easily make mistakes that can delay your case, miss deadlines, or stress while preparing for negotiations or hearings.
Hiring a lawyer with experience working with cases like yours and, most likely, the court system you are entering can reduce these stressors. Your lawyer will know the steps you need to take to reach an outcome.
#2: Prepare Your Evidence
The investigation of a personal injury claim usually takes quite a bit of time, but you can help your attorney by collecting as much evidence as you can beforehand. If you have access to them, bring the following items with you to your consultation.
- The police report from your accident, if applicable
- Any photographs you have of your injuries, your vehicle, the accident scene, and anything else related to the accident
- A written summary of the facts surrounding your case, including dates, times, and events leading up to the injury
- All medical records related to the accident, including discharge summaries, bills from your insurance company, and payment receipts
- Information about your health insurance and your automobile insurance, if applicable
If you cannot access these records, your attorney can collect them on your behalf. However, having this information with you will allow your lawyer to begin investigating your claim sooner, since he or she will not have to collect these vital documents.
#3: Attend Your Medical Appointments
In most cases, your attorney will not want to send a demand letter to the at-fault party until you reach maximum medical improvement. Once you reach this stage, your attorney has a clearer idea of your condition and the compensation you need to recover from this injury. For example, you may develop a condition that requires ongoing care, or a disability that needs accommodations. You will need additional funds to pay for these long-term costs.
While your outcomes may vary depending on your injuries, attending your appointments is important to reaching maximum improvement. Continue receiving treatment, and save all records related to your care. By staying on track, your doctor will have a clearer understanding of your health and can inform your attorney when you’ve reached this required stage.
Compensation in an Expedited Personal Injury Claim
In some cases, speeding up the personal injury process is not in your best interest. For example, if you accept an early settlement amount before reaching maximum medical improvement, you don’t know if the settlement is enough to cover the actual costs of your injuries. Settling prematurely can also harm your future recovery.
Early offers are often much lower than the actual value of your claim, and to protect your best interests, you may need to pursue your claim to the furthest extent. Before taking any strategies to expedite your claim, speak to your lawyer about your optimal pathways to maximum compensation.