Timeline of a New Jersey Personal Injury Lawsuit

Personal Injury • May 26, 2023

After an accident, medical bills are piling up, you may be out of work, and it’s understandable to get impatient. It’s helpful to understand the process of a Jersey City personal injury lawsuit and how long it might take. All cases are unique, but the general timeline of a personal injury lawsuit can be influenced by various factors, including:

  1. Complexity of your case: The more complex your case, the longer it will take to resolve. Complex cases often require multiple experts, depositions, and extensive research, all of which can lengthen the lawsuit process.
  2. Severity of injuries: Cases involving serious injuries tend to take longer because they require more medical treatment and documentation of the injuries’ long-term effects.
  3. Dispute over fault: If fault is disputed, the case may take longer. Both sides will need to produce evidence to support their claims, which may require more time to gather data, witnesses, and testimony.
  4. Insurance company negotiations: Many personal injury cases settle before going to trial. However, if the insurance company is unwilling to agree to a fair settlement, it will prolong the process.
  5. Courtroom delays and backlogs: Court calendars tend to be crowded, and it’s not uncommon for personal injury cases to be delayed due to judge and attorney schedules or other factors beyond the control of the parties involved.

Important Stage – The Negotiation Process

The negotiation process in a personal injury lawsuit is one of the most important stages, as this is where you can settle the case out of court without going to trial. It consists of several stages, some of which can take significant amounts of time:

  1. Sending a demand letter: This is the first step in the negotiation process and involves the injured party’s attorney sending a demand letter to the at-fault party’s insurance company. The demand letter outlines the injuries sustained, the medical treatment received, and the damages being sought. Generally, the demand letter will ask for more compensation than what is expected to be received, leaving room for negotiation.
  2. Insurance adjuster’s counteroffer: Upon receiving the demand letter, the insurance adjuster will review the case and make a counteroffer. This counteroffer is typically lower than what the injured party is seeking, as insurance companies aim to minimize their financial exposure.
  3. Refuting the adjuster’s claims: After receiving the counteroffer, the injured party’s attorney will refute any claims made by the insurance adjuster, providing evidence and arguments to support the demands. This step may involve bringing in experts to bolster the case or presenting additional documentation.
  4. Revising the demand: Depending on the counteroffer and the strength of the attorney’s arguments, the demand amount may be lowered, or it may remain the same. This decision is based on the likelihood of reaching a fair settlement.
  5. Insurance adjuster’s revised offer: After reviewing the attorney’s rebuttal, the insurance adjuster may raise their offer. This is the stage where negotiations often come to a resolution, as both parties work toward a mutually agreeable settlement amount.

If an early settlement is not possible, don’t lose hope. Many personal injury cases can still be resolved through mediation or during the discovery phase. Mediation involves a neutral third party who helps both sides reach a mutually acceptable resolution. This process usually takes place within a few months after filing the lawsuit.

During the discovery phase, both parties gather evidence and interview witnesses, which can provide valuable information for negotiating a settlement. Discovery can take anywhere from six months to a year, depending on the complexity of the case.

If you need help with a personal injury claim, contact us today to schedule a free consultation.