Putting Our Knowledge to the Test by Addressing Your Personal Injury Concerns

An injury in its own right can produce a lot of questions. Will you be okay? How long will it take to heal? How much will your recovery cost? No doubt as you pursue an injury claim, you’ll have even more concerns and questions. However, that’s where we come in. Come see how our extensive knowledge and dedication to helping our clients can help answer all of your legal questions…and then some.

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  • Is a trucker or a trucking company responsible for my injuries?

    A truck accident can be a truly harrowing experience that can leave victims seriously injured and unsure of their legal rights. Considering that most passenger vehicles weigh around 4,000 lbs., while big-rig vehicles can weigh in at 80,000 lbs. or more, it's easy to understand why so many of these Truck Wreck Victim With Numerous Injuriesaccidents have such a serious and negative impact on the lives of those involved.

    After a truck accident, many victims want to know if they can pursue compensation for their injuries and, if so, from whom—the truck driver or the trucking company? While Delaware law allows accident victims to seek a financial award to compensate them for injuries, the issue of fault isn't always as clear cut and can be difficult to determine on your own. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, the commercial truck driver, the trucking company, or even the truck's manufacturer could be liable. Read on to learn more about liability in truck accident cases.

    Commercial Driver Fault

    Professional truck drivers and regular motorists alike owe each other a duty of care, and are tasked with sharing the road and operating their vehicles safely. However, research from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) shows that commercial driver error continues to be a leading contributing factor in large-truck crashes.

    Not only are truck drivers susceptible to the same dangerous driving behaviors as other motorists, but they also have to avoid unsafe driving actions that are more industry specific, such as using dispatching and navigation devices—also known as mobile or portable data terminals—while on the road.

    Driver error is a broad category that can include:

    • Driving too fast for the current road conditions
    • Driving while texting or talking on a cell phone
    • Following too closely
    • Driving while fatigued
    • Driving aggressively
    • Improperly loading cargo
    • Driving while distracted
    • Failure to check blind spots, also known as “no zones”
    • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
    • Driving under the influence of sedating over-the-counter or prescription medications

    If driver error was the cause of the accident that led to your injuries, then the truck driver may be at fault.

    Trucking Company Liabilities

    Other times, even though the driver was behind the wheel at the time of the accident, it's the trucking company who is held liable. Trucking companies might be held responsible for an accident and the related injuries if they hired a driver with an unsafe driving record or a history of substance abuse problems, trained the driver improperly, or failed to inspect or maintain the truck appropriately. Trucking companies may also be at fault if it can be shown that they encouraged drivers to skirt federal safety regulations, such as hours-of-service rules, which limits the amount of time drivers can spend on the road in a specific period, as well as mandates a certain amount of rest.

    Manufacturer Responsibility

    Sometimes the responsibility for the accident doesn't lie with the driver or trucking company, but rather the truck's manufacturer. For example, if a big-rig vehicle is manufactured with a faulty component that fails and results in an accident, the manufacturer may be held liable for damages.

    Were You Injured in a Truck Accident?

    If you or someone you love was seriously injured in a truck accident, you may need a financial award to help you pay for medical treatment, repair or replace your damaged vehicle, or reimburse you for the time you missed from work. The knowledgeable and experienced attorneys with the Morris James Personal Injury Group can help you pursue compensation for these and other damages stemming from the crash. Reach out to us at one of our five Delaware law offices or complete our online contact form to schedule your free initial consultation to discuss the details of your case, including who might be at fault for the accident.

     

  • How long do I have to file a claim in a personal injury lawsuit?

    Most states have statute of limitation laws that place limits on how long an accident victim has to file a civil claim, such as a personal injury lawsuit. In Delaware, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is two years, meaning that the lawsuit must be filed within two years of the date the Wall Clock Reminding That its Time to Actaccident—and the related injuries—occurred. Accident victims who fail to file a lawsuit within the two-year statute of limitations risk having their case dismissed.

    There can be exceptions—the statute of limitations may pause, or “toll,” if the victim was mentally incompetent at the time of the injury. In this case, the time limit for filing a personal injury lawsuit extends to three years after the disability ends.

    Don’t Wait Until You Are Up Against a Deadline

    However, don't let the fact that you have two years to file a personal injury lawsuit relax you into complacency. Waiting to file your lawsuit can have a number of unwanted consequences. Witnesses may move, change their phone number, or forget the details of what they saw. Additionally, evidence may deteriorate or be lost as time goes by.

    Building a strong personal injury case can take time. Initiating a lawsuit as soon as possible after an accident ensures that you and your attorney are able to talk with witnesses and document and preserve other relevant evidence while it's still fresh. Well-documented evidence and witness statements, collected immediately following an accident, can strengthen your case as you head into negotiations or prepare for trial.

    Were You Injured in an Accident?

    While exceptions to the statute of limitations can and do occur, when so much is at stake—it's better to be safe than sorry. If you were involved in an accident, waiting too long to act may jeopardize your right to pursue compensation for your injuries. Don't forfeit your right to take legal action. Contact the skilled attorneys with the Morris James Personal Injury Group today to schedule a free initial consultation.

     

  • For what might I be able to seek financial compensation?

    Personal injury cases are often as unique as the parties involved, which makes it difficult for us to say exactly which damages a potential client could be entitled to pursue without first discussing the particulars of their situation. However, learning about common types of personal injury cases and the damages sought can provide valuable insight to accident and injury victims who are considering exploring their legal options.

    Common Types of Personal Injury Cases

    Delaware law allows individuals who were injured by another person or entity's negligence to file a civil lawsuit, also known as a tort action, to pursue compensation for a variety of damages. Unlike a criminal case in which the government is prosecuting and a guilty verdict could mean jail or prison time, civil lawsuits are brought by individuals who seek a financial award to compensate them for harm caused by a defendant's wrongful actions. Common types of personal injury cases include:

    • Auto accidents. Both common and potentially devastating, auto accidents can leave victims with a number of serious physical, mental, and emotional injuries. According to a 2014 Vital Signs Report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), auto accidents sent more than 2.5 million Americans to the emergency room in 2012. Negligent actions in car accident cases may include speeding and reckless, drunk, drugged, drowsy, or distracted driving.
    • Truck accidents. Presenting different challenges than other auto accidents, truck accidents are in a category of its own. The sheer size and weight of a big-rig vehicle can cause catastrophic injuries and property damage and, instead of an individual and their attorney—the accident victim may be going up against a trucking company with a team of corporate attorneys. Commercial truck drivers are susceptible to the same types of negligent driving behaviors as anyone else. Equipment failure due to improper maintenance, improper loading and distribution of the truck's contents, and trucking companies that hire unsafe drivers or encourage their drivers to skirt Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations are examples of negligence that is more specific to truck accident cases.
    • Motorcycle accidents. Injuries in these cases can be devastating, as motorcyclists are largely unprotected. Motorcycle accidents can be caused by many factors, including motorists who turn left into the path of a motorcycle, fail to see the motorcycle in their blind spot, or follow the motorcyclist too closely.
    • Wrongful death. When someone dies because of an accident or negligence, Delaware law allows certain surviving family members to sue for compensation that can help them cope with financial worries associated with the sudden and unexpected loss of a loved one.
    • Workers' compensation. Employees who are injured on the job may face a long road to recovery. A workers' compensation claim can help ensure employees are appropriately compensated for their injuries and establish a wage replacement system for the time that their injuries keep them out of work.
    • Product liability. Manufacturers have a duty to ensure that the products they sell to consumers are safe. If a product can be shown to have caused injury, the manufacturer may be liable for damages.
    • Slip-and-fall accidents. Property owners are required to maintain their properties so that they're reasonably safe for shoppers, tenants, or lawful guests. If this duty is breached, property owners may be liable for injuries.

    Economic and Non-Economic Damages

    Damages sought in personal injury cases can be divided into two categories: economic and non-economic. Economic damages are those that represent a specific dollar amount and can be largely calculated by assessing documented bills or records, such as:

    • Past or future medical bills and expenses related to the accident
    • Property damage to your vehicle
    • Lost wages if your injuries caused you to miss a significant amount of work
    • Loss of future earning potential if your injuries force you to take a lower-paying position

    Non-economic damages are those that aren't associated with a clear dollar amount and are, thus, more difficult to calculate, such as:

    • Pain and suffering
    • Permanent disfigurement or disability
    • Emotional pain or anguish
    • Loss of consortium
    • Reduced enjoyment of life

    Do You Need Help Seeking Compensation for Injuries?

    If you were injured in an accident, the skilled legal team with the Morris James Personal Injury Group can help you explore your legal options and the types of damages to which you may be entitled. Complete our online contact form today and we'll contact you to schedule a free, no-obligation initial consultation.

     

  • How is an award or settlement determined in a personal injury case?

    If you were injured in an accident, you may be facing unforeseen medical bills, and a long and painful physical, mental, and emotional recovery. Under the circumstances, it is understandable that you have questions about whether you can be compensated for your injuries and, if so, how much of a settlement offer can you expect. However, in all the years the members of our firm have worked in injury law, we've learned that personal injury cases can be as different as the parties involved, which makes it difficult to say how much you could stand to be compensated without first meeting with you to discuss your case. Fortunately, learning more about settlements and the types of damages you can seek can provide valuable insight to accident victims who seek a legal remedy.

    How Is a Settlement Determined?

    In personal injury cases, settlements can be determined through negotiations or, if the case goes all the way to trial, a judge or jury. The vast majority of personal injury claims are settled without either party having to set foot in a courtroom. At the beginning of the negotiation process, your attorney will work closely with you to calculate the damages to which you feel you're entitled, and will then send a demand letter to the individual or insurance company's attorney, asking for a high amount. The attorneys will go back and forth, discussing a variety of factors that can include:

    • Insurance coverage
    • Liability for the accident
    • The severity of your injuries
    • Medical prognosis and treatment

    The severity of your injuries and the circumstances of the accident may play a significant role in determining the size of your settlement offer—this is true of personal injury cases settled both in and out of court. Ideally, after some back and forth, the attorney for the at-fault individual or insurance company will make a reasonable offer. If the parties cannot agree on a settlement amount, the case may continue to court, where both sides will present their arguments and a judge or jury determines how much—if any—financial compensation they should award.

    Attorneys, juries, and judges usually come up with settlement amounts by calculating economic and non-economic damages.

    Economic and Non-Economic Damages

    Economic damages, also known as special damages or out-of-pocket losses, are past and future financial losses that can be calculated by reviewing a victim's accident-related bills. Examples of economic damages include past and future medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, loss of earning potential, and funeral and burial expenses.

    Non-economic damages, also called general damages, are more subjective and, thus, more difficult to calculate. Examples of non-economic damages include physical pain and suffering, emotional distress, mental anguish, humiliation, and embarrassment, or loss of reputation, consortium, or companionship.

    Do You Need Help Pursing a Personal Injury Settlement?

    If you were injured in an accident that was caused by someone else, you may be entitled to seek a financial award to compensate you for your injuries. Don't let another minute pass without learning about your legal rights. The knowledgeable and experienced attorneys with the Morris James Personal Injury Group are at your service. Complete our online contact form today and we'll be in touch to schedule an appointment for your free initial consultation.

     

  • Is Financial Compensation Taxable?

    Considering that individuals who were injured in accidents often struggle with a number of unexpected financial obligations, it's no wonder that one of the most common questions our attorneys receive from prospective clients is about the taxability of personal injury settlements. At the Morris James Personal Injury Group, we understand. When you're paying for accident-related medical expenses, such as doctors bills and prescription medications, the last thing you want to worry about is paying taxes on a possible financial settlement. Fortunately, most of the compensation that personal injury victims receive is not taxable. However, there are some notable exceptions to that rule. Working with an experienced personal injury attorney can help you minimize the taxation of your settlement.

    Tax Free Recovery

    Money awarded to compensate a victim for bodily injuries, and related pain and suffering is usually tax free, so most of the time accident victims are not required to pay taxes on a personal injury settlement. This is because the financial settlement is intended to compensate the victim for losses caused by an injury and, as a result, is not considered “earned” income. Examples of non-taxable damages include money reserved for:

    • Medical bills
    • Pain and suffering
    • Emotional stress related to a physical injury
    • Attorney fees

    Additionally, money paid to an accident victim to cover property damage to their vehicle usually isn't taxed, as it is also considered compensation for a loss.

    Notable Exceptions

    While, as a general rule, personal injury settlements are not taxed, there are a few notable exceptions worth mentioning. Examples of taxable settlement amounts include compensation related to:

    • A breach of contract. If a breach of contract caused your injury and breach of contract was the basis of your lawsuit, the related settlement may be taxed.
    • Lost wages or lost income. If a portion of your settlement was set aside for these purposes, that money is considered taxable “earned” income.
    • Interest. Some states add interest to the settlement for the time period that the case was pending. Any interest earned during that time is taxable.
    • Punitive damages. Also known as exemplary damages, punitive damages are those that are intended to punish the defendant for wanton or reckless actions, and discourage them from engaging in similar conduct in the future. Punitive damages are always taxable and are taxed in full.
    • Emotional Distress and mental anguish. If your mental and emotional problems arose from a physical injury sustained in an accident, the compensation received may be non-taxable. However, when you receive a settlement that compensates you for mental pain and emotional suffering not related to a physical injury, that compensation can be taxed.
    • Interest or profit earned from invested settlement proceeds. If you invest the proceeds of your settlement in an environment where it accrues interest or results in a profit, the interest and profit from the investment is taxable.

    Were You Injured in an Accident?

    If you were injured in an accident, you may be facing a long recovery period and a seemingly-insurmountable amount of medical debt. Filing a personal injury lawsuit can help you pursue the compensation you need to get your life back on track. However, with so much at stake, it's important not to go it alone. A knowledgeable and reputable attorney can walk you through each step of the personal injury process and fight to ensure you receive a fair settlement.

    At the Morris James Personal Injury Group, our dedicated, driven attorneys have the negotiation and litigation experience you can count on. Whether we settle your case out of court or take it all the way to trial, our skilled legal team understands the concerns surrounding the taxability of personal injury settlements and will work with you to minimize that taxation. Complete our online contact form today to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your case.

  • Will I have to appear in court if I file a personal injury lawsuit?

    Inside a courtroomIt's not uncommon for prospective clients to ask if filing a personal injury lawsuit means that they'll have to appear in court. It's understandable; the thought of having to testify in front of a judge and jury can be intimidating—particularly for those with no prior experience in a courtroom. Fortunately, the experience is often far less overwhelming than clients expect—and far less dramatic than what they've seen on popular courtroom dramas.

    Also, while every case is different, many personal injury civil lawsuits can be resolved through negotiations between the involved parties' legal representatives. Oftentimes, the defendant and their attorney will offer the plaintiff a settlement to save the time and money involved with trying the case in court. So there's a chance that appearing in court may not even be necessary in your case.

    However, should your case proceed to trial, you may indeed be called to court and you may even have to give testimony. That's one of the many reasons why it's so important to have the representation of a knowledgeable and skilled attorney when pursuing legal action in a personal injury case.

    Were You Injured in an Accident?

    If you were injured in an accident, the skilled legal team with the Morris James Personal Injury Group can help you fight for compensation for a wide range of damages, including medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and more. We have extensive experience negotiating fair financial settlements for our clients and are also prepared to take your case to trial, if necessary. Rest assured, if your case does go to trial, we'll be there to guide you each and every step of the way.

    Reach us at any of our five Delaware law offices or complete our online contact form to schedule a free, initial consultation to discuss the details of your case. Also, for more information on the personal injury claims process, request a free copy of our eBook, Anatomy of a Personal Injury Claim.

     

  • What types of cases does your law firm handle?

    While some law firms handle cases from a broad range of seemingly unrelated practice areas, the Morris James Personal Injury Group offers a more focused approach, helping those who were harmed by another party's negligent actions pursue compensation for their injuries via civil lawsuits. The skilled legal team with the Morris James Personal Injury Group boasts more than 80 years of combined experience in personal injury law and is adept at litigating personal injury cases, including wrongful death, auto accident, workers' compensation, dog bite, product liability, and slip-and-fall claims.

    Civil Lawsuits

    Personal injury lawsuits are a common type of civil lawsuit in Delaware. Civil lawsuits differ from criminal lawsuits in that they're brought by victims against individuals or corporations for the purpose of securing compensation for damages, rather than brought by the government against individuals for the purpose of imposing penalties for violating the law.

    At the Morris James Personal Injury Group, our knowledgeable attorneys are dedicated to providing compassionate legal representation that guides our clients through each and every step of the civil litigation process—from the initial filing of the complaint to its resolution.

    Our law firm has extensive experience handling cases from the following personal injury practice areas:

    • Wrongful death. When a loved one dies in an accident caused by another party's negligence, Delaware law allows the spouse, children, parents, or siblings of the deceased person to file a lawsuit for the purpose of securing compensation for funeral expenses, lost income and benefits, lost child or spousal support, lost household services, and mental anguish.
    • Serious injuries. Even if accident victims are fortunate enough to escape with their lives, they may still suffer serious and debilitating injuries that require extensive treatment and long, grueling recovery periods. Filing a civil lawsuit allows victims to seek a financial award that can help them pay for treatments and replace wages lost due to missed work.
    • Auto accidents. Being involved in a car, truck, or motorcycle accident can turn a person's well-ordered world completely upside down. In addition to unexpected medical bills, auto accident victims may also have to grapple with extensive property damage to their vehicle and a devastating change of lifestyle. Fortunately, Delaware law allows accident victims to pursue compensation for these and other accident-related damages.
    • Dangerous products. Despite the existence of government safety regulations, a handful of defective or otherwise potentially harmful products make their way to store shelves in the United States each year. People who have been harmed by dangerous or defective pharmaceuticals, foods, food containers, childcare items, children's toys, and many other items, may be able to hold the manufacturer responsible for their injuries.
    • Slip-and-fall accidents (also known as premises liability accidents). Delaware property owners have a duty to maintain their properties for the safety of the public, their tenants, or other lawful visitors. Property owners who fail to take reasonable precautions may be held liable if someone slips and falls, or is otherwise injured, due to their negligence of duty. Filing a personal injury lawsuit allows slip-and-fall accident victims to fight for the compensation to which they may be entitled.

    Do You Need a Personal Injury Attorney?

    If you—or someone you love—were injured in an accident caused by another party's negligence, you may not have to bear the burden of accident-related expenses on your own. Delaware law allows you to file a personal injury lawsuit to pursue compensation for damages such as medical bills, property damage, lost wages, loss of earning potential, and pain and suffering related to the accident.

    Contact the seasoned personal injury attorneys with the Morris James Personal Injury Group to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your case. Our attorneys are eager to help you explore your legal options and are committed to working with you to obtain the financial award you deserve.

    For additional information, fill out our online contact form or request a copy of our free eBook, Anatomy of a Personal Injury Claim.

     

  • Can I sue for additional compensation if I'm not satisfied with my settlement?

    Faced with mounting medical bills, immediate and long-term recovery costs, property damage, and ongoing physical pain and emotional suffering, many accident victims are eager to receive a settlement that can help them heal and get their lives back to normal. However, in personal injury cases Red Compensation Stampspeed can be an enemy of justice. Accepting a settlement offer too quickly, or without consulting with a knowledgeable and experienced personal injury attorney, can result in you receiving a financial award that doesn't provide the compensation you need and deserve. Some accident victims may even assume that they can sue for additional compensation if their settlement doesn't meet their needs. Unfortunately, this isn't the case. Accident victims are almost always prohibited from suing the same person or party for the same issue, even if they feel they didn't receive an adequate or appropriate settlement amount. However, there are a few notable exceptions. Read on to learn more.

    Res Judicata

    The inability to sue for additional compensation is governed by a legal concept known as res judicata. Latin for “a matter judged,” res judicata states that a judgment rendered by a court of competent jurisdiction is both final and conclusive. In most cases, res judicata conclusively bars plaintiffs from bringing the same claim or demand against the same defendant a second time. This prohibition against re-litigation applies equally to both losing plaintiffs who wish to re-sue a winning defendant and winning plaintiffs who hope to re-sue a losing defendant. Res judicata is also sometimes referred to as “claim preclusion.” The fact that these cases usually can't be re-litigated makes it even more important for accident victims to ensure that they get everything right on the first go-around, and is another reason why working with an attorney who knows the ins and outs of personal injury law is essential.

    Notable Exceptions to Case Settlements

    While res judicata is almost always absolute, there are a few notable, if rare, exceptions. Accident victims may be able to have their case litigated a second time under these limited conditions:

    • The settlement agreement and release of liability was never signed. The case—and the plaintiff's ability to continue litigation—concludes as soon as the plaintiff signs the settlement agreement and liability release. Thus, it is in the plaintiff's best interest to avoid signing any documents until they've had a chance to discuss them at length with a seasoned personal injury attorney.
    • You're able to get the settlement agreement set aside. If you agree to settle with an insurance company or an individual's defense attorney, but can't agree on the terms of the settlement, you may be able to have the settlement agreement set aside if the dispute is significant.

    Additionally, some accident victims are under the mistaken impression that they can have their case re-litigated if they feel that their attorney gave them bad advice. In this case, the plaintiff would have to file a claim or grievance against the attorney, but would still not be able to have their case re-opened unless, perhaps, there was a legal error so glaring that it warranted the filing of a notice of appeal.

    Were You Injured in an Accident in Wilmington, DE?

    If you were injured in an accident that wasn't your fault, it's important not to sign anything before speaking with an attorney. The skilled legal team with the Morris James Personal Injury Group can help you resolve your claim or case. To discuss the details of your case, complete our online contact form and we'll get in touch to schedule your free initial consultation. Our valued clients come to us from all cities and towns in New Castle County, Kent County and Sussex County, including  Camden, Clayton, Dover, Felton, Harrington, Magnolia, Smyrna, and Wyoming; New Castle County including Bear, Claymont, Hockessin, Middletown, New Castle, Newark, Pike Creek, Townsend, and Wilmington; and Sussex County including Bridgeville, Dewey Beach, Frankford, Georgetown, Greenwood, Laurel, Lewes, Milford, Millsboro, Milton, Rehoboth Beach, Seaford, and Selbyville.

     

  • What is Comparative Negligence?

    Personal Injury Claim Note on a Bulletin BoardComparative negligence is a legal doctrine that can be used to the advantage of both the plaintiff and defendant in personal injury cases. The law allows potential plaintiffs to file a personal injury lawsuit and pursue compensation for damages—even if they were partially at fault for their injuries—but may also be deployed by the defense in a bid to reduce their financial responsibility to the victim. Thus, comparative negligence can either be seen as a saving grace or a wrench thrown into the works, depending on your culpability in the accident that caused your injuries.

    Modified Comparative Negligence

    When it comes to the assignment of blame in personal injury cases, Delaware subscribes to the rule of modified comparative negligence meaning that, in order to be eligible to recover damages from the defendant, the plaintiff must be 50 percent or less at fault for the accident that caused their injuries. The judge—or possibly the jury—assigned to the case determines the proportionate responsibility of each party and takes that into consideration when deciding how much compensation the plaintiff can potentially recover.

    Were You Injured in a Car Accident?

    If you were injured in an accident in which your own negligence played a role, Delaware's comparative negligence laws may make it possible for you to still file a lawsuit and seek compensation for related damages such as medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering. However, comparative negligence laws can just as easily be used to reduce the financial award you can receive as an accident victim.

    Having knowledgeable and experienced legal representation is the best way to ensure that you receive the compensation you need and deserve to get your life back on track after an accident. Contact the skilled legal team with the Morris James Personal Injury Group to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your case. You can also request a free copy of our eBook, Anatomy of a Personal Injury Claim for additional information.

     

  • How Long Will My Case Take?

    Stopwatch“How long will my personal injury case take?” is one of the most common questions our firm receives from prospective clients. With so much hanging in the balance—such as recovery from serious injuries, mounting medical debt, property damage, lost wages, and more—we can certainly understand why the length of litigation would be of top concern for accident victims.

    The truth of the matter is that the length of litigation varies widely from case to case and hinges on a variety of factors, including the circumstances surrounding the injury, the severity of the damages, and the complexity of the case.

    While it would be difficult—if not impossible—for a personal injury attorney to accurately predict how long litigation would take without first discussing the specific details of your case, the skilled legal team with the Morris James Personal Injury Group is dedicated to helping you resolve the matter as quickly and fairly as possible.

    Factors That Can Affect the Length of a Personal Injury Lawsuit

    The length of a personal injury lawsuit can range from months to years, depending on a number of factors working in concert, such as:

    • Circumstances of the accident. If the circumstances surrounding the accident are unclear and the fault is in dispute, the case may take longer to resolve. However, if the conditions of the accident are well documented and the fault is undisputed, the case may have a faster conclusion.
    • Nature and prognosis of the injuries. Very severe injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries and other permanently disabling conditions tend to complicate a case, extending its length. However, when a personal injury case is delayed for medical reasons, it's often to the plaintiff's benefit.
    • Involvement of significant damages. In cases where the financial award would be significant, insurers will meticulously investigate every aspect of the personal injury claim before making an offer. This type of investigation may take quite a while—sometimes, this is intentional.
    • Involved parties. If you go up against a powerful corporation or insurance company alone, you may find that the company is slow to offer a fair settlement or refuse to offer a settlement at all. Hiring a knowledgeable and experienced personal injury attorney can help level the playing field.
    • Case goes to trial. If the case can't be negotiated and settled out of court, it will have to proceed to trial, which can extend the lawsuit considerably. It can take up to six months or longer for the case to get on the court docket and the trial itself can take days, weeks, or months—depending on the complexity of the case.

    Accepting a Fast Settlement May Be Detrimental

    Corporations and insurance companies know that, in many cases, accident victims desperately need a financial settlement to get their lives back on track. As a result, the company may attempt to wait a victim out before eventually offering a low-ball settlement in the hopes that the victim will accept less than what they deserve. While it can be difficult to wait for the case to be resolved through legal negotiation or a trial, if you can afford to wait, doing so will often be in your best interest for the following reasons:

    • Severe injuries. If you were severely injured in the accident, it's best to wait until your injuries have been treated and you've reached the point of maximum medical improvement (MMI)—meaning that the full extent of your injuries have been determined. If you settle too soon and other accident-related health issues occur later on, you won't be able to seek compensation for them.
    • Unfair settlement offers. The financial award offered in short settlements can vary dramatically, but is frequently much less than what would have been obtained at trial. The amount can range from as much as 35 percent of what you would have gotten at trial to as little as five percent. Before accepting a low-ball offer in a short settlement, it's wise to consult a skilled personal injury attorney.

    Were You Injured in an Accident?

    If you were in an accident and considering legal action to pursue compensation for your injuries, a seasoned and reputable personal injury attorney can help represent you and your interests. Contact the Morris James Personal Injury Group today to schedule a free initial consultation. We're happy to address any questions and concerns you may have. In the meantime, request a free copy of our eBook, Anatomy of a Personal Injury Claim for more information.