Being a personal injury attorney in Suffolk and Nassau County, Long Island for over 20 years very often do I get asked…
I wish I had a simple cookie cutter answer, but there isn’t one. Every case is different and some many things factor in that extend or speed up the process. There are many reasons why some cases are resolved quickly, while others drag on for years.
Some of the reasons are literally hidden from you. Tricks by insurance companies or defendants to make you settle for less is nothing new – and we feel you deserve to know them.
All medical documentation should be considered before being resolved. So if the person is still receiving treatment, the case will not yet be settled. This is important because pain and suffering and mental anguish are contributing factors for money that a person is entitled to receive for their personal injury, and waiting until treatment is completed means the best accurate compensation.
Settling a case before someone is physically better can be risky because healing from an injury is unpredictable. Sometimes there are setbacks, complications or even unexpected surgery. If a case settles, all the pains, physical and emotional, from the injury are documented. And likely, the plaintiff will end up being short-changed as respects to the amount of money they actually need for all of the pain, suffering and mental anguish.
Unfortunately, some injuries will never recover completely. But this doesn’t mean the case will never end. In these instances, it’s important that the person reaches maximum medical recovery before the case is settled. Often times an expert is needed to determine the extent of pain and suffering in the future as well as the costs of the medical treatment that goes along with it. They may also determine future lost wages when the personal injury is permanent.
It’s always a good idea for the victim’s lawyer to use the time wisely by building the case. This is where accident investigation, gathering of witness statements and consultation with experts should coincide with the recovery of the injured party. Capitalizing on this time will reduce delays and speed up the process of the case.
The defense also plays a key role in the resolution of any case, and this is another reason why a case might be delayed. The defendant might be unwilling to discuss a settlement, and this can cause a serious delay in resolution. This can happen for two reasons:
When the insurance company is delaying settlement, this often results in “protracted litigation”. Protracted litigation is when a case has to now make its way through the court system, possibly all the way to a trial date. As you may have guessed, this is both costly and time consuming. However, having a skilled personal injury attorney can reduce that delay time using aggressive litigation tactics such as a motion for proactive order and/or a motion for a summary judgement, halting endless discovery demands from defense counsel.
There are however, multiple stages during litigation that have to happen before the case can be tried.
Now, that protracted litigation is completed, the case is scheduled for a trial. Once again, this is a time consuming process and it can take several months for the trial to begin since the court system is typically backed up with cases. Scheduling a trial date is especially tricky when there’s many witnesses that need to be coordinated.
For the trial itself, it’s best if possible that the plaintiff allow the case to run it’s course without any time constraints or pressure. The attorney wants to get the most amount of money for it’s clients in the least possible amount of time. The optimal result however, can be effectively achieved with patience of the client.
As someone who has been representing clients for 20 years, my focus is to take the stress out of the equation for the injured parties. At Palermo Law, we deal with all of the unnecessary legal paperwork and insurance forms so that our clients can focus on their recovery and get their compensation as fast possible.
Personal injury cases can end up being long, drawn-out processes. Several factors can lead to an elongated personal injury case, such as insurers delaying schemes, court/attorney scheduling conflicts, etc. That’s a topic for another day. The point is, it may take some time, but you deserve the maximum compensation you’re entitled to. Unfortunately, while you’re awaiting a resolution, which could take a long time, your financial situation could turn ugly.
You could be unable to work, and the compensation afforded to you before your case is resolved just isn’t enough to keep you afloat. You may have family to take care of, you may be in debt and your inability to pay off this debt is ruining your credit. The list can go on. You may eventually get so tired of the fight that you cave into accepting a low settlement, which can damage your financial situation in the future. Especially if your injury is likely to cause further financial upheavals that weren’t accounted for. Once you accept a settlement, you forfeit the right to pursue further financial compensation. It’s almost like a “catch 22” – financial survival today verses financial survival tomorrow. It’s a decision that requires serious thought, and can cause significant stress.
This is why the industry of “legal funding” was invented roughly 2 decades ago – to help individuals in the midst of personal injury cases stay afloat in their time of need. This industry denies the claim that they’re essentially a loan service. The reason these companies deny this is because you’re not obligated to pay them back should you lose your case. But, as they say, there’s always a catch. In this case, since you’re not obligated to pay these companies back if you lose your case, they are allowed to charge extremely high interest rates. Which is why we don’t recommend legal funding unless you desperately need it.
If your financial situation during a personal injury case is crippling to the point of not being able to provide for the necessities of life, it might be worth looking into…very, very meticulously.
So, we’d like to state some pros and cons of legal funding, and help you out with some pointers should you ever face the unfortunate situation of needing it.
So, if you are ever in desperate need of a loan because of a personal injury case and the financial problems arising, we believe you should turn elsewhere first. Could family or friends help out? Or, would you consider an installment loan? A loan from your mortgage or 401K is another last-resort resource.
If legal funding is an absolute necessity, make sure you do serious research on several legal funding companies. The Better Business Bureau may be a good start – if a company isn’t listed, it’s best you stray away. Check to see if the company states the rules that govern their client relationships on their website. Be prepared with all the insight you need before even filling out an application, which could be time consuming and costly.
We hope this helps you understand more about legal funding, and that you never have to consider it. Although it can be a life saver, it can also become a wallet breaker. And we simply don’t recommend it unless it’s your only resort to afford the necessities of life.