Hi. My name is Lee Pearlman, and I’m a partner and personal injury attorney at the law firm of Denmon Pearlman. And today, I am answering the question, “What is the timeline of your personal injury case,” whether it be a car accident, slip and fall, anything involving the negligence of another party. Generally, especially when we’re talking about bodily injury, the timeline is very strictly controlled by the medical treatment.
What that means is whatever amount is necessary or required to get you back to as close to 100% as possible or what we call Maximum Medical Improvement of Recovery.
In other words, the best that you can get under modern medicine’s techniques and abilities to help with recovery. That will dictate clearly the course of the case.
What is the medical treatment and costs?
Generally, the way that an insurance company or an at-fault party will evaluate a case is, “Well, what are the actual medical bills?
What are the damages, and what are the findings? What are the conclusions? Is there a permanent state of impairment? Is there a loss of use of the limbs,” something to that effect.
All those things are exceptionally relevant when determining the timeline of your personal injury case. Until we know at the end of the medical treatment, or at least once we get to a point where the medical professionals say, “This is the maximum improvement that we can provide,” we don’t really know the answer to that, and we don’t know the outstanding bills until we get to that point as well.
Letter of Protection
So generally, we do something called a Letter of Protection or we go through medical insurance, whatever the case may be, that is best in that particular case.
In those circumstances, until the bills have been itemized and accumulated and we know the final outcome of them, we don’t really have the ability to say, “these are the actual damages,” or not, as far as out-of-pocket, things that we know unequivocally are a direct result of the negligence of either the car accident, slip and fall, etc.
So the short and easiest answer is the initial aspect of determining the timeline of your personal injury case is controlled by the medical treatment itself, and until we hear from doctors saying, “Okay, no more treatments necessary,” or, “Treatment won’t help any further,” we don’t generally have the ability to take the next step because it’s all amorphous at that point.
Statute of Limitations
There is a four-year statute of limitations on most negligent cases in the State of Florida.
Now, that’s important because it’s designed to allow for the amount of time that generally would be necessary to reach that Maximum Medical Improvement of Recovery.
Once a medical professional or medical professionals, plural, come to the determination that, “this as good or as improved as we can get,” then the next course or the timeline is litigation itself.
Settlement or Litigation
So if the case isn’t able to settle after that … And a lot of the times it is. Once we know the actual damages, expenses, etc, then we are generally able to begin the negotiation process in earnest and say, “Hey, look. Here’s what is owed. Here’s what your policy limits are. Here’s what we believe the value of the case is. This is what needs to be paid.”
If a resolution can be reached at that point, that resolves it. If it’s not, then we initiate litigation, and that has a different timeline. And that’s controlled, essentially, by the discovery process and the court calendars. And discovery is basically just making sure that all of the information that will be entered or introduced into the litigation or the trial setting is discovered to both parties, everyone has a chance to talk to each other’s experts and witnesses and things to that effect, and that can take anywhere from eight to 24 months, generally.
It’s a large window because every case is unique, and there’s always variables that we can’t know or control for until we get to that circumstance. But generally, eight months is the earliest you’ll ever see a litigation aspect wrap up, up to two years and sometimes longer. But that’s, I think, a fair timeframe.
The average life of a PI case
The average life of a PI case, I’d say, is in-between eight to 12 months, but, again, once litigation comes into play, that will shift or skew the timetable to a longer period, not because we want it to be, but because we have to force or ensure that a fair accident settlement is something that our client will receive.
So, again, breaking it down, medical treatment is the first timeline that we have to work with that is totally dependent on the treatment and the recovery, followed by the negotiation and/or litigation that becomes necessary as well in the course of a case. So, again, it’s variable. It changes. Every one of these cases is different when you’re dealing with negligence because there’s rarely a circumstance where everything is identical to another case, and that’s normal.
Contact Us to Get the Timeline of Your Personal Injury Case
So for us to be able to give a fair and accurate assessment in determining the timeline of your personal injury case, we have to talk to you, go over the facts and circumstances of your case, and see what the course that we should take is or what courses have already been taken that we can help with.
Contact your case manager or one of our personal injury attorneys.
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