Every year, there are upwards of 16,000 people are injured in car accidents in Texas. Millions of people across the United States are injured on their jobs.
It is up to these individuals to seek compensation for their medical bills, loss of wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. This is done through the legal system and can be a complex process.
If you are pursuing an injury or another type of liability claim in or around Houston, you may be wondering: “How long does it take to negotiate a settlement?” That is a difficult question to answer.
A lawsuit can take months or even years to conclude. It all depends on the unique circumstances of your case.
The good news is that, once you understand what those variables are, you can have a better idea of what to expect. Keep reading to find out more.
Lawsuits can settle in or outside of court. In court, a judge or a jury will decide the outcome of the case, granting judgment in favor of one of the parties. This naturally takes longer than cases that do not go to trial.
Lawyers need time to prepare. They collect evidence, question witnesses, and consult experts.
Trials involve a lot of filings, motions, and scheduling complexities. All these factors can contribute to a longer time before resolution.
With cases that settle, the two sides must agree on the amount of “punitive” and “compensatory damages.” As the name suggests, “compensatory damages” are meant to compensate one party for the “actual damage” done to them. For instance, these might include pain and suffering or medical bills associated with car accident injuries.
You can seek punitive damages in cases where the offending party's actions are particularly negligent. This might apply to a company that knowingly produces a faulty product or a hospital that has a history of misdiagnosis. These can be difficult to prove and require the expertise of an experienced attorney.
Out-of-court settlements are when the two parties reach an agreement without a judge’s involvement. Most personal injury claims cases resolve in this manner. One motivation is that both sides want to avoid the hassle, cost, and possible negative outcomes of taking the case to trial.
There also can be cases that fall somewhere between settling out-of-court and going to a jury verdict. When parties make counteroffers, this increases the time it takes to resolve the case. Also, as evidence comes out in the trial, one party may decide to “cut their losses” and settle.
There also are alternative venues that can expedite things. For instance, Texas small claims courts hear cases involving sums less than $20,000. These usually complete between one and two months from the initial filing.
Another big thing to consider when answering “How long does it take to negotiate a settlement?” is the complexity of the case. Suits that involve multiple parties, a lot of evidence, or evidence of a complicated nature, can take longer than cases involving simpler matters.
For instance, lawsuits against multiple companies or trials that involve expert testimony will need more time. Those with a single defendant, a small number of witnesses, and straightforward evidence will be shorter.
Now that you know what factors impact the answer to “How long does it take to negotiate a settlement?” you can have a better idea about your case. An experienced workplace liability or car accident lawyer can further advise you on the fastest route to get restitution.
At Calhoun Meredith, we pride ourselves on seeking justice for our clients, including work-related and car accident settlements. Reach out to us today for a free case review and consultation.