Most people who suffer injuries as a result of a Georgia car accident aren't really familiar with how their case may unfold. A frequent question is, "How long will it take you to handle my case?"
Cases can generally be classified into three categories: Class I, Class II, and Class III. According to these classifications, this is what can be generally assumed (although there are exceptions to all three, of course):
Class I cases involve catastrophic injuries and Georgia wrongful death cases, and there is no fixed timeline. There are typically many variables to these cases; they tend to not be cut and dry predictable.
Class II cases involve car accidents resulting in major injuries (to include fractures and ligament tears) and surgeries.
Class III cases involve injuries like strains, sprains, and general soft tissue injuries from which a client is able to make a full recovery.
In the cases of Classes II and III, a lot depends on how long the medical care continues. The following is a general outline of what to expect:
In the first few days after a Georgia car accident/injury it helps to remember a few things. One is that you don't have any obligation to talk to the other driver's insurance company, and you don't have to give them a recorded statement. It's somewhat common for an adjuster to call a day or two after a crash and advise you that property damages will not be paid unless that statement is given. This is an empty threat and should be ignored. If you're unsure at this point how to conduct yourself, you can always consult a Georgia accident and injury attorney for their direction and advice.
Many people don't know what to do about medical care after an automobile accident. If you have health insurance, follow any referrals made by a hospital emergency room or contact your health insurance company for a referral. If you have medical payments insurance on your automotive policy, follow the hospital referral. If you don't have health insurance (or limited coverage on your auto policy), your options are likely more limited. For fractures and major medical issues, hospital billing departments will sometimes allow you to apply for emergency Medicaid coverage, allowing you to get the emergency care needed to stabilize the injury.
Getting to the proper doctor is the most critical step in the early stages of any case. While you are securing care, a good injury attorney is gathering information about the other driver's insurance company about the extent of their coverage. The attorney is also reaching out to your own insurance company to find out coverage limits and whether or not there is Georgia underinsured motorist coverage in order to help you make a full recovery. Other things that are collected are things like photographs of the vehicles involved, 911 tapes, witnesses, and dash cam video from police vehicles. In the first few weeks, preservation of evidence is a key focus for your attorney.
From there, the amount of time that passes before a demand to the insurance company is really dependent on the client's medical condition. When medical care ceases, a demand package consisting of bills and lost wages can be assembled and reviewed with the client. Once the package goes out, it can take an insurance adjuster up to thirty days to review it before the offer/counter-demand process begins. If no settlement can be reached, then a lawsuit can be filed.
The details of a case determine the length of litigation. A realistic number is eight to eighteen months. So, the answer to the original question of "How long will it take to settle my case," is anywhere from several weeks to a year and a half, depending on the complexity of your case and the responsiveness of all parties involved.