One of the most common questions clients first ask me when they come to me for a personal injury matter is “how long will the case take?”
Although seemingly simple, that is a very complicated question and there is no one single answer. In litigation, as in life, there really is no one size fits all. The length of time a personal injury case will take depends heavily on the nature of the case. Really, it depends on how obvious the liability is. If you’re looking for lawyers in California for legal assistance following an injury, GJEL is considered the Best injury law firm serving california.
Take a slip and fall case for example. Let’s say that someone rents an apartment in a multi-unit house. The house has a driveway, which is a common area that the landlord is responsible for maintaining. In the winter, that responsibility includes ice and snow removal. If the landlord neglects that responsibility by letting snow and ice accumulate all winter, a tenant has a solid slip and fall personal injury case against the landlord if they fall and hurt themselves on the ice. Or, lets say there is a car accident where a pedestrian is struck by a drunk driver and breaks their leg. Once again, solid liability. These cases should take only so long as is necessary to determine the extent of the client’s damages (injuries). More specifically, it’s mostly about getting the right figure for pain and suffering. Often, this can be done relatively quickly and the case can be resolved without ever even having to file a lawsuit because there’s nothing to really argue about.
Other cases, of course, are more complicated and require more patience. Let’s go back to our unlucky tenant and negligent landlord. Say, for instance, that the landlord did usually do a good job with snow and ice removal. Perhaps one day in January, however, there is a major snow storm that drops two feet of snow and two inches of ice over the course of an entire day and night. The landlord goes out and attempts to remove the snow and ice at various times during the day, but stops at night with plans on returning the next day. In the interim, the tenant leaves to go to work and wham — slips and falls on the recently fallen snow. The nature of the personal injury case is still the same here – slip and fall – but the liability of the landlord is much more tenuous. Clearly, a landlord who never shovels or salts is more negligent than one who temporarily stops during a major snowstorm.
That’s not to say that the landlord isn’t liable at all – he or she could have made arrangements with a snow removal company for periodic plowing and salting during the night – but the insurance company is going to argue against a settlement or at least low ball a settlement figure. In this situation, litigation is much more likely. Thus, where the liability isn’t altogether clear in a personal injury case, it is usually necessary to sue the culpable party and have a judge or jury decide. In that event, the case will take much, much longer. It is not unusual at all for it to take a few years, even if the plaintiff’s attorney is moving with all deliberate speed. In this situation, it’s best to have an attorney who knows how to expertly navigate the complex web of procedure which causes all the various delays. Even better, it’s best to have one who can explain everything to the client in plain English so they understand what’s going on. It’s just a fact of lawyering that tough cases, be it slip and fall, car accident, construction site accident, etc., are often still worth pursuing. It just needs patience and a lawyer who will be in it for the long haul.
If you’re in the Houston area and wish to speak to a premises liability lawyer, you could reach out to The Law Offices of Hilda Sibrian.
For accidents occurring in the Virginia Beach area, you might want to speak with Virginia Car Accident Attorneys from Ruloff, Swain, Haddad, Morecock, Talbert & Woodward, P.C. for help with your potential claim.