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What Is the Timeline of a Personal Injury Case in Augusta?

January 6, 2022Personal Injury

When filing a Georgia personal injury lawsuit, you may wonder how long your case will take to conclude. Personal injury claims can involve complex processes, so it could take a significant period of time before you receive a settlement. 

On average, Georgia personal injury lawsuits can take up to one or two years to reach a conclusion. However, your case may be resolved faster or take longer to reach a settlement, depending on the circumstances surrounding your accident.

Waiting for Maximum Medical Improvement

Before your attorney decides to file your personal injury lawsuit in Georgia civil court, he or she will want to wait until you reach maximum medical improvement (MMI). When you reach MMI, your condition has improved as much as it could with the treatment that you received. 

Until you reach MMI, you won’t have a clear picture of your injuries and damages. If you initiate your claim too early, you could inadvertently accept a lower settlement than you deserve. This stage could take a few weeks to a few months to conclude, depending on the circumstances surrounding your case.

Sending a Demand Letter

Once you reach MMI, your attorney will decide whether to initiate your claim by sending a demand letter to the at-fault party. This document outlines your intent to file a claim and the defendant’s liability. A demand letter also requests that the defendant attend negotiations with you prior to filing your lawsuit.

If your attorney chooses to send a demand letter and negotiations are successful, your case will conclude at this stage. If negotiations are unsuccessful or your lawyer chooses not to send a letter, your case will proceed.

Filing the Lawsuit and Entering Discovery

Next, your attorney will file your lawsuit in Georgia civil court, and you will enter the discovery phase of your case. During discovery, you and the at-fault party will exchange evidence and arguments. You will also take depositions of each other and relevant witnesses. The discovery process can take six months to one year to complete.

Engaging in Pre-Trial Negotiations

After discovery, you have another opportunity to settle your lawsuit before going to trial. Your attorney and the at-fault party’s defense attorney may engage in negotiations and attempt to settle the matter among themselves. In some cases, you may attend mediation with the at-fault party and your lawyers and attempt to reach a conclusion among yourselves.

If these discussions are successful, your case will conclude, and you will receive a settlement. If these negotiations are not successful or do not take place, your case will proceed to trial.

Attending the Trial

During a personal injury trial, the court will hear arguments and view evidence from both parties. At the conclusion of the case, the judge or jury will determine whether you are eligible for compensation and how much you should receive. Trials can take a day, a week, or longer, depending on your case.

If your trial is successful, you will receive your settlement within a few weeks. If the trial is unsuccessful, you can appeal the decision—which will further lengthen your case timeline. 

Contact a Georgia Personal Injury Lawyer

If you plan on filing a personal injury lawsuit in Georgia, you need an attorney who can represent your interests in civil court. As soon as possible following your accident, contact an Augusta personal injury attorney to discuss your case and strategize your next steps.