Alpharetta Residents Want to Know: Why Do Some Car Accident Lawsuits Take So Long?
Picture it: You’re riding along in Alpharetta when you come to a stop light. The other driver runs the light and T-bones your car. Perhaps he or she was texting when the accident occurred. Maybe the other driver was drunk well past the legal limit when they swerved into your lane and caused your wreck. They even said “I’m so sorry! This is all my fault!”
If you were hurt in such an accident, you’d probably think that your personal injury suit to recover compensation for your losses was a “slam dunk” that should be resolved with money in your pocket in a matter of weeks. In personal injury suits, however, there is no such thing as a “slam dunk.” Even with a skilled and aggressive Alpharetta accident attorney doing everything he or she can to move the case forward, seemingly simple cases can take months, if not years, to resolve. This is understandably frustrating for injury victims who need their compensation as soon as possible. But why do some personal injury suits like that take so long?
Every case is different, and there are any number of reasons why a lawsuit may drag on longer than you would expect. Three of the most common reasons are:
“Discovery” is the term used for the process of exchanging information between the parties to a lawsuit, gathering evidence, and learning all there is to know about the accident and injuries involved in the case. Discovery is often the longest phase of a personal injury lawsuit.
During discovery, the attorneys for each side exchange and answer written questions (“interrogatories”) and requests for documents. Depositions of the parties and any witnesses, treating physicians, and expert witnesses are taken as well. Scheduling these depositions can be a challenge, especially if witnesses reside elsewhere or are uncooperative. Sometimes, the parties will get into disputes about whether questions or requests were proper or whether a party has fully disclosed everything they were supposed to. Such disputes need to be resolved by the judge if the attorneys can’t work them out themselves.
All of this can take a very long time. But discovery is a key and inescapable part of any personal injury lawsuit. It is how your attorney can build the strongest case, expose weaknesses in the defense, and put your case in the best possible position either for settlement or trial.
After a car accident occurs in Alpharetta or elsewhere in Georgia, the other driver’s insurance company will be handling the defense of your personal injury lawsuit. When defending personal injury suits, the insurance company’s main goal is to minimize the amount they pay or aggressively avoid paying anything at all. After all, every dime they pay out in claims comes directly out of their pockets. Insurers are in business to make money, not to be your “good neighbor.”
Early on, the insurer may want to try to resolve your claim quickly by offering a settlement amount significantly less than what you deserve or what you could obtain at trial. That is why you should never negotiate with an insurance company without speaking with an experienced accident attorney first.
Once the insurance company knows that it can’t get out of the case on the cheap because it is up against a skilled Alpharetta lawyer who won’t be fooled or intimidated by their tactics, the insurer will have every motivation to drag the case on for as long as it can. As it denies or tries to minimize its liability, the insurer may file motions challenging the legal sufficiency of the case, slow-walk the discovery process as much as possible, or engage in other delay tactics.
Crowded Court Dockets
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, in 2005, the last year in which nationwide statistics were collected, approximately 7.4 million civil lawsuits were filed in the United States. Here in Cherokee County, as in most other counties, our courts and judges are responsible for presiding over thousands of civil lawsuits every year. At any given time, one judge could have hundreds of active cases on their docket.
While the vast majority of personal injury cases settle before trial, judges still are involved throughout the life of a lawsuit. Hearings and conferences need to be set, briefs and motions need to be reviewed, opinions need to be written. An overcrowded docket means that weeks or months can pass before any of those things happen. For those cases which don’t settle, trials can last for weeks, further pushing back the judge’s schedule for addressing all of the other matters on their plate.
As Alpharetta car accident lawyers, we understand how frustrating it can be for injury victims to wait so long for their cases to be resolved and for money to get into their pocket. We work hard to move the process forward at every step, but the system can sometimes allow a party who wants a case to move forward at a snail’s pace to effectively do so.
While an aggressive plaintiff’s personal injury attorney can keep pushing hard to keep the case progressing to a resolution and fight the insurer’s delay tactics at every turn, your personal injury case may still take longer than makes sense to you. At North Metro Litigators, we know how important it is for injury victims to obtain the maximum amount of compensation for their injuries as quickly and efficiently as possible. We work tirelessly to make that happen, and fight any and all efforts to delay the resolution of your claim.
Speak With an Alpharetta Accident Attorney at North Metro Litigators Today
The personal injury attorneys at North Metro Litigators will be on your side every step of the way as you face the challenges that come with a car accident case. Call us today at (770) 517-0045 or contact us to arrange for your free initial consultation.