How Long Does a Car Accident Case Take in Chicago?

How Long Does a Car Accident Case Take in Chicago? If you're in a car accident in Chicago, how quickly your case gets resolved can depend on a variety of issues. Some factors, like clear evidence and everyone agreeing on what happened, can speed things up. On the other hand, if there are arguments about who's at fault or if injuries are serious and need a lot of time to heal, it might take longer. The way insurance companies and everyone involved cooperates also plays a role.

While it's challenging to provide an exact timeline as each case is unique, the following factors can influence the overall duration.

Severity of injuries

The extent of your injuries plays a crucial role in determining the duration of your car accident lawsuit for various reasons. Severe injuries often necessitate prolonged medical treatment and recovery, leading to an extended timeline. Gathering comprehensive medical documentation and expert opinions to establish the connection between the accident and injuries can be time-consuming, but necessary for you to receive full compensation. Negotiating fair settlements with insurance companies may be protracted, especially when dealing with substantial damages. If litigation becomes necessary, court schedules, insurance company investigations, and disputes over damages can further contribute to delays.

Disputes over liability

The role of liability significantly influences the duration of a car accident lawsuit. Disputes over fault, particularly in complex cases with multiple parties or shared responsibility, can extend the timeline as investigations, evidence collection, and expert opinions are essential to establish a clear picture of liability. Insurance companies' evaluations and potential disagreements further contribute to the length of negotiations. If liability disputes persist, legal proceedings, such as court hearings, can lead to additional delays. Once liability is determined, the case can progress to address other aspects.

Insurance negotiations

As we’ve already seen, insurance companies play a large role in your car accident lawsuit. The time it takes for them to process claims, conduct investigations, and negotiate settlement terms can contribute to delays. Disputes over liability, coverage, or damages may lead to prolonged negotiations or legal proceedings. Complex cases, such as those involving multiple parties or damages in excess of policy limits, may extend the resolution process. Uncooperative insurance companies or intentional delays can further prolong the overall timeline.

Legal proceedings

Legal proceedings, if negotiations fail, can also increase the length of time to reach a resolution. Initiating the process involves filing a lawsuit (the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit in Illinois is two years following the date of the accident), with the subsequent discovery phase involving information exchange and evidence gathering. Court scheduling, influenced by backlogs and delays, further determines the timeline. Motions and rulings, mediation or settlement talks, jury selection, hiring expert witnesses who needs to develop reports, the actual trial, post-trial motions, appeals, and the enforcement of judgments – all of this takes time.

Can a Chicago car accident lawyer help speed up my case?

Yes and no.

On the one hand, certain elements take as long as they take. Hiring an attorney won’t heal a traumatic brain injury any faster. In fact, you may find that working with a lawyer extends the duration of your case a bit, because a good personal injury lawyer knows that you should never accept the first settlement offer that comes your way – especially when you have any injury like a TBI.

But there are some areas where we can help you move things along. For example, an insurance company that’s hemming and hawing about your claim may be inclined to move more quickly once you have a lawyer. (Our team happens to handle bad faith claims for car accidents, too, and that knowledge tends to work in our clients’ favor.) In many cases, we’ve found that clients are offered a higher settlement amount at the beginning of negotiations, which means we may reach a fair award more quickly. That can save time, too.

If a case does proceed to trial, then we make sure that everything you need is filed on time and in the right place, which can make a big difference. Timelines are critical; miss one, and you could find your whole case thrown out of court, and you may either need to start again – or may be barred from doing so at all.

Finally, we do everything in our power to make sure you get your money as quickly as possible after the case resolves. Most of the time, awards are deposited into a trust of some kind, and all outstanding bills and liens are paid from that account. Once the bills are paid, we can cut you the final check for the remainder of the award. We know how much you need that money, so we’ll come in on a weekend or stay late at night to make sure you don’t have wait any longer.

At Gainsberg Law, our experienced Chicago car accident attorneys are dedicated to helping people. We’re always willing to answer whatever questions you have, and we work hard to resolve your case as quickly as possible without ever losing site of what matters most: you and your future. If you have been in a car accident, reach out to us to schedule a free consultation by calling us at our Chicago office, or using our contact page. We proudly serve those throughout Cook County.