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If you suffer a serious injury in an accident in Connecticut and are seeking compensation through a personal injury case, it is normal to want the legal process to be over as soon as possible so that you can move on with your life. Knowing what to expect from the claims process can give you greater peace of mind during this difficult time. While every personal injury case is unique, most follow a similar timeline.
You may not realize that you can start building your personal injury case immediately after an accident in Connecticut. Take the following steps without delay:
This is the pre-filing stage of a personal injury claim, and should start in the moments after your accident.
The first few days after your accident should be spent recovering from your injury. Attend any necessary follow-up appointments and adhere to your doctor’s treatment plan and recommendations. If you have not already done so, file an insurance claim. This should be done within 72 hours of your accident, in most cases, as insurance companies have filing deadlines.
Over the next few weeks, the insurance company will assign a claims adjuster to your claim. The investigative process may take several weeks, depending on the complexity of the case. If there is a liability dispute between two or more parties, this could slow down the processing of your claim. If you hire an attorney, he or she may also investigate your accident during this time to determine the defendant and gather evidence.
While your claim is being processed, you should continue your medical care until reaching your point of maximum medical improvement (MMI). This is the point at which your doctor believes you will not recover any further from your injuries. It is important to wait for your MMI, even if this is many months after your accident, so that you fully understand the extent of your injuries and the related costs.
Most personal injury cases in Connecticut reach settlements. This is a signed agreement between an insurance company and claimant to dismiss the defendant from any further liability in exchange for an agreed-upon sum. The average personal injury settlement is achieved in about three to six months after an accident. However, some settlements take much longer.
If your personal injury case cannot reach a settlement, it may go to trial. A personal injury lawsuit in Connecticut can take one year or longer depending on the availability of a court date (how busy the courthouse is) and the length of the discovery phase. Discovery allows both parties to exchange evidence and information about a case prior to trial. The trial itself may take a week or longer.
You must initiate a personal injury claim in Connecticut at least within two years of sustaining or discovering your injury. This deadline is known as the statute of limitations. If you wait too long and attempt to file a lawsuit after two years have passed, you will most likely be barred from seeking a financial recovery. Note that this time limit is reduced to one year if you are filing a lawsuit against a government agency in Connecticut.