29 Mar, 2024

How Long Does a Car Accident Lawsuit Take in Bloomington, IL?

Author Todd A. Strong

How long does a car accident lawsuit take in Bloomington, Illinois? The exact length of a car accident lawsuit can vary depending on several factors. It typically takes anywhere from a few months to a couple of years for a personal injury case involving a motor vehicle crash to resolve through settlement or jury verdict.

Lawsuit form with filler and book. How long does a car accident lawsuit take.
Lawsuit form with filler and book. How long does a car accident lawsuit take.

Steps in a Car Accident Lawsuit in Bloomington, IL

The following are some of the key steps involved in a car accident lawsuit in Illinois. Taking these steps can help you build a stronger case and maximize your chances of getting fair compensation.

Seek Medical Treatment and Document Your Injuries

The first step to take following a car accident is to seek medical care from a licensed physician. Even if your injuries appear minor, they could be internal injuries that you may not notice until they become life-threatening.

Waiting too long to seek treatment could also make it more difficult to prove that the accident caused your injuries. Seeing a healthcare provider begins the documentation process and helps tie your condition to the incident.

Also, document all injuries you sustain with visual and written documentation. For instance, you can take photos of visible injuries shortly after the accident, and you can maintain a pain journal that details how you're feeling and the recovery process following the accident.

Consult an Attorney

Take advantage of the opportunity to get free legal advice from a local attorney. An experienced Bloomington car accident lawyer will evaluate your case and explain the legal options available to you during your free consultation.

If you decide to hire the personal injury lawyer to take on your case, he or she will begin gathering and organizing evidence right away. This evidence could include, but is not limited to:

  • Photos of your injuries
  • Video or photos of the accident scene and vehicle damage
  • Footage from dash cams or area security cameras
  • Police reports
  • Doctors’ reports, treatment plans, and medical bills
  • Witness statements

The attorney may also work with experts to determine how your accident happened, identify liable parties, and/or understand more about your injuries and your prognosis.

Although your lawyer won’t be able to guarantee how much compensation you’ll recover, experience with car accident cases will enable him or her to provide you with an estimate of what your case is worth.

File a Formal Claim With Insurers

The next step would entail filing an insurance claim against the liable party's insurer. Based on how Illinois determines fault in car accidents, liable parties could include negligent drivers, pedestrians, vehicle manufacturers, mechanics, and others whose improper conduct led to an accident and subsequent damages. Distracted driving is a leading cause of car accidents in the U.S., and distracted drivers are the most common type of party to sue following an accident.

Once your injury claim is filed, the insurance company’s representatives will reach out to you in an attempt to minimize their payout in your car accident claim. Don’t talk to them other than to refer them to your lawyer.

Your attorney will use the evidence gathered and the estimate of your claim’s value to negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf.

If your attorney is able to reach a settlement with the insurer during the claims process, you won't need to go to trial. Approximately 95% of injury claims settle out of court, so your chances of facing a long, drawn out courtroom battle are slim.

However, most experienced attorneys will prepare their cases for trial from the beginning, just in case.

Filing a Lawsuit and the Discovery Phase

Knowing what to expect after your personal injury lawsuit is filed will help you make more informed decisions about your case and increase your chances of success.

Sometimes, car accident lawyers will file a lawsuit against the liable party right away to let the other side know they are serious about pursuing compensation. Others prefer to wait until later in the game, when insurance companies demonstrate their unwillingness to pay fair compensation for the victim’s losses.

Either way, once your lawyer files your personal injury lawsuit, negotiations will probably become more intense. During this time, you may receive multiple settlement offers from the insurance company, or none at all.

The Discovery Phase

The longest part of litigation in a personal injury case typically involves discovery. This is the stage when the plaintiff and the defendant attempt to gather and exchange information about the case.

Lawyers for both sides gather evidence like police reports, medical records, and witness statements. This helps them understand the strengths and weaknesses of the case before going to trial or reaching a settlement.

There are several ways to go about discovery, including written inquiries that request information from each party, requests for documentation, in-person interviews called depositions, and requests for admission of certain facts or denial of invalid documentation.

Negotiation, Mediation, and Settlement Options Before Trial

Most of the time, negotiations will continue throughout the duration of a car accident case, only ending when a settlement agreement is reached or the jury reaches a verdict.

Another option available that may enable you to resolve your case without a trial is mediation. This process works similarly to negotiations, but both parties communicate through a neutral third party called a mediator. The mediator could also be an institution, judge, non-professional, or an ombudsman.

Mediators do not make decisions in car accident cases. They are there to guide negotiations between the parties.

If mediation is successful, the result is a binding contract between both parties. If not, your case will proceed to trial.

Trial Process and Timeframe

The trial itself in a car accident case is usually the shortest part of the legal process, typically lasting only a few days to a week. However, getting to that point can take much longer. Pre-trial steps, like filing a claim and discovery, can take months or even years to resolve. The exact timeline of your case will depend on numerous factors.

Factors That Can Influence the Duration of a Car Accident Lawsuit

The following are some of the things that can impact the duration of your lawsuit:

  • Contested liability: Determining fault for the accident significantly impacts the lawsuit duration. If it's clear-cut who caused the accident, the case can move quicker. If there's dispute over fault, assigning blame can take time and involve gathering additional evidence.
  • The seriousness of the injury: The extent of your injuries is a major factor. Serious injuries requiring ongoing medical treatment and rehabilitation will likely lead to a longer lawsuit. This is because the full extent of the damages needs to be documented, and future medical needs may be harder to predict.
  • The availability of evidence: A case can also take much longer to settle if evidence is difficult or impossible to obtain. Also, the quality of the evidence could depreciate with time, making it important to gather evidence that's as recent and fresh as possible.
  • Court Backlog: Court congestion also plays a role in the timeline. Courts are often overloaded with cases, so yours may have to wait its turn to be heard by a judge. This can significantly extend the lawsuit duration.

Will Hiring a Lawyer Impact How Long a Car Accident Lawsuit Takes?

Working with an experienced personal injury attorney in Bloomington can impact the duration of your car accident lawsuit in two ways. While hiring a lawyer may lead to some steps to take longer, like gathering evidence (discovery phase) and working with experts, attorneys can also expedite things. The attorney’s experience helps navigate complexities that might stall the case, like battling with insurance companies over fault or damages. Ultimately, a lawyer can ensure a fair settlement or strong case for court, saving time in the long run.

If you suffered injuries or your loved one was killed in a car accident in Bloomington, IL, reach out to our car accident lawyers at Strong Law Offices. With more than 25 years of experience winning injury claims and lawsuits on behalf of injured victims in Illinois, our legal team can help you maximize your recovery.

About The Author

author-bio-image
Personal Injury Lawyer Todd A. Strong Illinois workers’ compensation and personal injury lawyer Todd A. Strong is the founder of Strong Law Offices in Peoria, Illinois. Todd brings considerable legal knowledge, experience, and skill to the table to ensure injured victims throughout the state are treated with respect, dignity, and fairness.
Years of Experience: More than 20 years
Illinois Registration Status: Active
Bar & Court Admissions: Illinois State, 1994
U.S. District Court, Central District of Illinois, 1994
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, 2022
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Illinois, 2023
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About The Author

author-bio-image
Personal Injury Lawyer Todd A. Strong Illinois workers’ compensation and personal injury lawyer Todd A. Strong is the founder of Strong Law Offices in Peoria, Illinois. Todd brings considerable legal knowledge, experience, and skill to the table to ensure injured victims throughout the state are treated with respect, dignity, and fairness.
Years of Experience: More than 20 years
Illinois Registration Status: Active
Bar & Court Admissions: Illinois State, 1994
U.S. District Court, Central District of Illinois, 1994
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, 2022
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Illinois, 2023