There may come a time in your case where your personal injury lawyer calls you and tells you that you need to file a lawsuit. That might sound like a big step, but there are two important reasons why your attorney will tell you that it’s time to file a lawsuit:
1. The Statute of Limitations for Your Iowa Personal Injury Case is Coming Up.
There is a limited amount of time you can get compensation for your injuries. This is known as the “statute of limitations.” The statute of limitations for Iowa personal injury claims is generally two years from the date that you were hurt. That means you have two years to file a lawsuit or settle your claim. If you wait until that date passes before filing your case, it is likely you will not be able to bring a claim.
If you haven’t been able to settle your case before the two-year mark is up, filing a lawsuit is the only way to preserve the statute. It allows you to keep treating your injuries if you are not yet healed, and gives your attorney more time to gather information about your case.
2. You and the Other Side Disagree Completely on How Much Your Case is Worth.
You should be wary of any attorney that says they can tell you exactly how much your case is worth. It’s impossible for any lawyer to give you an exact dollar amount before a jury actually decides. That being said, a knowledgeable Iowa personal injury lawyer should be able to estimate what your case is worth at the appropriate stage in your case – after all of the information has been gathered.
Many times Iowa personal injury cases go through mediation before heading to trial. Mediation is a meeting between the two sides and a neutral mediator. The mediator will suggest different resolutions to the case to both sides to try and settle the claim.
However, your attorney may feel that your case is worth significantly more than the insurance company is willing to pay. When this happens, it’s usually in your best interest to go to trial and have a jury decide who is right.
Why would the two sides disagree so drastically on the value of your case? There are a few reasons:
- There might be a disagreement about how you were injured.
- There might be a disagreement about how badly you were injured – the other side may say you were not injured as badly as you say you were.
- There might be a disagreement on who is responsible for your injuries. For example, if you were injured in a car crash, the other side may say that you caused the crash instead of their client.
If the two sides cannot reach an agreement, the next step is a jury trial. During the trial, both sides will present their argument and let the jury decide who is right. After the verdict, the losing party has to comply with the jury’s decision unless the verdict is appealed.
While the majority of personal injury cases settle before going to trial, it’s a good idea to hire a lawyer who is experienced in jury trials at the beginning of your claim so you feel secure in going to court. Hiring a lawyer who is not serious about going to trial will hurt the value of your claim.
If the statute of limitations is coming up on your claim, or you want to know more about filing a lawsuit, contact RSH Legal at 1-319-774-1783 and speak with one of our experienced Iowa personal injury attorneys.