Usually, in Sedgwick County, Kansas a case can be tried within a year of the date of having the accident. In other jurisdictions or counties, it is anywhere from a year to two from the date that the petition is filed before the case is tried. Most personal injury cases in Kansas result in a trial of less than one week and four to five days of trial. The whole trial experience from beginning to end lasts no more than a week to a week and a half if the jury hands down a verdict.
Going to trial will result in typically two to three times the case expenditures because it is expensive to present evidence to a jury. You have to ask doctors to take time off from their practice and other experts, for that matter, to come to court and present their testimonies in front of a jury. That is a very expensive proposition. Typically, there are other expenses incurred in order to get witnesses to trial and show evidence to a jury in a trial. Therefore, it is expensive to take a case to trial as compared to settling the case before filing suit. The range of cost is two to five times the cost of settling the case before you have to file suit.
If your insurance company and your attorney reach an agreement prior to trial, it takes one week to thirty days to get your settlement proceeds. If it is thirty days, that usually means it is a more complex settlement. If it is one week, it means it is a small and simple personal injury settlement.
Probably the most important tips I can give to someone that would allow them to win their case is that the personal injury victim needs not overemphasize their injuries to healthcare providers. They must be complete in their conversations with the doctors about what it was that caused them to suffer these injuries. They must be very consistent throughout their healthcare treatment in describing these injuries to healthcare providers. Another extremely important tip for folks is that they really should keep a diary at the direction of their attorney and document how this accident has affected their day-to-day life. When the time comes to either settle the case or litigate, the details in how the collision affected their life can be reconstructed from this document and not just from memory.
Lastly, and probably the most important tip is, be truthful, do not overstate your injuries. Overstating your injuries to a healthcare provider can and is often one of the most damning things you can do in causing your case to be undervalued. Describing all of your injuries is one thing, but exaggerating how they affected you is quite different. It is best to describe all of the injuries that you sustained without exaggerating, and maybe even underplaying a bit on how the accident affected you and your ability to do things on a daily basis. Let the doctor describe how the particular injury will affect your ability to do certain things and do not exaggerate. Be accurate in what injuries you suffered and that will go a lot farther in helping you settle or litigate your case.
It is about communication, and I have always suggested being consistent in contact with your lawyer and letting them know what is going on from both a medical and a work perspective is important. Too many injury victims talk to their lawyer when their lawyer calls them. They do not pick up the phone and call the lawyer and tell the lawyer important things that have happened in their daily life or in their medical appointment thinking that the lawyer will get this information from some other source, like the medical records. Communicating with your lawyer on a monthly basis is important so your lawyer will know when and how to best present your case to an insurance company and ultimately to a jury.