If you’ve sustained injuries in a slip-and-fall incident, you may be considering a claim against the negligent party. Unfortunately, sometimes, it can take years to obtain fair compensation.
The time it takes to recover damages depends on many factors, including the severity of your injuries, the strength of the evidence, and the number of defendants. If you want to speed up the process, you may want to consult an experienced slip-and-fall attorney shortly after the incident.
Performing an Investigation
Before filing a claim, you need to identify the liable party. While slip-and-fall incidents may seem straightforward, in some cases, more than one party may be responsible for your injuries.
During an investigation, it’s important to evaluate all the circumstances of the incident, collect evidence, speak to eyewitnesses, and review premises liability.
Depending on your time and resources, an investigation can take anywhere from several days to several weeks. Working with an attorney can expedite this process.
Filing a Complaint
Once you gather all the necessary information, you can file a formal complaint. It will describe the nature of your claim, including the allegedly liable parties, the circumstances of the incident, and the grounds for recovery.
You have to file the complaint with the local court and then serve the defendant with the summons. From the moment the summons is served, the defendant usually has several weeks to file a response. In Nevada, the defendant has 20 days for filing an answer.
The Statute of Limitations in Nevada
You only have a limited amount of time to file a complaint in a slip-and-fall case. In Nevada, the statute of limitations is two years from the day of the incident.
The longer you wait to file a complaint, the harder it will be to collect evidence and conduct an extensive investigation. If you are focused on recovering from injuries and don’t feel ready to deal with legal matters, consider hiring an attorney.
Sending a Demand Letter
Once you receive an answer, you can file a demand letter. The demand letter describes what you want to receive from the defendant. For example, you can file a letter with the property owner’s insurance company.
It’s important not to send a demand letter before you have a full picture of the size of your damages. Quantifying the damages may take some time. You can file a demand letter at any point in the slip-and-fall lawsuit process.
The defendant can reply to the demand letter with their offer. If that happens, you can proceed with negotiations and settle the case without filing a lawsuit. Negotiations can take several weeks.
The Discovery Phase
During the discovery phase, both plaintiff and the defendant try to gather as much information about the case as possible. This includes:
- Conducting in-depth investigations
- Collecting evidence
- Speaking to eyewitnesses
- Hiring expert witnesses
- Taking depositions
- Arranging interrogatories
- Requesting documents
During this time, you would also need to work on case preparation. Besides juggling all the paperwork, you have to come up with a solid case strategy.
Depending on the complexity of the case and the amount of evidence, the discovery phase can take anywhere from several weeks to several years.
After the discovery phase, you should have sufficient evidence to start negotiations with the at-fault party. A significant number of slip-and-fall cases settle before the trial. Two common ways to resolve the case without going to trial include:
- Mediation – plaintiff and the defendant arrange negotiations without involving the court.
- Settlement conference – the judge orders a settlement conference with the goal to settle the case before going to trial. The judge would also conduct this type of conference.
Negotiating a fair settlement amount can be complicated if you don’t have legal experience or an attorney’s help. This process puts serious pressure on the victim. Many people agree to settle for an unfair amount simply to avoid time-consuming negotiations.
If you delegate negotiations to an experienced slip-and-fall attorney, you could achieve faster results without emotional anguish. Negotiations can take anywhere from several days to several months. If you can’t settle on a fair amount during negotiations, the case can proceed to trial.
Going to Trial
In court, you would have to present your case to the judge and/or the jury. Trials are usually the shortest part of the slip-and-fall lawsuit timeline. Usually, they take between two and five days. However, it may take several months to set the trial date.
Once the court makes a decision, the at-fault party will have between 30 and 60 days to make a payment. In some cases, the judge may adjust the payment timeline. It can happen if the defendant doesn’t have enough money to make a lump sum payment.
The at-fault party has the right to file an appeal. And appeals can take quite a while to resolve.
Factors that Affect a Slip-and-Fall Case Timeline
Various factors may either delay or expedite your slip-and-fall lawsuit. They are:
- The number of liable parties
- The amount of evidence
- The circumstances of the case
- Whether the defendant accepts liability
A straightforward slip-and-fall injury case may take under three months to settle. Complex cases with several liable parties could take years. With an experienced attorney on your side, you can speed up the process while gaining time to focus on your health.
Contact a Slip-and-Fall Accident Attorney Today
If you’ve sustained injuries in a slip-and-fall accident, you may be entitled to compensation. The time it takes to recover damages depends on many factors. One of them is the expertise of your slip-and-fall attorney.
The slip-and-fall settlement timeline is different for each case. Call us for a free case review today.