Suffering an injury due to someone else’s negligence can be an overwhelming experience, often resulting in mounting medical bills and lost wages. It is natural to want to want your life back to normal as soon as possible so you can move forward.
However, when pursuing a personal injury lawsuit, various complex factors can prolong the settlement or litigation process.
To help you speed up the process and receive the full value of your case, here are some of the factors that can delay your personal injury case and how an experienced attorney can assist you.
How soon does a personal injury lawsuit typically settle?
Personal injury cases vary in complexity, making it difficult to predict their duration. Typically, claims take one to three years to settle.
Negotiations between your personal injury attorney and insurance carriers play a significant role in claim resolution, lasting from a few weeks to several months. However, disputes over who is at fault or the amount of compensation could extend negotiations beyond a year.
Insurance companies often try to force a quick settlement to limit the amount they’ll have to pay. Although quick payouts can be necessary, we recommend contacting an experienced attorney to ensure you receive the full value of your case.
How long does each stage of a personal injury lawsuit take?
To estimate how long a personal injury lawsuit will take, it is important to have a clear understanding of how long certain legal stages typically last.
- Obtaining Medical Care
If you experience a vehicle crash or injury, seek medical attention right away. Your doctor may prescribe a treatment plan for your recovery, which can take weeks to months depending on the severity of injuries.
- Contacting a Personal Injury Attorney
Hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer who will handle investigations and communicate with insurance companies can take several weeks or months.
- Serving the Defendant(s)
Once your claim is investigated, legal action may be initiated. Your legal team will send a settlement demand to all relevant parties. It may take a few days, or longer, for the paperwork to be served to the defendants.
- Gathering Evidence
Next comes the discovery process. Discovery is where both sides of a lawsuit gather evidence to support their arguments. This phase typically lasts a year.
Settlement negotiations begin after this phase, which may range from informal phone calls to formal mediation or arbitration sessions. If the case remains unsettled, it may take time to resolve, with some cases settling on the eve of trial.
If an agreement cannot be made, your attorney will initiate legal proceedings, which can take months to go to trial. After the trial, the judge or jury will establish the defendant’s responsibility. If either party disagrees, they have the option to appeal the decision.
What factors can impact the timeline of your personal injury claim?
Determining liability, or who caused the injury, can also influence the duration. Cases where liability is clear tend to move faster, while those that involve more complex arguments, like medical malpractice, can take longer. To prove that you were not liable for your injury, your attorney may have to collect evidence such as medical reports, scene photographs, and conduct witness interviews.
Additionally, cases involving severe injuries that affect your future or result in disabilities typically take longer to settle compared to cases where complete recovery is possible. Finding out the extent of injuries and related costs, like future surgery expenses, may take time. However, it is critical to ensuring that you receive full value for your injury.
Insurance companies may offer lowball settlements early on before the actual cost of your injury is known. The insurer may conduct an in-depth investigation into your injuries to limit their settlement amount, treat your personal injury claim in bad faith, and delay payouts, affecting your timeline.
To counter these tactics, you and your attorney must be well-informed about your case’s facts and present them each time the insurer attempts to create delays, keeping the case moving towards a resolution. A qualified attorney will defend you against these unfair tactics and work hard to prevent insurance companies from taking advantage of you.
If your case involves any of these factors, we suggest that you hire an experienced attorney to ensure that your case progresses smoothly. Your attorney will keep you informed throughout the process and provide you with a timeline so you can better understand how long your case might last.
How long will your case last?
Dealing with a personal injury case can be frustrating and time-consuming. Unfortunately, due to the complex factors involved, there is no definitive answer as to how long your case may take to resolve.
We recognize that you want to put this difficult experience behind you as soon as possible. However, a competent personal injury attorney should prioritize leaving no stone unturned in telling your unique story and fighting on your behalf.
If you or a loved one has been injured due to someone else’s negligence, we recommend you contact an experienced personal injury attorney. A skilled attorney can assist you in resolving your claim more quickly and receiving the full value of your case.