The time it takes to resolve a personal injury lawsuit through settlement can range from a couple of months to a few years, depending on the details of your case. On average, most personal injury claims are resolved in 1-2 years. However, every case is different. The type of injury, amount of damages, and willingness of the insurance company to negotiate a fair settlement can all impact your timeline.
If you’ve suffered an injury and are wondering, “How long will my injury case take?” this guide can help you understand the typical personal injury lawsuit timeline and what factors affect it. Read on to learn how long the process takes and how an experienced personal injury lawyer can help expedite your claim.
How Long Does a Typical Personal Injury Lawsuit Take to Settle?
The typical timeline for a personal injury lawsuit involves several steps:
- Initial investigation and filing of the claim – 2-6 months
- Discovery process – 6-12 months
- Settlement negotiations – 3-9 months
- Trial (if no settlement is reached) – 12-24 months
Most personal injury cases usually settle within 1-2 years after the initial accident or injury. However, some cases may take longer to settle, depending on the severity and complexity of the case. The average time to settle also depends on the type of personal injury, whether your case involves medical malpractice, and other variables.
Why Might It Take Several Years To Reach A Settlement In Some Cases?
Many different factors can affect how long it takes to settle a personal injury claim, including:
The extent or seriousness of your injuries
The more serious your injuries, the longer it typically takes to settle your case. Cases involving catastrophic injuries, permanent disabilities, or fatalities often take 2-5 years to resolve fully. Less serious soft tissue injuries may settle within 1 year.
Suppose multiple parties share liability for your accident and injuries. In that case, it often lengthens the process because each defendant’s insurance company may dispute responsibility. Settling multi-defendant cases often takes 18-24 months.
How Reasonable the Insurance Company Is
Some insurance carriers are known for delaying and denying legitimate claims. If the at-fault party’s insurer refuses to offer a fair settlement in good faith, your case could last years. On the other hand, companies that prioritize good faith claims resolution tend to settle faster.
If a Lawsuit is Filed
Once a personal injury lawsuit is filed, the court proceedings add time to the process. Discovery, depositions, motions, and pre-trial conferences must occur before trial. Most cases settle before that point, but filing a lawsuit can add 6-12 months.
If Your Case Goes to Trial
Less than 5% of personal injury claims go to trial. However, if a jury trial is necessary, it typically takes 12-24 months from the time a lawsuit is filed until a judgment is reached.
The State Your Claim is Filed In
Some states have quicker courts and more case law governing personal injury claims. The city and court in which your claim is filed can impact timelines. Larger courts in urban areas tend to take longer due to crowded dockets.
How Can Hiring an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Expedite Your Case?
Hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer is the best way to maximize your settlement and expedite the claims process. Here’s how a personal injury attorney can help:
- Launch an immediate investigation to preserve evidence and establish liability. The sooner this happens after an accident, the faster a resolution is reached.
- Assess the full value of your lawsuit and demand maximum compensation from the start. This prevents time-wasting low-ball offers from insurance carriers.
- Handle negotiations confidently and strategically to motivate fair settlements. Personal injury lawyers have settled cases down to a science.
- Threaten litigation and prepare cases for trial. This pressures defendant companies to settle rather than risk going before a jury.
- Subpoena evidence and take depositions from witnesses to build leverage and prove your claim.
- Avoid common mistakes ordinary people make when handling legal claims on their own. Personal injury law has many complexities.
Should You Settle Your Personal Injury Claim or Go to Trial?
In most cases, settling your personal injury claim is in your best interest instead of going to trial if a fair settlement offer is made. Settlements result in you getting paid faster, and they remove the uncertainties of trial. Plaintiffs also pay lower legal fees through settlements vs. hourly trial fees.
However, suppose the insurance provider refuses to negotiate reasonably. In that case, your attorney may need to take the case to trial to fight for full compensation. Personal injury lawyers can advise you on the best strategy.
Let a Personal Injury Lawyer Review Your Case for Free
Each personal injury claim is unique, so it’s impossible to predict precisely how long any specific case will take to resolve. The best way to estimate your timeline is to contact an experienced personal injury attorney for a free case review. They can examine your situation and provide tailored guidance on how long your lawsuit will likely take.
Don’t leave compensation to chance – protect your rights by connecting with a skilled personal injury lawyer who can get results. With an attorney fighting for maximum compensation, you can focus on recovery while they handle the legal process.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: How long does a medical malpractice case usually take to resolve through settlement?
A: Due to their complexity, medical malpractice lawsuits often take 2-3 years to settle. Extensive discovery and expert testimony are needed, and healthcare providers vigorously defend these cases. However, an attorney can still negotiate the best outcome.
Q: Should I hire a lawyer to settle my personal injury claim?
A: Hiring a lawyer when dealing with a personal injury claim is highly recommended. An experienced personal injury attorney can navigate the complex legal process, negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf, and help you obtain a fair settlement.
Q: Are all personal injury claims or lawsuits settled?
- While settlement is the outcome for most personal injury claims or lawsuits, some do go to trial if an agreeable resolution can’t be reached through negotiation. However, the majority of personal injury claims are settled outside of court.
Q: How do insurance companies affect the settlement timeline?
A: Insurance companies play a significant role in the settlement timeline of a personal injury case. They may attempt to delay the process or offer low settlement amounts. Having a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer on your side is crucial because they can negotiate with the insurance company and assist in securing a just settlement for you.
Final Thoughts: How Long Should You Expect Your Personal Injury Case to Take?
Every personal injury case is unique and thus has variables that can affect the timeline. While it’s impossible to tell you exactly how long your case will take, knowing what to expect can help you prepare for the process.
In summary, some key points to remember are:
- The average personal injury lawsuit takes 12-18 months to settle but can take longer depending on circumstances.
- Factors like injury severity, shared liability, insurance company cooperation, and whether a lawsuit is filed impact timelines.
- Hiring an experienced lawyer right away can expedite the claims process and motivate faster settlements.
- Most cases settle out of court to avoid a lengthy trial. Settlements get you paid quicker than going to trial.
- To understand how long your case may take, consult a qualified personal injury attorney for a free review.