How long do personal injury cases take to settle? If you or a loved one has been hurt due to someone else’s negligence or reckless behavior, you may be considering whether to file a personal injury lawsuit, but the length of time it could take to reach a resolution is preventing you from doing so.
The nature of the case typically affects when most personal injury claims settle. In other instances, if a settlement is not reached, the case goes to trial, further prolonging when the case will come to a close.
Learn more about average injury settlement times. The timeline for settling out of court will look different than the timeline for court action. We’ll go over the factors that influence the length of time it takes to resolve a personal injury case, and when you can expect your lawsuit to finalize.
Timeline When You Settle
Personal injury cases can take months to settle. Several factors come into play including the quality of your personal injury lawyer as well as the willingness of the insurance company to pay out.
If you and your attorney decide to settle out of court, the timeline for payment depends heavily on the insurance company. Are they willing to make a reasonable settlement offer? Or, if your attorney can make a strong case and you have serious injuries, the attorneys for both sides should agree in a matter of days. Sometimes, this may stretch into weeks.
Some insurance companies come to the negotiating table ready to make a settlement that pays the maximum of the policy limits. If you accept their offer, then you will sign a release of liability. You’ll receive your settlement check quickly after you sign this release.
The release of liability releases the insurance company from all liability for your case. In a sense, you’re saying you won’t sue them again. If the insurance company suspects a weak case or suspects you’re not as injured as you say, they will stall negotiations. The process will take much longer. To speed up the process, one side may ask for a mediator to resolve the case.
Do not accept a low settlement or a settlement that doesn’t cover your full injuries and losses. Once you sign the release of liability, you have to take the settlement they offer. A good personal injury attorney will work hard to win you the best settlement for your injuries.
Waiting for a Resolution
As you negotiate with the insurance company, time will pass. You will have bills come to your mailbox, hospitals, and clinics asking for payment. Do not just give in to the insurance company’s low offer because of your bills. Be patient, and trust your attorney.
If you need financial assistance for medical bills, look into medical liens. They will give you more time to pay the bill. A healthcare lien just means the first part of the settlement will go to the healthcare company and not to you, to cover your bills.
If you do not yet have a personal injury attorney, look for a personal injury attorney near me. Then start examining the attorney’s track record, and make sure they’re willing to fight for you.
Failure to Reach Maximum Medical Improvement
If you’re still receiving medical treatment, a settlement will stagnate. You do not know how much your future medical bills will be if you haven’t improved to the maximum level possible yet.
MMI is a legal term that means the individual will not improve significantly with more treatment. If you’ve reached MMI, that means that you will not improve with or without medical treatment beyond your current condition. If you’re still improving with medical treatment, you have not yet reached MMI. This will slow down your settlement.
Two factors drive a personal injury case. The liability and the damages, or rather, who was at fault and how badly were you injured. If your attorney has a difficult time proving liability, the insurance adjuster will not make a reasonable settlement. Their client, after all, may not be liable.
A good personal injury attorney can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is liable. But the case may still go slowly as they do this. The damages may also be problematic. A physician needs to be certain that the defendant’s actions caused the plaintiff’s injuries. If they cannot do this, then the insurance company will not pay out enough for damages.
Significant damages mean significant money. If you’re in a case where you sustained significant damages, then the defendant will owe you a large amount of money. Insurance companies aren’t quick to cut big checks. They will want to pick the case apart carefully. They will investigate the case until they can see that your injuries are as severe as you say.
The investigators will also try to attack your credibility. This is not a legal tactic, though. If a doctor says you sustained serious injuries, they cannot use your credibility as a plausible defense.
Any time a lot of money is involved, both parties will tread with caution. A good personal injury attorney will have experience with big-money cases and know how to best defend your case.
Stay Patient, Settle Fairly
So, how long do personal injury cases take to settle? It could take as little as a few days and as long as months depending on your case. Ultimately, if you want to receive your full, just compensation, be patient. Hire a great personal injury attorney who has a track record of success. Look specifically for an attorney that has experience in both fighting in court and settling out of court.
Do you need a personal injury attorney? If so, contact us. Our knowledgeable, experienced staff is ready to help fight for your rights and win you the settlement you need.