People who have been seriously injured as a result of another person’s negligence can face months of emotionally exhausting paperwork, meetings, and court hearings. They're confused, exhausted, and nervous about the future, and they want a resolution immediately.
The length of time it takes to settle a personal injury lawsuit varies with each case based on a variety of circumstances. Some of those factors may be beyond the control of you and even beyond the control of your lawyer. Some cases are settled fairly quickly - within a matter of weeks - while some may drag on for months or longer. The length of time it takes to settle a claim may depend on:
- Missing or incorrect facts
- Case value
- The difficulty of proving liability
- Insurance companies
- The extent of the injuries
- The injured person has not reached maximum medical improvement
Shorter turnaround times in personal injury cases might occur when the injured person accepts an insurance company’s initial offer - which oftentimes is a lower amount than what the injury victim actually deserves. This can happen for many reasons, but all too often it happens because the injured person does not choose a lawyer who knows when to accept a settlement offer and when to turn it down. A dedicated and experienced attorney has your best interests at heart and will continue fighting the insurance companies until they offer fair compensation, even if it means a longer court process.
The most important thing to know in a personal injury case is that you should talk to a qualified lawyer to provide you with representation during the entire legal process. Going into a personal injury case without the right representation could draw out your claim process much longer than it needs to be.
One important factor that often influences the timeline of a personal injury case is whether or not the plaintiff has reached maximum medical improvement; that is, whether or not the injured individual has healed as best they could. This does not mean that the injury has been fully healed or that the person is not still in pain - it simply means that their injuries have improved to the most reasonable extent possible.
Until you reach that point, it’s difficult to provide a quantitative estimate of total medical expenses, lost wages, and physical/emotional suffering.
Even once you’ve reached maximum medical improvement, you may incur further expenses for factors such as:
- Inability to return to work
- Additional financial loss
The timeline to put together these estimates depends entirely on how much time it takes to reach maximum medical improvement - this could take weeks, months, or longer. A quick turnaround on a personal injury case generally signifies that either the injury was minor, the plaintiff accepted the first offer, or the insurance company rushed to close the settlement.
While it may be difficult to come to terms with, it’s important to consider the possibility that a personal injury case may last longer than you would like it to, especially when you’re in the middle of trying to heal from injuries at the hands of another person. That’s why it’s important to find legal representation that handles everything while you focus on what’s important - your own health and wellbeing.