How long does it take to get a settlement in a personal injury lawsuit?

At the start of a new personal injury case with a client at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers, one of the first questions to come up is, “How long will this take?” Great question! We don’t blame you for being curious about the timeframe.

The short answer is: It depends. The speed of your case involves a variety of factors, some within your control and some beyond your control – and beyond your lawyer’s control, too. Let’s go through each of these important factors.

From the Start, You’re in Charge

The speed of your case starts with you. We can’t begin negotiating anything with an insurance company or negligent party until you’re well on the road to recovering from your injuries.

If your injuries are severe and you’ve had major surgery or complex follow-up procedures, everything needs to stay on hold until you’ve mostly completed your medical regimen. For weeks or months after an accident, you may need a variety of treatments like physical therapy, plastic surgery, or a mental health evaluation, depending on the situation.

Eventually, your doctors will determine that you’re entering the recovery phase and are starting to level off in terms of the additional treatment needed. In the legal world, we call this reaching the point of maximum medical improvement. At this point, we can proceed with your legal claim.

Arranging Documentation and a Demand Letter

While you’ve been focusing on healing from your injuries, the team at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers has been working behind the scenes to gather documentation and build your case. This is one of the best reasons to work with a personal injury traffic accident lawyer: We’re working while you’re recovering!

We’ll compile your medical records and bills as they pile up during your treatment period, plus we’ll track down other evidence that backs up your claim about what happened. There may be a police report, traffic camera footage, witness statements, and more.

Now it’s time to send out a key piece of documentation: your demand letter. A demand letter lays out your claim, requests compensation, and places a deadline for the other party to respond. A good lawyer is skilled at writing these letters in a way that makes an extremely compelling case for your compensation.

A two to four-week deadline is commonplace with demand letters, so expect to wait at least that long. At this point, we’re moving into the negotiation phase, where your lawyer and the opposing side will have an ongoing stream of back-and-forth communications.

Entering the Negotiation Phase

Welcome to the negotiation phase! To recap, up to this point, you’ve probably spent a few weeks recovering from your accident. You’re now waiting a few weeks for a response to your initial demand letter.

This is when you’ll really start seeing the benefits of having a personal injury lawyer. Our experience can be a big time-saver. For example, some attorneys will give the other side a full month or more to respond to the demand letter. No matter how much time you give them, the insurance adjuster almost always asks for more time.

That’s why we give a short two-week response deadline. That way, even if they ask for an extension, we don’t have to wait more than a month. This speeds up the back-and-forth negotiations and puts pressure on the other side to stop stalling and make a decision.

This is the point in the process where several different scenarios could unfold. The other side can accept what’s laid out in the demand letter, negotiate back and forth for a few weeks or months, or refuse to settle and insist on going to court. The timeframe varies depending on what they choose to do.

It takes some patience and you’ll need a willingness to wait for the process to play out. We tell our clients that having reasonable expectations about the timeline will help keep your stress level to a minimum.

Here’s the Bottom Line: Patience Pays Off

After treatment has concluded, the average time it takes for a personal injury case with Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers to settle is about 10 months. As we said, this can vary depending on the circumstances, but that’s an average based on the thousands of people we’ve helped in the past. Many settle more quickly and a few take longer.

It usually takes about another 30 days to receive your settlement check, which is always a big relief! And our legal team will stay on top of the other side for payment, to make sure they don’t drag their feet.

If you’ve heard people say that it can take years to resolve a personal injury case, don’t give those opinions too much weight. Sure, an extremely complex case that involves complicated liability issues might take more than a year after medical treatment is concluded to resolve. But those cases are the minority.

We’d love to help you pursue a fast, fair settlement after your accident. Contact us today to get the process rolling and secure compensation sooner rather than later!

“Sally Morin is the most professional personal injury Attorney we have ever worked with. We searched for a very long time. She was very on top of the case the entire time. Quick to respond to questions and very knowledgeable. We never had to travel to meet her. She responded to all telephone calls and settled the case in a very timely manner. We would use her again in a heartbeat!” – Narz

Experience a serious personal injury accident in California?

Check out our Personal Injury FAQ Page to learn more about how the process works.

We Handle Your Personal Injury Accident Claim So You Can Focus on Your Life

After an accident, contact the attorneys at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers. We handle many types of personal injury claims. We believe you should be able to focus on recovering from your accident while we handle the legal details.

We truly care about the people of California. Contact us today for a free online case evaluation.

Video Transcript

How long does it take to get a settlement in a personal injury case? Well, that really depends. You’re in charge at the beginning because we can’t start negotiating anything until you’ve completed your medical treatment. If your injuries are very serious and you receive surgery or something significant, we need to wait until you recover from the surgery, you do your physical therapy, you get back to your pre-accident status, or you’ve reached maximum recovery, at which point we can make some sort of disability claim or permanent injury claim. So, when you’re done with your treatment, then we can start negotiating the case. So from there, it shouldn’t take long, but that’s really going to vary for everybody. Some people might be done with their treatment by the time they hire us. Some people might need treatment for another two years. So once you’re done with treatment though, our office is really good. By that time we’ve got all the documentation related to your case except maybe your final medical records, because you just finished. We’ll grab those, and then we get the demand letter out. That should only take us a couple weeks, but then we put a deadline on the demand of two weeks for the insurance company to respond. They oftentimes will ask for an extension, which is okay. We used to give them a month, now we only give them two weeks because they are going to ask for a month. They used to always ask for more than two. We give them a few weeks, and then we start the back and forth negotiations.   Now this can go on for a couple of weeks, this can go on for a couple of months or we may reach a point where we aren’t even able to settle and we have to go into litigation. But if we can settle, this could happen in the matter of a few months. After you’re done with your medical treatment, a few months. Then we’ll negotiate with your medical providers and do that sort of stuff and that can take another month or so. Usually once we reach a settlement, it’s maybe about 30 days until you can get your settlement check. So, it’s not that long. The process is a lot quicker than many people think. However, we do occasionally have cases that take a few years, but that’s, like I said, very complicated medical issues or very complicated liability issues. But for a straightforward personal injury case, our office averages about 10 months. It’s not too long.

Accident Client

If you’re someone who is considering an attorney for a personal accident, I highly recommend Sally Morin and her professional staff of attorneys. If you would like to know more details, feel free to contact me via Yelp and I would be happy to share more details. While I use Yelp quite often, I rarely post reviews… unless I’m truly blown away by great service (or angry with horrible service). If there were a sixth star, I would certainly give it to Rebecca and Sally!

We're here to help with your Personal Injury claim

Check out our Personal Injury FAQ Page to learn more about how the process works.

We Handle Your Personal Injury Accident Claim So You Can Focus on Your Life

After an injury, contact the attorneys at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers. We handle many areas of the law, including pedestrian and car accidents that involve speeding. We believe you should be able to focus on recovering while we handle the legal details.

We truly care about the people of San Jose and all of California. Contact us today for a
free online case evaluation.


It is essential to know your rights after a traffic accident so you can protect yourself and the value of your claim.
This guide will help you:

  • 1Know what to do when dealing with insurance claims, police reports and lawyers.
  • 2Avoid making mistakes that undermine the value of your claim
  • 3Put yourself in a position to get the best settlement possible