If you’ve suffered from a personal injury caused by another person’s negligence or deliberate wrongdoing, you may wonder how long it will take to recover a lawsuit settlement that will pay for your medical expenses and other losses. The truth is that every personal injury case is different, and the amount of time it will take will depend on various factors that you’ll learn about on this page.
Often, the personal injury process is long and complex, especially if the negligent party’s insurance company or legal team argues that their client isn’t liable for damages. Because the settlement process is confusing and challenging, it’s best to hire a personal injury attorney who can help you recover the most compensation possible for your injuries.
A personal injury attorney can also give you a rough estimate of the duration of your settlement process. Of course, lawyers can’t see the future, so their estimates will not be exact. But if they are experienced, they will likely be able to roughly gauge the amount of time it will take to build your case and settle in or out of court.
Here’s what you need to know about the personal injury lawsuit settlement process and the factors that will impact your case.
Average Length of a Personal Injury Case
Technically, the average duration of a personal injury case is between 12 and 14 months, but as mentioned before, every personal injury case is different. Some cases may be as short as a few weeks while others can draw out for years.
For example, if a victim suffers from a car accident due to another driver running a red light, it will be challenging for the at-fault driver’s insurance company to dispute liability. If the insurance company knows that there’s ample evidence against their client and they won’t be able to dispute fault, they’re far more likely to settle. The case may be resolved more quickly than if there’s a liability dispute.
One critical note is that a California personal injury victim has two years from the date of their accident to file a personal injury claim or lawsuit against the at-fault party. It often takes time to build these cases, so you should get in touch with a California personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
What Factors Will Impact the Length of My Personal Injury Lawsuit?
The length of your personal injury claim process will depend on:
- The Severity of Your Injuries: You should avoid filing a lawsuit before knowing the full extent of your injuries. It’s best for personal injury victims to wait until they’ve made a full recovery or until they’ve reached their maximum medical improvement, meaning they’re not expected to improve in the next year.
- The Type of Accident: Some types of accidents are more complicated than others, potentially prolonging the duration of a lawsuit process. For example, a car accident usually takes far less time than medical malpractice, product liability, and other types of accidents.
- The Complexity of the Case: Many personal injury cases are relatively straightforward, but some require more time to gather evidence and build an airtight claim. For example, if an insurance company claims their client isn’t exclusively responsible for a crash, you’ll need to supply ample evidence debunking their allegation.
- Whether the Case Goes to Trial: Your personal injury attorney may be able to work with the defendant’s legal team or insurance company to settle the case outside of court, but if you can’t reach an agreement, you’ll need to go to trial.
Understanding the Car Accident Settlement Timeline
Again, it’s best to wait until you recover from your injuries or reach your maximum medical improvement before initiating the settlement process, but you can still work with a personal injury attorney to build your case.
During this time, it’s helpful to consider how the injuries have impacted your life, as you may be able to recover damages outside of medical bills. If the injury impacts your ability to work and enjoy life, you may be able to recover damages for lost wages, loss of future earnings, and pain and suffering. You can learn more about what damages you may be able to recover by contacting the Sally Morin legal team.
Once you and your attorney determine what damages to seek, your legal representative will send an official demand letter to the defendant via email, phone call, or letter. The demand letter should include:
- Details about the accident
- Why the defendant is at fault
- The damages you suffered as a direct result of the accident
- A statement declaring that you’re willing to go to civil court if you don’t receive just compensation
From there, you wait for the defendant’s response. They or their insurance company will more than likely send back a counteroffer for your damages. You then enter the mediation process in an attempt to settle outside of court.
If the parties can’t reach a resolution, you’ll then go to trial where your lawyer will present evidence of your claim before a judge or jury. The court will likely require settlement negotiations to continue, but if you still can’t reach an agreement, the judge or jury will decide how much compensation you’ll receive for your injuries.
Although it’s certainly possible that a court ruling will determine the outcome of your personal injury case, only 3% of personal injury cases are resolved in court according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.
Contact an Experienced California Personal Injury Attorney
You technically don’t need an attorney to go through the personal injury lawsuit settlement process, but hiring a skilled legal team will help you maximize your compensation. Much of the personal injury claim process is negotiating with the at-fault party or their insurance company, and personal injury lawyers are experts at negotiating higher settlements.
If you were injured in California, contact the exceptional personal injury attorneys at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers at 877-380-8852 or online for your free case evaluation.