If you have suffered a serious injury in an accident, it has likely taken a heavy financial toll on you and your family. Many victims face skyrocketing medical bills and may find themselves struggling to pay them after missing work due to their injury. You may feel a lot of anxiety and stress and may be impatiently awaiting the end of your personal injury case when you can hopefully put it all behind you. But how long does a personal injury case take? Unfortunately, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to this question. A case can take anywhere from a few months to a few years to settle. It all depends upon the details of your case, your healing process, and other factors.
What Are the Steps to a Personal Injury Case?
Understanding the process of a personal injury case can help you grasp where you are in the timeline of your claim and how much longer it may take. Your lawyer should also give you frequent updates, so you know where you stand. Every case is different, but they mostly follow the same general steps:
- Get a medical evaluation: Get medical attention as soon as possible after your accident to protect your well-being and officially record your injuries and the treatment they will require.
- Enlist legal representation: Schedule a meeting with a lawyer to understand the value of your claim and get advice on your next steps. Your lawyer can begin dealing with the insurance company so you can focus on your healing.
- Negotiate with the insurance: Your lawyer will act as your representative for negotiating a settlement with the insurance company. Their goal is to get you the maximum compensation for your injuries. It can take time, but the majority of cases end here.
- File a lawsuit: If you cannot come to an agreeable settlement with the insurance, your lawyer will file a lawsuit with the civil court to seek damages. Depending on the location and complexity of the case, it may take one to two years from the time of filing to when the trial occurs. During this time, pre-trial steps such as discovery and mediation will happen, and a settlement may be reached.
- Go to trial: The trial itself may last anywhere from a day to a month. Once a verdict is reached, your case will be over unless there are appeals.
It is important to remember that not every case will involve all of these steps. Over 95% of cases are settled before they ever get to trial, significantly shortening the timeline.
What Factors Can Influence the Length of Your Case?
Your lawyers will always try to bring your case to a satisfactory conclusion as soon as possible, but any case can hit a roadblock that may cause it to take longer than expected. Some of the common reasons why cases take longer to complete include:
- Waiting for maximum medical improvement: If you have been severely injured, you want to avoid settling until you are done with your medical treatment or have an official estimate of your future medical costs.
- Encountering legal issues: Sometimes, legal challenges require your lawyers to investigate further and gather more evidence to support your claim.
- Negotiating a large claim: Insurance companies are for-profit businesses and want to limit their losses as much as possible, so securing a large settlement can take a lot of skillful negotiation and time.
Why Consult a Lawyer?
An experienced personal injury lawyer can look at the details of your case and give you a better understanding of the merits and challenges of your claim and how long it may take to litigate. They will work to understand your situation and needs. Their goal is to get you the compensation you deserve in the shortest amount of time. However, if you are in an emergency situation and need to settle immediately, they can explain your options for closing your case quickly, such as a short settlement. Whatever your situation, a lawyer can helpfully answer all your personal injury claim questions. Call today to learn more: 305-692-0125