How Long Will My Case Take?
Everyone is always anxious about their personal injury case, and the length of time to settlement is a particularly agonizing issue. While it is impossible to estimate exactly when a case will settle, you can probably expect that it will take at least multiple months, perhaps even much longer depending on the complexity and the parties involved. Every case is different, so it is impossible to estimate the time to settlement without knowing all the particulars, such as who the parties are, who their insurers are, the type and complexity of the case, the stakes, and severity of the injuries, etc. Will the case be one in which the insurance company acknowledges responsibility and offers to settle, or will they contest liability and force the case into the courts? Will there be a need for a private investigator to dig up facts and evidence? These are all important factors that will affect the timeline.
Severity of injuries is a key factor. Are the injuries minor, and the injured person is back to work in a few days? Or are the injuries severe, requiring surgery, physical rehabilitation, or possibly even lifelong care? Some medical treatment may need to be completed, with a doctor’s ‘okay’ that the injured patient is well again, before the claim or case can be settled. Because you wouldn’t want to settle before you have a full understanding of the relative costs for all your care. And again, if the injuries are such that you’ll need lifelong care, it may be some time before your doctors can make that assessment. You never want to settle and be compensated before you know how serious the financial damages will be. Lifelong care costs can be immense.
If a case goes to trial because the parties could not agree on liability or a pre-suit settlement, litigation over these matters can take months, or even years if the case is involved or there is a lot of money at stake. It is, of course, great for the injured party to be able to settle out of court in a reasonable time limit, but if you’ve been injured, and your injuries are severe, it is never a good idea to take a quick settlement. If the at-fault party or their insurer is unwilling to cover your injuries sufficiently, you’ll need to take them to court and sue for damages. If they caused your injuries, then they must pay. Medical expenses and care are costly and the financial damages could be quite large, so it is imperative to get the compensation you deserve, whether that is through an easy, out of court settlement or a more protracted jury trial.
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