How Long Does a Personal Injury Lawsuit Take to Settle?Posted In: Personal Injury
Many of our clients come to us with personal injury lawsuit claims, seeking the answer to this all-important question. Unfortunately, we can’t give a magic answer because one can take months to three years or more to settle. Each case is complicated, and many factors must be considered so that we can get you the maximum amount possible — which we’re sure you want and know you deserve, too.
Personal injury cases can be expensive. You might need immediate care for your injuries, which might be unaffordable. By law, you have the right to file a claim against the person(s) who caused your injuries. It’s worth pursuing because your injury can have a lifelong effect. In fact, the National Safety Council (NSC) states that over 4.6 million people were injured in accident-related incidents in 2017, which caused these kinds of losses. In addition, the NSC estimates that costs associated with personal injury deaths, injuries and property damage was $412.8 billion.
That’s why you need a personal injury lawyer like ours to help you seek the right compensation you deserve. Some personal injury claims can be negotiated and settled without the need for a trial, but some might be serious enough to warrant a court determination. Without an excellent personal attorney lawyer, you won’t know where you stand in the settlement process and how to get the best award you’re entitled to. Still, we know you’re eager to settle. However, sometimes, these take time.
Three Reasons a Personal Injury Claim Can Take a Long Time to Settle
Some important factors make settling a personal injury claim quickly impossible. They are:
- Legal or factual problems with the case
- The case involves a large sum of money
- Your medical problems have not reached their maximum improvement
When your case involves these issues, you’re looking at a long time to settle — unless you are willing to settle for far less than you expect. If so, you’re in luck- that’s what the insurance companies are hoping for.
Problems with the Case
Two factors exist in personal injury cases where problems might arise: judging liability (who was at fault) and damages (how severely you were hurt).
If liability is an issue, like in defective product cases, then the defendant likely won’t make a reasonable settlement offer until the plaintiff’s lawyer has hired liability experts to prove that the defendant caused the damages.
Similarly, if legal issues exist with the case (i.e., the insurer thinks you have no legal right to sue), then the insurer probably will not make you any significant offer until a judge has ruled that you have the right to sue.
As for damages, the treating physicians might not be certain the defendant’s negligence caused the plaintiff’s injury, for example. You always have the burden to prove that the defendant’s negligence caused your injuries. If your doctors are unsure about this, then the insurer will not offer a reasonable settlement until your lawyer provides a doctor who will testify that the defendant’s fault caused your injuries.
The Case Involves a Large Sum of Money
If you are seeking a lot of money in your settlement, expect a long delay. Insurers won’t pay these kinds of claims without doing due diligence on them. Here, they inspect every element of the claim and won’t settle until convinced that:
- They lack a solid defense
- Your injuries are as severe as you claim
- Your credibility isn’t discreditable
Thus, these claims take longer. However, sometimes the defendant knows you want a settlement and will try to get you to give up and settle earlier for less money. Because most severely injured people desperately need the claim money, the defendant often gets away with this tactic. That’s why you should have a good lawyer like us on your side, in case you can’t wait for your settlement. We’ll work hard to maximize your amount.
You Still Haven’t Reached Maximum Medical Improvement
You shouldn’t settle a claim if you are still being treated for your injuries because you still don’t know their extent. You should wait until reach the Maximal Medical Improvement (MMI) from your injuries; otherwise, you won’t know if your damages are permanent or not. This will also help you and your lawyer value your injuries. Again, though, this is up to you. If you want to settle sooner, you can. Just realize that you might lose a lot of money — and medial misfortune — if you do.
If you absolutely want to settle your claim early, you have every right. Realize, however, that you will be losing out on what could be a lot of compensation. How much should you settle for?
Just like no time frames for settling personal injury claims exist, no right answer to the above question exists, either. It all depends on your case and what you’re willing to take. Sometimes, you might get an offer for 30-35% of what you might get at trial. However, often, you might be offered 5-10% or even less of what the insurer might offer at trial. Be prepared for such settlements if you go for an early end to your case.
Always consult with your personal injury attorney before you accept any settlement. We at Eden Rafferty are here to help you get the best possible amount, no matter when you want it. Work with us and we’ll work hard for you.