Firouzbakht Law Firm | Colorado Personal Injury Law Firm
Firouzbakth Law Firm Logo

How Long Does It Take To Settle A Personal Injury Claim?


Personal injury claims can take some time to conclude. There's no real value for how long it will take to settle a personal injury claim. Some cases may run as little as four to eight months, while others may take years to come to a conclusion. Injuries come in many formats, from a car accident to medical malpractice. Cornell Law School notes that personal injury happens to a person's mind, emotions, or body, not to their property.

Settling a personal injury claim can take quite some time, especially if the matter goes to trial. In many cases, insurance companies involved with personal injury cases don't let them get that far. Resolution happens early and out of court. However, if the insurance company believes it can win in court, it will seek the judge or jury's decision.

How Long Will It Take To Settle A Personal Injury Claim

Immediately after injuries, the injured person should seek medical help. Seeking medical help is of the utmost importance, even from a legal standpoint, because it shows that the injuries were severe enough so that the victim needed care. The consideration may impact how the court sees the victim's state and whether they could function independently of the medical care.

A lawyer signs a document in a Denver lawfirm

After seeking medical care for their injuries, the victim usually seeks out a legal professional's help to advance their claim. A personal injury lawyer can advise you whether you can seek compensation for lost labor, pain and suffering, and other damages. They can set out to submit a personal injury lawsuit on your behalf.

The personal injury attorney is likely to ask for your medical records as a part of their investigation. They will also interview you to establish the facts from your perspective. During the interview, you should try to recall every detail to give your lawyer a clearer picture of what they're dealing with. Your lawyer may also ask for any medical bills dealing with the case, as well as police records. Collecting and aggregating this information may take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, depending on how easy it is to get hold of them.

Once personal injury lawyers have all the information, they can draft a demand letter and send it off. No lawyer will send off a demand until their client has reached a point of "Maximum Medical Improvement" (MMI). The American Medical Association (AMA) has guidelines to help lawyers determine when their clients have reached MMI. MMI is achieved when the patient has recovered as much as is possible under the current level of medical care. If the client isn't at the level of MMI once the trial gets underway, the jury may undervalue the case. If there isn't any agreement after the settlement discussions, the case enters litigation.

The lawyer files a lawsuit, and the pre-trial and discovery phases of the matter commence. At the end of the pre-trial, mediation and negotiation are revisited, and the parties have another chance to settle. If no resolution is reached, the matter goes to trial, which may last several weeks to months.

Main Reasons for Personal Injury Claims Being Drawn Out

As we can see from the trial timeline, the case may take some time to come to court if there isn't any equitable resolution. Lawyers won't settle for less than they think their clients deserve. If the case is against an insurance company, they may want to settle as soon as possible if they believe the value is less than they'll pay in court. However, in addition to the time taken through the regular litigation procedure, complications can arise, leading to an extended period for the matter remaining unsettled.

Problematic Issues

The American Bar Association mentions that if someone breaches reasonable care, and you are injured as a result, a personal injury suit allows you to recoup your losses. A personal injury case, therefore, is driven by liability and damages awarded to the injured party. Liability isn't always easy to prove. An insurance adjuster is not likely to offer a reasonable settlement to the plaintiff unless they have reason to believe that the plaintiff will fight for their rights.

Insurance attempts to minimize the payout as much as possible, and settling out of court for less helps their bottom line. The other side of the equation is also a point of contention. If the damages that the defendant offers is lower than what your lawyer believes you are entitled to, the matter may have to go to trial to come to a decision. Insurance companies are notorious for offering these lowball figures. As a result, taking the insurance company to court might be the best option for a fair resolution. These trials aren't resolved overnight.

Maximum Medical Improvement Not Achieved

We've mentioned MMI before, but it may also be a reason for a personal injury case not being resolved as quickly as it should. If you are still receiving medical treatment, your lawyer may avoid taking the matter to trial. You shouldn't settle a personal injury case until and unless you've managed to get to the point of maximum medical improvement. Your lawyer will only be sure of the full extent of your injuries and their impact on your life when you achieve MMI.

Substantial Monetary Awards Involved In The Case

The size of the settlement may also impact the length of trials. Insurance companies are against paying a massive amount of money in compensation. Typically, these insurance companies undertake full due diligence on a case to ensure that the damages awarded are worth what they're paying. An insurance company will determine whether they can defend against your claims if your injuries are as severe as you make them out to be and if you are a credible and sound witness to the events..

Insurance companies try to offer settlements that they believe the other party will accept. This includes offering settlements way below the estimated value that the insurance may have for the accident.

Settling for Less Because of Time

An hour glass sits on a lawyers desk in Denver

Sometimes the time that trials take is just too long for the client to wait. In such a case, they may decide to "settle short." This term simply means that you agree to less of a settlement than you're entitled to, just to save on time. If you may have bills coming due and the settlement will take far too much time to complete, settling early may be your only recourse. There is a precedent for short resolution, although there's no average amount that you'd be able to settle for. Your short settlement may be as little as thirty to forty percent of the total value.

There's No Such Thing as an Average

One of the constants in personal injury settlements is the understanding that there's no such thing as an average settlement value. Concluding cases can vary in value as much as they do in the time taken to complete them. When determining settlements, courts usually look at the defendant's assets, the damages inflicted on the plaintiff, and the level of liability involved. Depending on these individual elements' weight, a final settlement is determined that the court deems equitable as compensation.

Consult a Professional For an Estimate on Time and Cost

Expert personal liability lawyers spend years understanding how courts see these critical elements of a case. They can usually advise you whether your case is worth something or if you'd be better off letting the matter go. Additionally, their experience in settlements can help you figure out how much you should be expecting from your case. They may be able to give you an estimate on the cost and the time your settlement will take, but even then, it's just an educated guess.

Coming up with a final figure for the amount of time you'll spend in a personal injury case is difficult because of all the factors associated with the liability and the damages. Understanding this will help you appreciate why it's nearly impossible to accurately predict how long a case will take and what settlement you can expect at the close of it..

Free Case Review
crossmenu linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram