There is no specific time frame for how long a personal injury case “should” take to settle. Each case is different, so the time frame for settling can vary dramatically. Some cases settle in a few months, while others take multiple years.
The unique factors of your case will determine how long your settlement takes. Those circumstances will also dictate whether your personal injury case goes to trial.
Factors That Can Determine How Long a Personal Injury Case Takes to Settle
Some factors that could shorten or lengthen the timeline for settling your personal injury case include:
If a Settlement Is a Possibility
While most personal injury cases result in a settlement, as the American Bar Association (ABA) explains, some cases cannot settle. This is generally the case when liable parties:
- Refuse to negotiate because they don’t believe they owe the plaintiff compensation
- Refuse to offer a good-faith settlement offer that accurately reflects the plaintiff’s damages
For a fair settlement to emerge, both parties must willfully negotiate earnestly. Your case may be destined for trial if one side doesn’t negotiate. Going to trial may extend the time it takes to resolve your case.
How Long the Investigation Takes
The reason you are pursuing an injury case matters, as it could determine how long an investigation takes. For example, if you suffered injuries from a defect-related truck accident, it may take time to analyze the defect and obtain evidence from a trucking company.
The investigation is part of the settlement timeline. Therefore, the investigation’s length is a factor we must consider when projecting a case’s timeline.
How Serious Injuries and Damages Are
The presence of serious injuries can lengthen the timeline for settling because:
- As the National Safety Council (NSC) explains, more serious injuries generally require a larger financial recovery.
- Liable parties generally fight harder when the opposing side asks them to pay a larger sum.
- It may take longer to document and value serious injuries.
The more life-altering your injuries and costly your damages are, the longer settling may take. However, the wait is often worth it when significant compensation is at stake.
Whether Your Damages Continue to Mount
By the time some plaintiffs’ lawyers are ready to negotiate a settlement, the plaintiffs know:
- Every injury they have suffered
- The types of care they’ll need to recover
- How much their care will cost
- How long they’ll be out of work (and how much income they will lose)
Often, though, damages continue to mount even once a lawyer is ready to negotiate. An attorney may seek to delay negotiations to better understand the client’s damages. This can mean a longer timeline for settling the case.
Your Financial Circumstances
Some clients urgently need financial help, while others can afford to wait for a fair settlement. Your financial circumstances may affect whether you request your lawyer to settle the case as soon as possible or are willing to wait for the favorable settlement.
When Is the Right Time to Accept a Settlement Offer?
While each case is unique, you should generally only accept a settlement once you know it will cover your damages. Your attorney will develop a specific monetary amount to guide you as you consider the fair settlement.
Your attorney could also consider their fee when advising you on accepting a settlement. They will cover their expenses and labor through a percentage of your settlement. Therefore, you must be sure your final sum will cover medical care, lost income, and other damages you’ve suffered.
Personal injury attorneys consider their fee when:
- Negotiating a settlement
- Advising you on whether to accept a settlement
Remember that settling is not the only option in personal injury cases. If liable parties do not offer a fair sum even after long, drawn-out settlement negotiations, your personal injury lawyer may take your case to trial.
Damages a Personal Injury Settlement May Cover
Your attorney will evaluate your case and explain every damage they believe you’ve suffered, which may include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost income
- Diminished earning power
- Pain and suffering
- Treatment for psychological and emotional treatment
- Temporary transportation (in motor vehicle accident cases)
- Property damage
Personal injury lawyers also represent surviving victims of wrongful death. If you have lost a loved one, we first extend our deepest sympathies. Recoverable damages in wrongful death cases often include:
- Funeral and burial costs
- Lost companionship
- Lost parental guidance
- Lost household services
- Loss of the decedent’s income
Attorneys value their clients’ cases individually, knowing each case presents unique damages and details. Expect your attorney to deliberately assess your settlement’s potential value and ensure its accuracy. When an attorney enters settlement negotiations, they must be certain they’re fighting for the proper amount.
Should I Hire a Lawyer to Seek My Settlement for Me?
Many personal injury lawyers stay busy for several reasons, including the following:
- Victims of injuries and wrongful deaths often carry the burden of physical pain, emotional and psychological pain, and stress—difficulties that generally prevent them from leading a claim or lawsuit.
- Personal injury firms typically offer contingency fees, which require the client to pay zero up front for legal services.
- Personal injury lawyers often have valuable legal experience the client lacks.
- Personal injury firms often have case results that can prove their value to the client.
Furthermore, an attorney can help you manage any settlement you receive. As the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) explains, civil settlements have tax implications.
Call KJT Law Group Today for a Free Consultation About a Personal Injury Case
Our firm has negotiated and won many multimillion-dollar recoveries for our clients, who we consider family. Our team will review your case today, and we’re prepared to fight for the entire financial recovery you deserve. The KJT Law Group proudly services Los Angeles, and we’ll faithfully fight for you.
Call KJT Law Group today at (818) 507-8525 for a free consultation about your personal injury case.