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How Long Does An Injury Lawsuit Take

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How Long Does It Take To Settle A Personal Injury Claim

How Long Will My Personal Injury Settlement Take?

When you have sustained serious injuries due to the negligence of another party, one of the first things you may wonder is the average time to settle a personal injury case. Although New York is a claims, you have the right to file a lawsuit against the responsible party if you meet the definition of serious injury.

Its also important to understand that New York imposes a three-year time limit starting with the date of your injury for filing a lawsuit. While you should take prompt action on your case due to the car accident it can still be difficult to determine how long it will take to prepare and argue your case as well as how long you will wait for a settlement check.

The attorneys at work diligently to receive maximum compensation in the shortest time period. With many variables involved, the best option to understanding how long it may take to settle a personal injury claim is to speak with an attorney about your specific situation and the parties involved, however, knowing the basic process of a personal injury claim can help you set proper timing expectations.

Reaching Maximum Medical Improvement

Most personal injury attorneys wait to establish a claims value until the claimant reaches maximum medical improvement. This point is when the claimants physician determines that the claimant has reached the maximum amount of recovery for their injury, even if treatment continues.

The reason attorneys wait until this point to value a claim is because it represents the time when a doctor can accurately determine the permanent effects of the injury. This indicator allows the attorney to determine how much compensation the victim needs to cover past and future medical expenses.

What Is The Approximate Amount Of Time To Settle An Auto Accident Insurance Claim

Shortly following a car accident , an injured party should file a car accident claim with the insurance company of the at-fault driver/negligent driver.

Once a claim is filed, it usually takes a few months for the injury victim and the insurance adjuster to agree on a settlement offer. In cases involving serious injuries and complex facts, it may take over a year to reach a settlement agreement.

Note that there are two parts to the claim/settlement process that play a large role in affecting the time it takes to settle a claim.

The first involves medical treatment/medical records. Settlement negotiations typically cannot take place until the accident victim has completed his/her medical treatment or reached Maximum Medical Improvement . Injury victims reach MMI when their primary doctors decide their medical condition is stable and will not improve with further treatment.1

Cases, then, will take longer to settle if they involve serious injuries where a victim requires an extensive amount of medical treatment.

The second part of the claim process that affects settlement time involves demand letters. A demand letter is a document that an injury victim, or his/her personal injury attorney, sends to the insurance company. The letter represents an attempt to settle the claim and sets forth what the claimant believes is a reasonable settlement amount.

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How Much Can I Get For My Personal Injury Case And How Long Will It Take

You may be thinking of filing a personal injury claim after being hurt in a car accident, a slip-and-fall, or another incident caused by someone else’s carelessness. If so, you probably have lots of questions: What are my chances of getting fair compensation for my medical bills and other losses? Is it better to hire a lawyer, or can I handle it on my own? Is there anything I can do to increase my chances of success? How long will the process take?

To help get answers to these and other pressing questions, we surveyed our readers across the United States and asked about their recent experiences with personal injury claims. Here’s what we learned.

What Are The Steps In A Personal Injury Claim Or Lawsuit

How Long Does a Personal Injury Lawsuit Take?

A personal injury claim is a common label for what is really a lawsuit for negligence through the civil courts. The stages and procedure for these cases have been developed over the centuries in the English common law courts. The precise procedures are detailed in the rules of court or civil procedure rules for the province where the claim is filed. The stages of a case in the civil courts are filing pleadings, providing document disclosure, having discovery hearings, filing reports from expert witnesses, requesting trial dates, and trial.

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The Legal And Factual Matters Of The Case

First, attorneys begin by determining who is liable for the accident. In cases where liability is difficult to decide on, the defendants insurance will offer a low settlement. This also prolongs the process of arriving at the settlement amount. A doctors testimony may also be necessary. In such cases, the doctor may be asked to estimate how much of the defendants carelessness caused your injury, which is used to determine a reasonable personal injury settlement offer.

Quick Settlement Vs Litigation Or Trial In Personal Injury Cases

Nobody wants to spend a long time waiting for his or her personal injury case to end. But its often worth the wait. Sometimes, a quick settlement is also a cheap settlement.

Be careful of any lawyer who promises a quick settlement. One thing you dont want is to end up with a law firm that handles hundreds or thousand of cases at a time, and to whom youre just a number. Many such firms settle their cases fast, even if they dont get much money for their clients, and then move on to the next case. If youve been hurt, you should hire a personal injury lawyer who will take the time to analyze your case and do whats best for youeven if that means that the law firm has to work harder and longer before collecting money for you and for itself.

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How Long Does A Personal Injury Lawsuit Take To Settle After A Car Accident

To get your personal injury lawsuit to trial, it can take anywhere from a year to multiple years, depending on the complexity of your case and a host of other factors. Most cases, however, typically settle out of court. When you might be able to settle your personal injury case will again depend on a host of factors, the most significant being your treatment. A lawyer will need to know your treatment plan before he or she is able to fully evaluate and provide advice. As such, there is no straightforward answer to how long personal injury settlements take because each accident and injury is unique. With that said, most personal injury claims that settle typically take several months to a year to resolve.

Determining The Length Of A Personal Injury Case

How long does it take for Personal Injury Case to Settle?

If you suffered an injury, you are probably racking up bills and expenses faster than you would like. From medical bills to time away from work, dealing with an injury can be incredibly expensive, stressful, and taxing on a household. You must understand the timeline of a personal injury lawsuit so that you can plan your finances appropriately while you wait to receive compensation.

Read on to understand the different stages of a personal injury lawsuit and how the timeline could influence your strategy around the settlement.

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How Long Does It Typically Take Before A Case Settles Or Goes To Trial

One of the biggest questions people have when deciding whether its worthwhile to pursue a personal injury claim is simply:

How long will my lawsuit take?

This question often comes up when it seems like everything is moving at a snails pace and the medical bills are piling up.

Unfortunately, theres no easy answer because there are a number of factors that can affect the length of litigation. But weve done our best to provide you with a brief overview of litigation, including the average time each step takes and the factors that might speed up or slow down the process.

How Long Will My Injury Claim Take?
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Personal Injury Trial Period

While many claims may reach a fair settlement through mediation, our attorneys prepare every claim as if it will be taken to trial. Our lawyers are prepared to aggressively represent your interests to a jury of six of your peers. If a fair settlement can’t be reached during mediation your personal injury case will go proceed to court. A personal injury trial is then scheduled based on the court’s availability, depending on many variables, such as the where your case is venued, the litigation reputation of the defendant, or volume of existing court cases, a trial may be scheduled out as far as one to two years in the future.

During the trial, your attorney and the attorney representing the other party will each present evidence that proves or denies who is responsible for causing the accident that injured you. Besides the three-year statute of limitations in New York, its crucial to understand that it follows a pure comparative negligence rule when it comes to personal injury claims.

Pure comparative negligence means that the jury will reduce your financial compensation by the percentage of fault that it assigns to you. For example, if the jury decides that the other party is only 75 percent to blame for causing your injuries, it would deduct 25 percent from the amount you receive in your winning lawsuit.

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What Is A Fair Settlement Amount

The amount of a fair settlement will largely depend on the facts of a case.

In general, though, any settlement should compensate a victim for the following:

  • medical bills,
  • out-of-pocket expenses, and
  • pain and suffering.

Settlements are typically not fair if an insurer purposefully leaves out payment for one or more of these categories of damages.

Further, settlements are very rarely fair if an adjuster tries to coerce or pressure a claimant into accepting the settlement offer.

Note that once a claimant finally settles a case, it may take up to six to eight weeks for the party to receive his/her settlement check. This is because the injury victim has to sign a release form . It takes some time for the insurer to process the form and then issue the settlement proceeds.

Collecting Your Settlement Or Award

How Long Does it Take to Get A Personal Injury Settlement Check

Once your claim resolves through either a negotiated settlement or a court decision, it will take about six weeks for you to receive the compensation. If your claim settles, you must sign a release waiving any future, related claims against the at-fault party and their insurance provider.

The insurance company will process the payment before sending it directly to your attorney. Because your attorney uses the contingent fee billing method, they arent paid for their services until they receive your compensation.

The attorney deducts the monetary value of their services as a percentage of your award and deducts payment for liens placed on your settlement by healthcare providers or group insurance providers as outlined in your contingent fee agreement.

After the attorneys payment and liens are satisfied, you will meet with your attorney to finalize the case and receive your compensation.

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If You Later Negotiate A Settlement Amount

Even if you do not reach a settlement early on in the process, it is still possible to negotiate a favorable outcome using an attorney during the mediation and/or discovery phase. These phases can last anywhere from a couple of months in smaller cases where liability is clear, all the way up to a year or more in more complex cases.

Usually, complex cases involve major accidents that caused severe injuries, the need to hire expert witnesses and having to name multiple parties in the lawsuit.

As an example, if a drunk driver were to cause a head-on collision, it is usually clear that he or she is entirely liable for the accident and the drivers insurance company should be responsible for paying the damages.

However, there are more complicated cases such as an elevator accident, as an example, wherein the injuries may be more severe and it may take time and further investigation to prove liability. Was it a faulty elevator part from the manufacturer that caused the accident? Is the property owner at fault? Is the maintenance company at fault? The company who installed the elevators?

It is important to note that a good injury attorney should name all parties that could be deemed liable in a potential lawsuit. In any case, complexities such as these make it difficult to give an exact timeframe as to when your case might be settled and typically also take more time.

Your Lawyer Begins Investigating

After you have hired your lawyer, he or she will begin putting your case together. This includes:

  • Interviewing you about the accident and any pertinent or relevant information
  • Obtaining any police reports or other similar evidence
  • Contacting witnesses and gathering statements
  • Conducting any on-site investigation and collecting photographs or video footage
  • Reviewing all medical records and bills relating to the accident

This step can take months. Generally, your lawyer will wait to move forward at this point until you have reached maximum medical improvement or MMI. MMI means you have finished all medical treatment and have recovered as much as possible. Achieving MMI also gives you a clearer picture of how much it cost to recover. This is an important step. While some injured parties can grow impatient, rushing the resolution of the claim often results in a lower compensation amount and may leave you with bills to repay that normally would be paid by someone else, i.e. auto or health insurance.

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Timing Is Determined By A Host Of Factors Including:

How complex your case is:

For example, Slip and Fall cases are simple, straightforward cases to navigate. Medical malpractice suits on the other hand, are much more complex and could take much longer to reach conclusion.

The amount of damages incurred:

Less damage equals reduced repair costs and reduced need for extensive medical care. Thats why cases with damages totaling $1,000 settle much faster than those totaling $1,000,000.

How severe your injuries are:

If youve sustained a mild injury such as a sprained ankle, your case will settle much faster. However, in more extreme cases the injury could be more severe, such as a brain injury or even death. The latter could take years to reach a conclusion and settlement.

How many cases are currently open in your jurisdiction:

If the courts in your jurisdiction are overwhelmed with cases, it may take a while for your case to be heard. Court dates can be adjusted at any time.

For this reason, Glofin has mined its data and below you will find the average amount of time that a personal injury lawsuit will take based on your estimated value of your claim. We do not believe this data can be found in any other place since most lawsuit settlements are confidential.

Approximate Personal Injury Case Value Approximate Time Lawsuit will Take

$1,000 $10,000 273 Days

$10,001 $20,000 296 Days

$20,001 $50,000 424 Days

$50,001 $100,000 571 Days

$100,001 $250,000 693 Days

$250,000 $1,000,000 1,048 Days

$1,000,001 ++++ 1,118 Days

The Advantage Of Legal Representation

How long does my personal injury lawsuit take

Our survey showed that hiring a personal injury lawyer is the most important step you can take to increase your chances of getting compensation for your harm. More than nine out of ten readers who had legal representation received a settlement or award, compared to about half of those who proceeded on their own.

Legal representation also made a big different in the amount of personal injury payouts. Readers who hired a lawyer walked away with an average of $77,600 in compensation, compared to an average of $17,600 for those who handled their own injury claims.

When we combine the survey results on compensation and attorneys’ fees, it’s clear that readers who hired lawyers still came out far ahead.

After deducting the average 32% contingency fee reported by our readers, they ended up with net payouts that were nearly three times higher, on average, than what unrepresented readers received. These results aren’t surprising. Lawyers know what it takes to build a solid personal injury claim, gather evidence, and deal with insurance adjusters. Learn more about when you need a personal injury lawyer and how to find the best personal injury lawyer for you and your case.

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