Client’s often ask me, “how long will my personal injury case take?” The amount of time a case takes varies greatly because a number of factors play a role in determining it. Certain types of cases take longer than others.
For instance, a personal injury attorney can negotiate a settlement in a wrongful death case fairly quickly. However, if an attorney files a lawsuit in an accident case, that case can take years to resolve. Additionally, the individual client and the choices they make in their personal injury claim can affect how long a personal injury case takes.
Further, the insurance company involved in the accident claim can affect the amount of time an injury lawsuit or claim takes. Certain insurance companies are more fair than others when evaluating car accident or slip and fall claims.
Lastly, the personal injury lawyer a person hires can affect the amount of time a personal injury case takes. Many personal injury attorneys will wait a very long time before starting settlement negotiations with the insurance company. These types of law firms (often known as settlement mills) will also often accept the first settlement offer they receive.
When my clients ask how long their personal injury case will take, I tell them my goal is to settle their case within four to six months. However, a victim’s medical treatment and the insurance company can extend that timeline.
In the beginning of a personal injury case, the victim begins medical treatment while their personal injury attorney collects information about the case. The attorney will investigate the available insurance policies, the liability issues, and other pertinent factors about the accident and their client’s injury.
As the client is treating, or once the client is done treating (depending on how the personal injury lawyer prefers to do things), the attorney will send a demand package to the insurance company. This demand will start the beginning of settlement negotiations with the insurance company.
Negotiations and how long they take are another thing that will be determined by the urgency of the personal injury attorney involved. Occasionally, insurance companies will extend the amount of time it takes to negotiate a settlement by requesting additional information about the claimant or their injuries. Often, insurance companies will engage in pointless delay tactics simply to exert pressure on the claimant in the hopes of getting a better settlement.
It is important to remember that people are not robots. We all have lives outside of our personal injury cases. There will be times where something will happen to an injured victim that slows their treatment or their recovery. These instances are obviously outside of the lawyer and the client’s control. What is important to remember in these instances is to continue to focus on recovering from the injuries and pursuing the case.
Litigation Will Determine How Long My Personal Injury Case Takes
In some personal injury cases, there simply is no way to avoid the case going into litigation. The insurance company could have a liability dispute that they refuse to give in about. When that happens, it is necessary to litigate the case to allow a jury to determine which party was at-fault.
In other cases, the insurance company may not believe that the accident in question caused the victim’s injuries. In those situations, we file lawsuits to at least get the case to mediation and potentially to trial. Not every case in litigation goes to trial. However, it is important to have an attorney that knows how to litigate a case quickly and efficiently. That is the best way to elicit the best settlement possible.
However, once a case moves into litigation it is dealing with a much longer timeframe for settlement or resolution. Once your attorney files a lawsuit, the defense attorney might take months to answer it. The attorneys must also coordinate depositions and eventually mediation. Further, your attorney could have a hard time getting trial dates from the judge’s office.
Additionally, after mediation, if the case doesn’t settle, the pre-trial process begins and it can take several months. I advise clients that if we enter litigation, the case can take up to two years to get to trial. While this is not meant to deter clients from litigating their cases, it is important that they understand this reality.
Call Knapp Accident & Injury Law
If you were hurt in a car accident or slip and fall, call us today for a free consultation. Knapp Accident & Injury Law knows how to fight for fair compensation for your accident injury case. Whether via presuit negotiations with the insurance company, or in litigation, Knapp Accident & Injury Law will fight for you. No matter how long as it takes to get you the treatment you need and the compensation you deserve.