The length of time it takes to settle a personal injury case can vary widely. Factors that can affect the length of time include the complexity of the case, the amount of damages or compensation sought, the willingness of the parties to negotiate, and the availability of insurance coverage or other sources of funds to pay a settlement.
Some personal injury cases may be resolved relatively quickly, possibly within a few months, while others may take much longer, potentially even years.
Generally speaking, a routine accident case will take around 3-6 months to resolve with 80% of that time devoted to the medical attention phase (see below). However, your case may take longer if your doctor recommends that you need to treat it for a longer period of time.
Without knowing the specifics of your particular case it's impossible to predict how long it will take to settle. This is why you should get a free consultation with a lawyer.
The 3 Phases of Most Personal Injury Cases
Wrongful death cases will typically start at the demand phase, and the litigation phase will begin rapidly. In other words, wrongful death cases pick up a lot of momentum very early on in the process and are generally resolved in 6 months to a year.
In regard to personal injury cases, every case is different, but almost every case goes through three distinct phases:
- The Medical Attention Phase
- The Demand Phase
- The Litigation Phase
Medical Attention Phase
The medical attention phase is generally the longest phase of your case. During this phase we will conduct all of the investigative work, coordinate with your doctors, and make contact with the defendants, their attorneys, and their insurance company. You simply need to focus on following your physician’s advice. We usually do not move onto the next phase of a case until you are back on your feet, or until your physician has developed a solid prognosis regarding your future medical needs.
The demand phase moves rather quickly. Our attorneys calculate all of your damages (lost wages, pain and suffering, medical expenses, etc.) and put together a demand packet which is then sent to the defendant. The initial rounds of negotiation will begin. This phase can take as little as a couple of weeks. Unfortunately, large insurance companies move at a snail’s pace, and there can often be a delay of a couple of months where the insurance company is simply passing your file around their various departments. This is an issue from time to time, but usually, this phase moves quickly.
The litigation phase can be non existent or it could take a tremendous amount of time. This is entirely proportionate to the specifics of your case. In a case where you are clearly not at fault, this portion of the case will generally move quickly. If we are required to prove the other party’s fault, or if you have said or done anything to complicate your case before our firm got involved there may be months of negotiation or additional work to “prove up” your case. In other words, this phase will move fast or slow depending upon the level of opposition from the defendants. If the case goes to trial, we are at the mercy of the court system which is generally backed up in most counties.
There are additional circumstances that may make your case move faster or slower, but generally speaking, a routine accident case will take around 3-6 months to resolve with 80% of that time devoted to the medical attention phase. However, your case may take longer if your doctor recommends that you need to treat for a longer period of time.