An injury, whether intentionally caused or resulting from an accident, will disrupt all aspects of your life. It’s only fair that you seek compensation for your injuries as quickly as possible. That said, you may be wondering, “How long does it really take to settle a personal injury lawsuit?”
The answer is different for every case. It can take anywhere from a few weeks to a couple of years for some cases to be settled. Explore the four most significant factors of a lawsuit that could extend its resolution.
4 Reasons Your Personal Injury Lawsuit May Take Longer
If you’re already in the middle of a lawsuit or are considering a personal injury consultation, it’s important to be realistic about your expectations. Know that certain factors will affect the length of the case and should be a focal point of your attorney’s investigation.
If you haven’t yet completed medical treatment or are experiencing complications, most likely, your case will not be resolved until the full extent of your injuries is determined. Because the severity of your illnesses or injuries is heavily weighted when determining appropriate compensation, it is in your best interest to wait until you are medically cleared and stable. Your legal team will need additional time to gather new evidence or medical records related to your claim.
The size of your damage claim, which may include medical bills, lost wages, or debt incurred due to living expenses, will affect the length of time it takes to settle your case. If you’re not planning to go to trial and prefer to settle, it will take longer for your legal team, the defense, and the insurer to reach an agreement and resolution. Larger damage claims that far exceed the limits of an insurance policy will experience greater delays.
Evidence or Factual Issues
When there is conflicting evidence, unreliable witnesses, or inconsistent testimonies, your case will take longer to resolve. This is one reason personal injury attorneys recommend seeking legal counsel as soon as possible after an accident or injury. The quicker your team can gather information and interview witnesses, the stronger your case will be, making it more difficult to defend.
The process of determining fault isn’t always cut and dry. In a car accident case, a police report may be enough to determine who is at fault if there was a violation of the California Vehicle Code. But otherwise, determining the at-fault party can be tricky. For example, a medical malpractice lawsuit involves an in-depth review of a client’s medical treatment history and, if the injured has multiple practitioners or has undergone multiple procedures, it can be near impossible to determine which provider is at-fault. Similarly, a dog bite accident that involves an unleashed dog in the owner’s yard and an uninvited guest, such as a solicitor, makes it very difficult to prove who is at fault.
Quick vs. Fair: Can You Rush a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
Ask any lawyer whether it’s better to rush a case or wait for the best possible outcome, and most likely, they’re going to say it’s best to wait. It is sometimes possible to speed up the settlement process and avoid going to trial by taking what is called a short settlement. In exchange for rapidly resolving the lawsuit, a short settlement typically offers a fraction of what you might have received had you waited.
Furthermore, even if quick cash would be a welcome relief, the amount awarded may not be fair when compared to the extent of your injury or disability. This is where an experienced personal injury attorney is invaluable as they will help ensure your case is settled with fair compensation for your injuries.
This isn’t to say that it is impossible to speed up a case, though. There are a few important things you should do to make sure your case is resolved as quickly as possible, including:
- Respond to all court and lawyer requests in a timely manner
- Retain and provide all available evidence, documentation, and estimated lost wages to your attorney
- Maintain communication with your legal team as your situation or medical status changes
Get Expert Help with Your Personal Injury Lawsuit Today
Regardless of how much time your case takes to settle, you may feel like you’re left in limbo until it does. Whether you’re dealing with financial stress or physical issues as a result of your injury, it’s important to know your legal team has your back. At Black & DePaoli, we help our clients navigate the complex world of personal injury law every day. We’ve secured billions for clients who suffered injuries due to accidents, medical malpractice, and intentional torts. Contact us today to schedule a no-cost consultation to discuss your case.