Personal Injury Attorneys Answer The Question: How Long Will My PI Case Take To Settle?
The question of how long a personal injury might take to resolve is frequently asked by those seeking an answer to the daunting question of how long – and how much – their personal injury case will take.
What’s the answer?
The quick answer is that there is no way to provide a set-in-stone timeframe or formula to answer the length of your case, which will be affected by a myriad factors out of your control and your attorney’s control that will affect how long it takes for you to get your settlement check or whether or not your case will go to trial.
The length of time prior to settlement will depend upon the seriousness of the injury suffered, including the medical requirements and attendant recuperation issues, whilst a relatively minor injury situation willl clearly involve a shorter timeframe in terms of settlement.
Personal injury attorneys will agree that the ability to accurately identify a timeframe is impossible but a ballpark range is that personal injury cases take is between two months and two years. That’s an incredibly wide range, but understanding some of the factors that affect how long your case will take can help you manage your expectations.
California personal injury attorney Roberts | Jeandron Law makes the clear suggestion to speak with an experienced attorney in your area who can provide a more specific answer and provide information based upon the specifics of your case.
How Long Your Personal Injury Case Takes Will Depend Upon The Damages Claimed
The issue of damages is the one that will dictate the length of time before your personal injury case is settled.
Damages involves either special damages or general damages.
General damages provides compensation for such issues as
- Physical Pain Suffered
- Emotional Suffering
- Mental or physical impairment
For these claims it is necessary to prove that the damages resulted from the injury, rather than any pre-existing condition.
Special damages provides compensation for monetary losses that result from the actions of a third party and would include such things as:
- Lost earnings
- The replacement of items and related property damage
- Covering extra costs having to do with the injury
The extent of damages claimed will be dependent upon a range of other, often highly contestable matters that will also heavily effect the time taken to reach any settlement (or verdict). These items include matters like:
- Pain & Suffering incurred
- Medical expenses (as outlined below)
- Loss of earnings or loss of future earning capacity resulting from the injury
- Recovery permitted by those who are effected by a wrongful death situation.
In general, you should never settle your personal injury claim before you have finished your treatment. The settlement or award that you receive in a personal injury claim cannot be “left open” for potential future medical expenses. Once you get your settlement, that’s it.
However, that does not necessarily mean that you should wait to file your claim until after you have finished your treatment. You can still get started on your personal injury claim even if you are currently undergoing treatment, or you could lose out on your compensation.
In California, the statute of limitations for a personal injury lawsuit is two years from the accident or injury. After that date, no matter how compelling the evidence, you will not be able to recover compensation except in rare circumstances.
Other states may have different limitation periods, which you can check here, with Louisiana having the shortest at just one year.
Unfortunately, you may not be in a position where you can wait till you’re fully healed before settling your claim. Also, some injuries are so serious that the victim will never fully recover, and they may even have to change careers.
In this case, a good personal injury attorney can calculate how much money victims will need to cover all of their future injury-related expenses. If you believe that you will need future medical care, you need to speak to your personal injury attorney.
Disputes over who is responsible for the accident and the monetary value of damages can obviously slow down your case. In cases where liability is hard to prove, there is usually debate from the insurance company that the defendant was negligent and caused your injury. If you have pre-existing injuries, for example, then the insurance company may refuse to pay your expenses related to your treatment.
You Are Asking For A Large Settlement
If you ask for a lot of money, the insurance company wants to be sure that they have to pay it all. The insurance company is a business, and you, as the injured victim, are not their highest priority. They only want to pay a large amount if they are confident that it is deserved, so that they will scrutinize every aspect of the case until then.
Mainly, they want to be assured that your injuries were severe, that you are not exaggerating your injuries, and that you are a credible person who has a legitimate claim, although of course they will work towards saving any payout if possible. When asking for a large settlement, it’s not uncommon for the insurance companies to delay in hopes the plaintiff will give up and settle for a lower amount. When you work with a credible attorney, though, they will protect you from being exploited in this way by the insurance company.
Get a Free Consultation
Personal injury attorneys should provide you with a free consultation regarding your claim and provide the best answers possible regarding the key question of how long your personal injury case will take to settle.
The factors outlined show the complexities in providing a definitive answer, which is impossible other than in minor injury cases where a quick insurance payout may be identified.
Certainly the soon aan attorney experienced in personal injury lawsuits is retained the better in terms of not only avoiding falling foul of the statute of limitations, but also to progress your lawsuit towards a (hopefully) speedy settlement and a fair one.