After suffering injuries as a result of someone else’s negligence, you’ll want to know how soon you can get the compensation you deserve to help pay off your medical bills and property damage. It’s a fair question. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have a concrete and reliable answer. The time it takes to settle your case can vary depending on the severity of your injuries, the amount of money at stake, and whether or not you hire a legal team.
You can always settle a personal injury claim relatively quickly no matter the situation, but you’ll have to accept less money to do so. Of course, some factors are out of your control and largely at the hands of the insurance company. Nevertheless, here are a few elements of a personal injury lawsuit that may help you gain a better perspective of the typical timeline.
The Average Time it Takes to Settle a Personal Injury Case
Breaking down the components of a typical personal injury case may help you gain a better understanding of what to expect timing-wise. Here are a few standard stages in a personal injury case, the average time it takes to conclude each, and the variables that play into how long each step will take:
- Settlement negotiations: These discussions occur constantly throughout the personal injury claims process and won’t truly end until the case is settled. Occasionally, negotiations begin and end a personal injury case before a lawsuit is even filed. Other times, a lawsuit will be required.
- Filing a lawsuit: The at-fault party will usually be served within 30–60 days of a lawsuit being filed, and a response is expected within 30–45 days. So, strictly speaking, filing a lawsuit will average about 3 months’ time.
- Alternative dispute resolution: Often called “mediation,” this is the process by which both parties agree on a third-party who will try to resolve the claim without going to trial. In general, an alternative dispute resolution is meant to save both the plaintiff and defendant time by sidestepping a lengthy trial process. If you want to resolve your dispute quickly, do your best to work it out in this step. The mediation process—which only lasts one or two days—typically takes place between 9 and 18 months after your accident.
- The trial: If you do end up going to trial, it will likely take place roughly one year after your injury, though it can sometimes take upwards of two years for a case to go to trial. The trial itself will usually last between a few days and a few weeks.
Keep in mind, the majority of personal injury cases don’t end up going to trial unless there’s a serious injury or a strong difference of opinion. In a settlement—which is the most common outcome for a personal injury case—both parties can control the risks and legal costs, avoid a lengthy and risky process, and keep out of the public eye.
What Other Factors Determine How Long a Personal Injury Case Will Take to Resolve?
Other considerations can play into how long a personal injury case will take to conclude. Here are just a few:
- Medical treatment: Just after an accident, you should visit a doctor, even if you don’t feel any immediate symptoms. Not only will a medical professional be able to treat any noticeable wounds (or determine if there are any underlying injuries that aren’t apparent), but they will also document that you sought immediate medical attention. Without a hasty trip to the doctor’s office, it can appear to an insurance adjuster that you aren’t all that injured. Nevertheless, the length of time it takes before you’ve reached maximum medical improvement will play a major role in how long your case will last. If you can afford to wait, you never want to settle a case until you’re fully recovered. This will help your lawyer determine the value of your case.
- Choosing a lawyer: You can certainly choose to fight the case on your own, but you likely won’t be able to recover the maximum amount that you deserve. An expert attorney who knows the Florida legal system inside and out and will better be able to fight for your rights. Whether or not you have a lawyer by your side will factor into how long your case will take to resolve.
- Trial delays: Again, you’ll want to avoid the trial process if you want to resolve your dispute quickly. If you do end up going to trial, however, note that it can often be delayed past your scheduled date. Whether it’s because of conflicts with the judge, a change of venue, or an emergency, trial delays and cancellations are common.
Contact an Expert Personal Injury Attorney in South Florida
If you’ve been injured in a car accident and need help putting together a case against the at-fault party, contact the experienced personal injury lawyers at Baker Legal Team. Whether you’re seeking a speedy resolution or just have questions about how long your case will take to settle, Robert B. Baker will be able to review your situation and help you determine how long it will take. Robert will help fight for your rights, no matter the case.
As a Florida Bar Board Certified personal injury lawyer with experience handling complex claims and tricky insurance companies, Robert has represented South Florida residents for more than 30 years. He will help you recover the damages you deserve. Give us a call at (561) 320-0000 or complete our contact form today!