How Long Does It Take To Settle A Personal Injury Claim?

September 10, 2020 Off By Glespynorson

Personal Injury

Are you contending with a personal injury due to negligence? Are you dealing with heavy medical debt and need a sizeable settlement?

If so, you may be contemplating the following: “How long does it take to settle a personal injury claim?”

If all sides settle the matter out of court, the process could end in a few months. If it goes to trial, however, you’re looking at a commitment of six months or longer. The time depends on a variety of factors, such as negotiations, mediation, arbitration, evidence, witnesses, among other considerations.

This article will provide an in-depth look into settlement intervals. Let’s explore.

How Long Does a Lawsuit Take to Get a Settlement?

Before a trial begins, the opposite party may agree to a settlement. However, matters can grow complicated if the other side decides to low-ball the offer.

Low settlement offers are common among insurance companies, where reps tend to offer the lowest payout possible to save money. Unfortunately, many people take the first offer.

If you accept the settlement outright, the process could end within a week. Before accepting the first offer, contact a personal injury attorney. They can tell you if the first offer is an acceptable amount.

If an attorney advises against the first offer, they can negotiate on your behalf for a higher sum. The negotiation process is the longest part of the settlement period.

Depending on the discussion, the settlement may last anywhere from a few weeks to several months. Overall, the time frame depends on how many offers and counteroffers are on the table.

Longer settlements can work to your advantage. This means your attorney is driving a hard bargain and is pushing the other side for a higher amount.

  • Note: It’s advisable to let an attorney conduct the negotiations. Legal professionals have the skills and savvy to obtain higher settlements for their clients. More importantly, they can lift the stress of negotiations off your shoulders.

Once all parties agree, you should receive payment anywhere from two weeks to a month. Experienced attorneys will establish a deadline in which you receive your check.

Your attorney could also place the money in a trust account until the money clears. After deducting attorney fees and medical expenses, the remainder goes to you.

How Long Does A Lawsuit Take?

If the settlement negotiations fail, the process will continue in civil court. Settling a personal injury claim in court can take months or several years. The following factors can prolong the trial:

  • Gathering witnesses
  • Summoning experts
  • Preparing evidence
  • Assembling a jury
  • Procuring medical records

The discovery portion is one of the longest periods during civil trials. This phase occurs after the defendant answers the summons. From there, both sides have between three to six months to gather the necessary evidence.

Both sides can request documents from the other. Each side usually has between 20 to 30 days to produce the documentation. Further, both sides can ask questions (under oath) to gain additional clarification on a topic.

The discovery stage can lengthen if a dispute arises, in which case the court must intervene. If this occurs, you’ll submit a motion for a court hearing. Then, the judge will render a verdict after hearing the issue.

The deposition step will happen after all sides have sufficient documentation. During the deposition, both sides will call experts to weigh in on the personal injury or the accident scene. Under oath, the professionals will submit to questioning outside of the court. This period can usually take between two to four months.

The Evaluation Phase

In some cases, the states may force a mediation period after you file your lawsuit.

  • Example: Michigan courts will schedule a mediation period roughly eight months after you file the case. A panel of legal professionals will hear the case and issue a recommendation after hearing both sides.

Evaluation periods are not compulsory. Everyone must accept the verdict. All parties have a month to accept or reject the panel’s conclusions. If all parties agree, the matter ends. If one side rejects the ruling, the process may go to arbitration.

In arbitration cases, all parties must accept the ruling of the panel. Arbitration depends on state guidelines and court rules. Arbitration is common when negotiating with insurance companies.

Between filing and award initiation, the arbitration step can take 85 days. Ask your attorney if arbitration is the right choice for your case. If you need a personal injury lawyer, check out this lawyer.

The Trial Phase

The trial is the final phase, and it’s one of the shortest steps. A civil matter could end in as little as a few hours. In other cases, it may last a few weeks. You may have to wait a while, depending on the judge’s court schedule.

The length of the civil trial depends on the complexity of the case and the nature of your injury. The judge will then issue a final ruling that all parties must agree to. Both sides are free to appeal the ruling.

The appeals court can take up to six months or more to determine whether to hear the case. In some states, the process could last several months or two years. Regardless, prepare yourself for a minimum six-month commitment if you face an appeal.

How Long Does It Take to Settle a Personal Injury Claim in My State?

To know how long your case will last, talk to a lawyer in your area. An experienced personal injury attorney knows the inner-workings of the local courts. They also know what evidence you need to prove your case.

If you’re also wondering, “How long does it take to settle a personal injury claim without an attorney?”, the process could end sooner than you expect. Many people without legal representation fumble their cases, resulting in dismissal. However, an attorney can provide guidance until you receive a satisfactory sum.

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