The time aspect of a personal injury case is very situational. It depends on the severity of the injury, available evidence and proof to produce negligence, recording of witness statements, and much more.
Moreover, the plaintiff may decline to receive the settlement amount in anticipation of receiving more than the insurance adjuster offered during the negotiation.
The Time Taking Factors
There are several factors in a personal injury case that need time and thereby affect the time to settle the case.
• Medical Treatment – The recovery time depends on the type of injury and accident. A slip and fall victim may be treated in hours, while a vehicle accident victim may take days even weeks to recover.
• Claim Investigation – Once again, depending on the type of case, the required documents, reports, and investigations have to be made about the claim, and it all takes time. Collection of all evidence and proof may take even months.
• Waiting for MMI – Lawyers may also wait for maximum medical improvement until a lawsuit is filed. Once again, this can take months or even years, depending on the injury and rehabilitation process.
• Demand Letter and Answer – If even a lawyer wants to settle a case through negotiation, a demand letter must be sent. Again there are wait times between the demand letter and answer from the defendant.
• Discovery Process – After the lawsuit is filed, time is required for the discovery process, which can last for six to twelve months.
Type of Settlement
A personal injury case takes time and also depends on the type of settlement that you want. Insurance companies make a lowball offer within a month of the lawsuit. If you agree to that amount, the case ends there. If not, then all the investigation, reexamination starts, which can take 30 days to evaluate.
Negotiation starts after that, which takes a couple of weeks. If any agreement arrives, it takes another couple of weeks to cut the check and prepare the settlement papers.
Best Case Scenario
When all the situations are favorable regarding the collection of reports and documents, preparation of the case, and reaching MMI quickly, fair negotiations are completed. A standard personal injury case may take up to four to five months under the best-case scenario.
But to avail the best settlement, the attorneys have to implement all the strategies, one of which is the walk-away strategy, for negotiations which can take a year or two and be calculated after you reach MMI.
Consider The Figures
As per the statistics, the parties go through an exceptionally long court process when cases go to trial. The average time for tort lawsuits is 23 months and 20 months for automobile accident lawsuits. The medical malpractice cases are 31 months, and the median length of premises liability cases is 24 months, while intentional tort cases take a month longer.
While only 4% of the total personal injury cases go to trial, stats show that medical malpractice cases took six days, product liability for seven days, and an asbestos case lasted for 13 days.
Therefore, the time taken by a personal injury case depends on the type and severity of the case apart from the situation.