Although this is one of the most commonly asked questions about the personal injury claim process, there is no specific answer. The time taken to settle a personal injury claim depends upon many different factors. If you are trying to determine how long your personal injury claim will take to settle, consider the following:
Client Recovery Time: Most personal injury attorneys will not begin the legal process of filing a claim until their client has finished medical treatment or has a serious medical problem that is likely to continue for a significant amount of time. This turning point in the treatment process is referred to as the stage of “maximum medical improvement.” The purpose of waiting is to ensure that all treatment expenses associated with the case are included in the claim. If treatment is not established as part of the case before it concludes, expenses may not be entirely covered, leaving the injured party to foot the bill for the remaining treatment.
Submission to Insurance: After the client has finished their medical treatment, it may take 1 to 2 months for the legal team to gather all documentation associated with treatment. This includes doctor recommendations, physical impairments lasting beyond the scope of the treatment, and any expenses associated with the necessary medical care. The legal team may also gather documents from the client’s employer to determine the amount of income they may have missed as a result of the injuries sustained. These documents are then submitted to the insurance companies involved in the claim.
Negotiations: After the insurance adjusters have received the documents from the legal team, they may take one to two months to review all of the documents, finish investigating the case, and begin the negotiation process. Once the review is finished, cases may settle very quickly or take up to several months to be resolved. Any offers that are made regarding a settlement are brought to the client to consider and review with the counsel of their legal team.
Trial: If negotiations are not successful within a reasonable amount of time, the claim may be brought as a case before a judge and/or jury. Once a trial has started, the length of time that the case may take to settle can vary drastically. A trial may take anywhere from a few weeks to over a year depending on the number of witnesses and experts brought in to testify, the conditions surrounding the case, and how many people are involved in the claim.
It is nearly impossible to determine how long a personal injury claim will take from start to finish without a thorough review. If you would like to learn more about the process of a personal injury claim and the length of time that you can expect your personal injury claim to take before settling, speak with a qualified legal professional who is familiar with the process of filing personal injury lawsuits.