If you’re hurt in an accident because of the negligence of another party, you might be entitled to recover compensation. The initial step to do that is to file a personal injury claim.
Some of these claims will settle relatively quickly, and in other cases, it can take a year or sometimes more to settle these claims. There are a lot of factors unique to a case that impact the timetable and how long it ultimately takes to settle.
The following is a guide to the things to know about how long it can typically take to settle a personal injury claim.
You Can Settle Quickly—For Less Money
With a personal injury claim, if your primary goal is settling quickly, you can do this, but it’s almost always going to mean that you’re accepting less money. For you, this might be worth it, but it’s something you’ll have to consider on an individual basis.
If you settle quickly, then the offer from an insurance adjuster might be 30-40% of what you could have been offered if your case made it almost all the way to a trial.
If you want to settle a case quickly without lengthy litigation, you should still talk to a personal injury attorney before making any official decisions.
If you have pretty minor injuries and there’s no dispute over who was at fault, your case could be resolved in weeks or months.
If there’s any dispute over who’s at fault or how much compensation you should receive, which there almost always is, then your settlement could take months or a year, or more.
What Type of Case Is It?
The type of personal injury case you’re involved in could impact how long it takes to settle the claim. Wrongful death and medical malpractice are two examples of complex areas of the law.
With medical malpractice, you need to have a medical expert who goes over your case and then provides testimony about the legal elements of the claim. It may take months for the medical expert to go over your case and give an opinion.
Trucking accidents are another example of cases that can take a long time to settle. These cases get complicated because multiple parties may have liability for your damages.
A large corporation may take months to investigate the accident, and since the industry is regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, federal investigators might be involved too.
If you hire a personal injury attorney to represent you, they’re going to need time to do a thorough investigation.
In this investigation, your attorney is working on identifying liable parties and gathering evidence that will prove fault. It can take months to more than a year to investigate these cases, depending on their complexity.
While you do have to be patient as an investigation is ongoing, remember how important this is. You can’t recover compensation for your injuries if you aren’t able to provide evidence that shows fault and liability.
It may take time to identify the evidence that will show wrongdoing and negligence.
Your attorney may also have to work with experts and investigators to help them in this process.
Maximum Medical Improvement
When we talk about factors that play a role in how long it takes to settle a personal injury claim, there’s a term that’s very relevant, and that’s a maximum medical improvement.
The longer your injuries take to heal and the longer your recovery is ongoing, the longer it will take to settle your claim. You don’t want to settle a claim for personal injury until your doctor says you’ve reached the point of maximum medical improvement.
When your doctor makes that determination and says there’s no further medical treatment that would improve your condition, you are said to have reached maximum medical improvement.
That can mean a full recovery for some people. For others, it could mean they have a condition that’s disabling, but there’s nothing left for a doctor to do to improve it.
Disabling conditions include traumatic brain injury, back injuries, paralysis, severe burns, and amputations. Cognitive impairments, PTSD and mental health conditions, and loss of bodily functions are also disabling conditions.
How severe someone’s disability is and the project damages in the future impact the value of their claim.
If you settled an injury claim before your treatment ended, you could lose out on a lot of possible compensation.