The most common question is how long a personal injury case takes to settle or to obtain a judgment. There is no fixed time line, and it depends on the complexity of the case and the time spent in the negotiations process. Complex cases can go on for several years, while common accident cases could take about couple of years to settle or close. To obtain an idea of the timeline, it is necessary to understand the different stages in a personal injury case.
No Rush; No Assumptions
The first thing that could influence the timeline is the duration of the medical treatment. Unless, you have a clear idea about the extent of your injuries, and the treatment involved, you cannot even calculate a correct claim amount. It is therefore necessary to have your injuries diagnosed correctly and undergo the treatment for the required time. If you are going to need ongoing treatment for an extended period, you have to figure out the expected future medical costs.
Your lawyer will review your medical records and investigate various important aspects of the case. This in itself can take a few months, since gathering medical reports and calculating the cost of treatment takes time. Sometimes the lawyer after gathering all these facts might feel you do not have much of a case, and you do not have any chance of winning a lawsuit. At such a juncture, you might have to consider accepting whatever settlement the insurance company is offering.
The Final Step
If you have a superlative or formidable case, your lawyer will initiate negotiations. The negotiation period can drag on for quite some time, and if ultimately the negotiations fail, the case goes to trial. When the trial proceedings are initiated, there will be discovery process, depositions, and ultimately the case will be heard in court. Throughout this whole process, negotiations might continue, and there might be offers and counteroffers. Ultimately it will all depend on the decision of the jury and amount of compensation you are awarded.
Once this happens, there is not any going back and the negotiating process is most likely over with.