How long does a personal injury lawsuit take?

| Oct 16, 2020 | Personal injury

This is one of the first questions that many potential clients ask when they sit down for an initial consultation. It is also one of the hardest to answer. Generally speaking, it will take between a few months and more than a year during normal times. This time frame implies that was no delay in filing the lawsuit, and it was aggressively pursued.

Many believe that defendants gain leverage if the case moves more slowly because memories fade, witnesses can be difficult to contact, and victims become impatient. However, victims should not accept a settlement offer until they have completed their medical treatment and know their future expenses. Only then will they know if the settlement offer is fair.

Why does it take so long?

Some cases are more straightforward than others, but there are still many reasons why personal injury cases take so long:

  • The wheels of justice turn slowly, so the courts are often backed up. It can be months before a case begins, and there may be several sessions before the judge issues a decision.
  • The insurance company is never in a hurry to settle unless the victim is willing to give them favorable terms in a quick settlement.
  • It is better not to maneuver quickly for settlement. Instead, attorneys serve clients best by trying to take the case to a decision in court. Once the defendants see this, they will likely try to settle rather than pay legal costs for what will probably be an unfavorable settlement in court.
  • Depending on how the trial went, it may be necessary to appeal the court’s decision.

Looking for the best possible decision

The attorney’s fee is contingent on how much the victim is awarded. Therefore, it is in their best interest to get a larger settlement for their client. But attorneys also understand how cases proceed and what makes the most sense for settlement. They can draw upon their experience and knowledge to determine a course of action for the best possible outcome.