Factors that Affect the Timing of Personal Injury Claims

Personal injury lawyers are often asked: “How long will it take to settle my claim?” Because of many important factors, each case can take a different amount of time to be resolved.

 

Each personal injury case is unique. A seasoned personal injury lawyer in the area may be able give you a rough idea of the case based on past cases. However, it is impossible to predict the timeframe for resolving a case. Some cases can be resolved in a short time, while others could take many years. The following factors may influence the time frame for resolving a personal injuries claim:

Nature of the Case

Standard cases may be easier to resolve than others. Automotive accidents, for example, are often easier to settle than other types personal injury cases such as medical malpractice and premises liability.

Jurisdiction

Areas in which there are many cases going on at once may take longer to resolve than ones handled in other, less busy areas. If a case goes to court, it will take longer to process in a jurisdiction with a flooded docket than in a jurisdiction with relatively few cases.

Insurance Company

How long it takes to resolve a claim will depend on how the insurance company handles it. Insurance companies may have policies that allow claims to be resolved within a set time. Some insurance companies will take a slower and more steady approach to carefully weigh each claim’s merits. The timing of the resolution of personal injury claims can often be affected by how an insurance company operates.

Insurance adjusters who have multiple cases to deal with at once can take longer to resolve than those who do not have as many cases.

Cases in which an insurance company is not involved can prolong things, too. Sometimes, the defendants may not have the resources necessary to pay a valid claim. They might prefer to fight the case rather than settle for a high award they can’t afford.

Complexity of the Case

Complex cases may require more time from the defendant, personal injury attorney, and insurance company. The case could be interpreted in a number of ways, including the issue of liability and damages.

Liability

Cases where liability is not in dispute may settle faster than cases that are subject to multiple interpretations.

Personal Injury Attorneys

Different personal injury lawyers handle different cases. One-lawyer offices are those where one person is responsible for all aspects of the investigation, pleadings, and negotiations. Some people may be more efficient if they delegate tasks to others. An experienced attorney may be better equipped to handle the cases than an attorney who is not familiar with personal injury law. It may take a personal injury lawyer longer to settle a case if they are handling multiple cases at once.

An attorney typically begins the case evaluation by collecting important information about the accident as well as the defendants. He or she notifies the defendant’s insurance company and the victim about the claim. Then, they determine the amount of damages. Seeking prompt medical attention is often paramount to recovering. These tasks take time and are related to how long it may take for a personal injury lawyer to complete.

Medical Evaluation

The victim’s medical assessment can also cause a case to be delayed. A personal injury lawyer will usually wait for all medical bills and damage reports to be submitted before settling a case. Complex cases may require more time for medical evaluations, especially if the extent of the injury or aggravation to an existing injury are not known. It can be hard for victims with increasing medical costs and concerns to wait for their medical bills to come back. However, it is in the victim’s best interests to take time dealing with this aspect of the case.

Updated 12/9/2021