How Long Does It Take To Settle A Personal Injury Claim?
One of the most common questions our attorneys at Chiumento Law, PLLC hear is, “How long will my personal injury claim take?”
The reality is that every case is different. The timetable for resolving an injury claim depends on many factors including the severity of the injury, the length of time required for the accident victim to recover, and the amount of money in dispute. In general, most cases take an average of 12 to 14 months to resolve, but some may be settled more quickly. Others can take several years to resolve, especially if litigation is necessary.
There are many factors that can affect how long it will take to reach a resolution in your case. To learn more, continue reading or contact us today for a free case review with a skilled injury attorney in Palm Coast or Ormond Beach.
When Should I Settle My Claim?
After a serious injury, most people want to settle their claim as quickly as possible so they can move on with your life. That is understandable. However, if you settle too quickly, you may be shortchanging yourself. You are less likely to end up with the full amount of compensation you need to pay all your medical expenses and cover your other losses.
A good lawyer will encourage you to receive all the medical treatment you need and wait to settle until you have reached maximum medical improvement (MMI). That means your condition is unlikely to improve further with additional treatment.
If you are still recovering, it may be impossible to determine the full impact your injuries will have on your future, making it difficult to estimate the true value of your claim.
Personal Injury Lawsuit Timeline
There are several distinct phases to most personal injury lawsuits. They include:
- The immediate aftermath – The actions you take immediately after a serious injury can have a significant impact on the strength of your claim. It’s important to seek immediate medical attention to document the severity of your injuries.
- Finding an attorney – Once your medical condition is stable, it’s time to hire a lawyer. A knowledgeable personal injury attorney can help you navigate the legal system, deal with insurers on your behalf and seek the most compensation possible for you.
- Launching an investigation – After you hire Chiumento Law, our legal team will begin an independent investigation on your behalf. This may involve studying your medical records, collecting evidence from the accident scene, and interviewing eyewitnesses to establish the facts of your claim.
- Filing a claim – Armed with important facts and evidence, your lawyer will send a demand letter to the insurance provider for the at-fault party. This notifies the other party of your intent to pursue money in a personal injury claim.
- The discovery process – Once your claim has been initiated, the discovery process often takes anywhere from six to 12 months. During discovery, both parties will exchange documents, gather evidence, and investigate disputed facts.
- Negotiation or mediation – After discovery, parties typically attempt to avoid going to trial by reaching a settlement through negotiation or mediation. This process can take additional months to complete.
- Going to trial – If a settlement can’t be reached, you may need to take your case to trial. Getting a trial scheduled on the court docket can take a number of months. In many cases, settlement negotiations continue during the court process.
- Receiving a verdict – After a judge and jury have heard your case and considered arguments from both sides, the jury will reach a verdict. If the verdict is in your favor, the court will then determine how much compensation to award you.
- Collecting compensation – Depending on the judgment you receive, you may be entitled to a lump-sum payment or regular installments of smaller amounts.
Factors That Might Slow Your Settlement Down
Every personal injury case is different. There’s no accurate way to generalize about how long it could take to reach a settlement in your unique situation. However, you can evaluate the following factors and how they relate to your injury claim to gain an understanding of the details that may slow your settlement.
Here are the factors that may slow down your injury claim settlement:
- The nature of the accident and your injuries – Straightforward injury cases, where there is a clear at-fault party, are much easier to prove than complex cases, such as medical malpractice injuries.
Your settlement may be delayed if you were injured in a car accident. Because Florida is a no-fault insurance state, you and your lawyer must be able to prove that you meet a legal injury threshold before you can file a liability claim or lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
- How long your injuries take to heal – If you suffered minor injuries, such as shallow cuts or simple bone fractures, you will likely be able to settle your case relatively quickly. However, if you sustained catastrophic injuries with life-altering effects, it may take several years to resolve your case.
Recovery isn’t always linear, so the amount of time you take to reach maximum medical improvement can vary if you suffer complications. An attorney can help you monitor your recovery, consult with medical experts, and calculate your losses to keep your claim on track.
- How many parties were involved – When it comes to personal injury claims, Florida follows a doctrine of pure comparative negligence. Under this doctrine, at-fault parties are financially responsible for damages based on their percentage of fault.
If multiple parties were involved in the incident that led to your injuries, things may get complicated. It may take longer to settle a case with several parties due to the complication of multiple potentially liable parties and increased incentive for insurers to try to shift the blame.
- Who was at fault for your injuries – The person or entity who was responsible for your injuries can have a big impact on your settlement timeline. Some defendants tend to be more willing to settle than others if they are keen to avoid the expense or publicity associated with a lawsuit.
Some parties may want to protect their bottom lines by refusing to settle, forcing a drawn-out legal battle. On the other hand, professionals and large corporations concerned about their reputations may fight aggressively to protect their reputations.
- How the insurance company behaves – If the at-fault party is insured, the speed of your settlement will depend heavily on the attitude of the insurance provider. Many insurance companies do everything they can to protect their profit margins by minimizing and denying coverage to rightful claimants.
If you have an expensive claim, expect your settlement to take longer. High-value settlements are often delayed, no matter how well-founded the claim.
In many cases, expensive injury claims are not settled until just before or after the case has been taken to court. Insurers know injured victims are in a desperate situation. The insurers may try to delay as long as possible to put pressure on the accident victim to accept a lowball settlement offer.
- Whether or not your case goes to trial – The majority of personal injury claims are settled through settlement negotiations or mediation. However, if the at-fault party or their insurance company refuses to offer a reasonable settlement, you may be forced to sue for the compensation you need.
Once you decide to go to court, a new set of factors comes into play that can affect the timing of your case. The caseload in your jurisdiction, the judge’s schedule, and last-minute delays can all affect the time it takes to get your trial on the court calendar.
Settling Your Injury Claim Is Serious Business
It’s important to understand that settling an injury claim is typically final. By accepting compensation from the other party, you give up your right to demand additional money in the future. Even if you uncover new evidence or learn that your injuries are more serious than you previously thought, you cannot reopen a closed claim and ask for more money.
This is why it’s so important to be patient and work with a knowledgeable attorney who can advise you on the best path forward. The team at Chiumento Law, PLLC, can help you avoid costly mistakes by guiding you through the process and building a strong compensation claim that addresses all of your needs.
The best way to make sure you get the personal injury settlement you need as swiftly as possible is to work with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney.
At Chiumento Law, PLLC, our full-service law firm has been serving injured victims in Florida’s Palm Coast and Ormond Beach since 1973. We understand how a serious injury can impact your life, and we are committed to helping you with every aspect of your recovery.
When you’re ready to discuss the details of your Florida personal injury claim with a qualified injury attorney, call us at 386-445-8900 or contact us online for a free consultation.