How Long Does a Personal Injury Lawsuit Take to Settle?
If you or somebody you care about has sustained an injury that was caused by the actions of another individual, business, or entity, you may be entitled to significant compensation. However, securing compensation in the aftermath of sustaining a personal injury can be complicated. Most personal injury claims are resolved through settlements with insurance carriers, but those cases are not always successful. It may be necessary to file a personal injury lawsuit against the alleged negligent party. Here, we want to discuss how long a personal injury lawsuit may take to settle.
The Insurance Carriers Are Usually First
The vast majority of personal injury cases are resolved through insurance carriers before a personal injury lawsuit even needs to be filed. Cases that are settled in this manner are typically resolved much quicker than those that need to go into the civil court system. Negotiations with insurance carriers can take a few weeks or even a few months to occur, but after a settlement has been approved by both parties, payment will be received by the injury victim rather quickly.
In the event an insurance carrier or at-fault party refuses to offer a fair settlement to an injury victim, it may be necessary for the victim to file a personal injury lawsuit in civil court. An injury victim who has not already done so at this point should seek assistance from a skilled personal injury lawyer to help them with this process.
What Can Draw Out the Time Frame in a Lawsuit?
Even when a personal injury lawsuit is filed in California, it will most likely be settled before reaching a full jury trial. Attorneys for both the plaintiff (the injury victim) and the defendant (the alleged negligent party) will continue negotiations throughout this process. Sometimes, the insurance carriers or the at-fault party will offer a settlement at just the threat of a lawsuit being filed.
However, there are various factors that could result in a personal injury lawsuit being drawn out, thereby resulting in the injury victim not receiving compensation right away.
- Investigation. Both parties will continue to conduct investigations into the incident in question in order to gather evidence.
- Discovery. The discovery phase of a personal injury trial is when both sides exchange evidence with one another. This gives both sides a chance to understand what they are facing if the case goes to trial.
- Depositions. It may be necessary to take depositions of any witnesses related to the personal injury case. This process can be time-consuming, particularly for more complex injury cases.
- More negotiations. Throughout this process, both sides will continue negotiations in an effort to resolve the case before trial.
There is no set timeline for any of these steps in a personal injury trial. Often, a settlement takes place within a few months to a year after a lawsuit has been filed. However, for cases that drag on closer to a trial, they may not be resolved for a year or more. Both parties will be at the mercy of the court docket for these cases if a full jury trial becomes necessary.
Personal injury cases that are resolved through insurance carriers will take the least time to conclude. However, that does not always guarantee that the victim will receive maximum compensation for their claim. Even though filing a lawsuit and going to trial may take more time, this may be the best route for the injury victim in order to obtain the compensation they are entitled to.