This is often the first question we hear when meeting with a client for the first time. Every case’s details are different, but in normal times, it takes between a few months and more than a year. This timeline is for a case that is promptly filed and aggressively pursued by a lawyer.
Some believe that the negligent person or business gains an advantage if they drag their feet because memories fade, eyewitnesses disappear or the victim becomes impatient and wants to move on. However, it is generally best to wait until the injury’s extent so the victim’s attorney can determine an accurate amount for a fair settlement that covers their costs.
Why so long?
The details will help dictate the speed of the case, but there are many reasons why personal injury cases take this long:
- The wheels of justice usually turn slowly and carefully to ensure it is done right, and things have further slowed with limited schedules in 2020.
- Insurance companies seldom rush to pay unless their lawyer thinks there is an opportunity to pay less.
- While many cases settle out of court before a judge hands down a decision, the lawyer best serves the client by preparing to do a full trial.
- One side may file an appeal if they believe the judge did not fully consider their argument.
Getting the best possible decision
Attorneys in other fields of law charge by the hour, but those handling personal injury get a portion of the settlement. This means there is no extra cost to letting the lawyer work toward getting the best possible compensation for the largest amount of money. On the other hand, they have the experience to know that it could make sense to settle out of court if they don’t think you’ll do better in front of a judge. Of course, the final decision is always up to the client.