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How Long Does a Personal Injury Case Take?



Personal injury lawsuit plaintiffs often wonder how long their cases will take and when they will receive their settlements or awards. There is no typical personal injury case. Every fact pattern, issue, party, and injury differs, even if slightly. So, it's impossible to make such an exact prediction. Despite case-specific nuances, most accident, injury, and fall claims are settled within one to two years. The longer estimate accounts for a trial and affords sufficient time for an appeal. Medical malpractice claims resulting in personal injury suits require a longer period to settle or complete, as they involve more complex issues and factors.

Lifespan of a Personal Injury Case

The first year of a personal injury lawsuit is usually dedicated to the claimant's injury and diagnosis and treatment of that injury. Any attorney hired by the injured party will conduct an initial case investigation and begin compiling key case records. The defendant(s) and any insurance companies are notified by the claimant's counsel of the claim during this first year. The actual lawsuit may be filed. Counsel also starts the case valuation process.

Crucial Role of Prognosis in Personal Injury Lawsuit's Lifespan

One of the major factors impacting the time period required for the lifespan of a personal injury lawsuit is the treating doctor's prognosis for the injured claimant. Because pain, suffering, and other types of injuries are part of the compensatory damages for which a claimant seeks compensation in a personal injury suit, it is critical for the claimant to know the course his or her recovery will take and how his or her health will be impacted before approaching settlement of the claim. After all, a claimant facing a permanent disability needs to know the prognosis to arrive at an appropriate settlement demand and avoid a situation in which a settlement is accepted in the first few weeks of a case, even before a doctor's visit, and later complications and injuries are discovered. Some injuries are complex and significant enough to require months for accurate prognosis and treatment, and may require consultation with multiple doctors. No claimant wants to be in the situation of accepting a settlement that leaves him or her insufficiently compensated to treat his or her injuries.

Earlier Access to Injury Settlement Funds May Be Possible

Just because the prognosis or treatment of an injury may require a few months, that does not mean that a personal injury claimant must wait for a year or two before receiving any funds from a settlement. In today's marketplace, lawsuit funding professional underwriters can access the case and help an eligible personal injury claimant obtain advanced funds on a future settlement award with litigation funding. Each case must be carefully evaluated before pursuing this remedy.