An important question often asked by our clients is how long their personal injury case involving serious injuries may take until a settlement is reached. The short answer: it depends on many things! Every injury and every case is unique. However, the average range can be anywhere between 3 and 7 years. When a serious personal injury occurs, one is often not just enduring an experience of healing from physical pain, but from emotional and psychological pain as well. That is why we want to ensure that we account for these factors in as much detail as possible when building your case.
What Impacts the Timeline of a Personal Injury Case?
The amount of time it takes to reach a settlement can be impacted by a variety of factors. The timeline can increase based on the severity of the injury, the length of time for healing, the amount or type of evidence needed, the amount of damages, and the overall complexity of the case. Evidence can include anything from medical documents obtained at doctors visits (x-rays, tests, surgery notes, therapies) to police reports and eyewitness testimonies. Our legal team can help you to collect, investigate, and evaluate all the medical and accident related evidence that is related to your injury.
Why Does a Personal Injury Case Take This Long?
There are many reasons why a case can take between 3 to 7 years.
First, it takes a while for your body to recover after experiencing an injury. We want to wait until you heal and reach as close back to “normal” (or your new state of “normal”) as possible. Reaching this state is often called “maximum medical recovery” (MMR) by specialists. Based on your injury, it can take anywhere from months to even years to see how your injury impacts you on a long-term basis. It is important in your case to wait until you have reached this maximum medical recovery. This will help us make sure the right steps are taken to then help you reach a settlement that will be most beneficial and fair for you in the long-run.
During your recovery, there may be a variety of specialists that evaluate your injury and provide their expert opinions on how the injury will impact you in the long-term. For example, your doctors may provide their expertise on how your injuries may impact your further need for treatment in the future, or what your pain might look like long-term. Doctors and accountants may also provide their opinions on how your injury will impact your future work and income loss. We may even reach out to accident re-construction specialists to aid in “painting the picture” of how your injury happened and its impacts. This information will all help in building your case.
Gathering this information in a detailed manner is important because, when arguing your case, we have to convince the insurance company involved to pay you something that is reasonably fair in order to settle the case. This step is also called “negotiating the settlement.”
Interacting with the Insurance Company Involved in Your Case
When communicating with the insurance company, it is important to recognize as the injured party that their usual goal and hope is to pay you as little amount of money in the settlement as possible. Once a case settles, it is a permanent and final decision, and so you must be careful when coming to a closing agreement with the insurance company. This is also why it is important to reach maximum medical recovery before settling with the insurance company – you can’t settle in the first year of your recovery, for example, and then ask to re-open the case in the fifth year of recovery because your injury and healing has worsened!
Accepting a settlement offer from the insurance company too soon can limit the amount of money that you could have potentially received.
You need a good legal team to stand up for your rights and advocate for you to get the help you deserve. Here at White Macgillivray Lester, it is important to us to build a strong and trusting long-term relationship with you. We want to get to know you and take our time to understand how your injuries have affected you both in the short- and long-term. This will help us to make sure the appropriate action is taken to protect you in the long-run, and to help you reach a settlement that is fair. We have extensive experience in this realm, and will do everything we can to help you reach a fair settlement. Reach out to us for a free consultation today!