How long will this take?

One of the first questions we often hear at Morgan & Morgan when a new client enters our office is, “How long will this take?”

When someone is recovering from a serious injury, they don’t need money five or ten years from now—they need it as soon as possible. This means that the duration of a potential lawsuit matters to them.

Unfortunately, it’s impossible to provide a definitive answer to the question of how long a personal injury claim will take to resolve. Every claim comes with its own sets of facts to organize, and circumstances like how busy the courts are can affect a lawsuit’s timeline. But while we can’t give you an exact quote, we can offer a reasonable estimate.

Most personal injury cases take anywhere from a few months to two years to complete. A case is considered complete when you’ve been paid in full by the defendant or their insurer, either in accordance with a settlement agreement or the decision of a court.

If you’re considering pursuing legal action against another party or their insurance company for a personal injury claim, contact Morgan and Morgan to get a free case evaluation and a better sense of how long your case will take.

More answers to commonly asked questions

Even the quickest personal injury cases generally take a few months to resolve. Medical bills can pile up fast while you’re recovering from a serious injury, so your personal injury attorney will do everything they can to get you the money you need.

Sometimes, however, certain circumstances can slow down the process a bit. For example, you could find your case delayed by:

  • Questions of fault or other legal factors
  • Court delays or a crowded docket
  • Continuing medical treatment
  • Disputes over coverage
  • A claim involving substantial monetary damages

In some cases, your attorney will be able to bypass these sorts of holdups. More frequently, though, they’ll cause unavoidable delays.

The best way to minimize the duration of a personal injury case is to negotiate a settlement outside the court system. When your attorney negotiates a settlement, it doesn’t have to be approved by the court or go through a complicated claims process. It simply has to be agreed to by the defendant’s insurer.

A negotiated settlement will usually win you more than the insurance company would have offered you through the usual claims process but less than you might have gotten from a jury award. 

It’s a compromise that both sides agree to because it saves time—time that can prove costly to both you and the insurer. Your attorney will ensure that the settlement amount is fair and that it’s paid out as rapidly as the wheels of the insurance bureaucracy machine allow.

If you’re looking for a quick resolution to your personal injury case, going to trial is the worst-case scenario. Even a brief trial is likely to take at least a year. And a long trial can easily take two years before any appeals are even filed. Appeals can potentially push the resolution of a case out to three years or more.

In terms of speed, the only advantage of going to trial is that many insurance companies will be more open to negotiation once a trial has started.

Skilled lawyers charge in accordance with their efforts, particularly when you’re paying for trial work. Once the insurance company knows that you’re committed to taking your case to a verdict, it will usually be willing to compromise. 

The company knows that there is little advantage to paying all the fees that come with a court trial and still losing the case and being forced to pay out significant sums in damages.

If an insurance company isn’t willing to negotiate, even after the trial begins, you’ll have to wait for compensation. 

While your attorney is limited in what they can do to speed up your trial, they will be able to direct you to resources that can aid you while you’re awaiting compensation. These resources may be enough to get the debt collectors off your back until the trial is over and you’ve received full payment.

If you’re desperate for payment, you might decide to settle quickly for a significantly lower amount than you could get from a jury award or even from prolonged negotiations. This is known as “settling for short money.”

We don’t recommend this option, and we’ll do all we can to help you manage your financial affairs until you can get a fair settlement or jury award. But if you absolutely can’t wait and you’re willing to live with a reduced sum, settling for short money can provide you with payment faster.

Typically, the earlier you hire a personal injury lawyer, the less time your case will take. Personal injury lawyers know how to get around the red tape surrounding personal injury claims and often have experience dealing with specific insurance companies.

Additionally, law firms like Morgan and Morgan have a reputation for being willing to go to trial, which encourages insurance companies to negotiate in good faith.

When you’re recovering from a serious injury, the last thing you need is a prolonged claims process that continually pushes back your payment date. A veteran personal injury attorney will pressure your insurance company to pay fair compensation sooner rather than later.

Contact Morgan & Morgan today to schedule a free evaluation of your personal injury case.