How Long Does It Take to Get a Lawsuit Settlement?

How Long Does It Take to Get a Lawsuit Settlement?

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How Long Does It Take to Get a Lawsuit Settlement?

If you've been injured or harmed in any way by someone else's negligence or illegal actions, you probably have a lot of questions you want to have answered. One thing you should be aware of is that there are ways to redress your injury or harm in the form of compensation from a lawsuit. One of the many questions our clients have when we first start working for them is how long does it take to get a lawsuit settlement. 

Once the legal process begins, there is no clear-cut timeline for these types of proceedings. If both parties are amicable, you may get a settlement in as little as a few weeks. Complex cases that go to trial may take several years to resolve. The timeline will depend on any number of factors, such as the severity of your injuries, the evidence, whether or not the wrongdoer will dispute your claims, and the availability and schedules of the court. 

One of the first steps to take after an accident or illegal firing, for example, is to find a highly competent lawyer with experience in your specific situation. At Morgan & Morgan, we have lawyers who handle all types of personal injury cases, from car accidents to medical malpractice and civil rights violations. In this article, we will address the factors and considerations that impact how long it takes to resolve a personal injury lawsuit. 

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Get answers to commonly asked questions about our legal services and learn how we may assist you with your case.

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  • What must victims of personal injury prove in a court of law?

    Generally speaking, a victim must prove they were not a fault, and the other party was responsible for the victim’s injuries. When you file a claim, you must show that the defendant owed a legal duty of care and that duty of care was breached through their negligence, inaction, or illegal actions.

    The legal duty of care falls under tort law (a civil wrong) and is a legal obligation imposed on an individual when performing any acts that could foreseeably end up causing harm to others. For example, when you get in behind the wheel of a motor vehicle, you have a duty of care to others on the road to operate the vehicle with a degree of reasonable care to ensure you don't injure them. 

    Duty of care is part of the social contract, which implies we have responsibilities towards others within our society. When someone breaches their duty of care to other individuals, the victims can hold them accountable by filing a claim or lawsuit to recover money. In civil cases, monetary awards are civil damages.

  • What are the damages in a personal injury lawsuit?

    When you are injured, the legal process will begin once you make a claim with the other party's insurance company or file a lawsuit. For example, if you were in a car accident that wasn't your fault, you would make a claim through the at-fault party's insurance company to get compensation for your injuries, property damage, and pain and suffering. This is known as the damages in both insurance settlements and awards from a lawsuit.

  • What are the types of damages? 

    Personal injury damages are split into two categories, compensatory damages, which can cover a wide variety of losses from your injury, and the second category is punitive damages. Before you decide your injuries don't fall within these categories, you should speak to one of our lawyers, as this is not an exhaustive list, and this article does not cover all of our practice areas. 

    Compensatory damages are further split into two additional categories; the first is special compensatory damages, often called economic damages. Economic damages can most easily be defined as things that come with a price tag, receipt, or are quantifiable. 

    Examples of economic damages can include:

    • Cost of hospital stays
    • Medical bills
    • Medical treatments
    • Surgery
    • Lab tests
    • Medications
    • Doctor's appointments
    • Ambulance rides
    • Physical therapy
    • Rehabilitation
    • Nursing home care
    • At-home nursing care
    • Future medical expenses

    Property damage

    Suppose someone's negligence damaged your vehicle, bike, boat, or other property. In that case, you should be able to get compensation to have it repaired or replaced.

    Lost wages/income

    Suppose you miss time from work or are injured in such a way that you cannot return to work or have to take a lower-paying job. In that case, the losses should be compensable from the date of the injury and into the future. Should your injury be from defamation, you may be able to get compensated for lost clients or business in response to the harm to your reputation or standing in the community.

    Loss of irreplaceable items

    Suppose a cherished family heirloom was destroyed during the incident that caused your injury. In that case, you could be awarded compensation for the cost beyond its original value.

    General compensatory damages

    General compensatory damages are things that do not come with a price tag or receipt but are somewhat incalculable. Concerning personal injury claims, insurance companies often use a multiplier to come up with numbers to award damages like pain and suffering. 

    Examples of general compensatory damages can include:

    • Pain and suffering 
    • Lower quality of life
    • Loss of enjoyment of life
    • Loss of companionship
    • Physical disfigurement
    • Physical impairment
    • Inconvenience
    • Mental anguish
    • Trauma
    • Stress
    • Anxiety
    • PTSD
    • Lack of mobility
    • Loss of a career

    Wrongful death damages

    Wrongful death damages are a mix of special and general damages which are only available in a wrongful death lawsuit. Surviving family members can file a lawsuit against the wrongdoer on behalf of their deceased loved one to recover these damages. The specifics of which family members can file a wrongful death lawsuit vary by state. If you have questions about your eligibility, contact one of our wrongful death attorneys for clarification. 

    Examples of wrongful death damages:

    • Funeral and burial expenses
    • Cost of medical care before death
    • Loss of companionship
    • Loss of financial contribution
    • The emotional distress of surviving members

    Punitive damages

    Punitive damages are not awarded to compensate for your losses, but instead, it's a form of punishment the court can impose on the wrongdoer to make an example of them and to deter them and others from repeating the wrong. 

    For example, in 2002, a jury awarded $28 billion in punitive damages to a single plaintiff who sued Philip Morris, a big tobacco company, for her inoperable lung cancer. The jury was outraged to find the company was aware that smoking tobacco was highly addictive and caused cancer in the 1950s and destroyed any research that revealed the dangers of tobacco. Instead, the company went to great lengths to show the public that smoking was neither harmful nor addictive. In response to the company's underhanded actions, the jury awarded the most significant punitive damage award in history.

    Punitive damages are not commonly awarded, but if the courts see a defendant acted with maliciousness or gross negligence or the defendant is a high profile individual or business, they may use punitive damages as punishment.

  • What is the legal process in a personal injury lawsuit or claim?

    Since there is no typical personal injury case, the facts, issue, injuries, and the parties involved will determine how long it takes to resolve. Once you hire a lawyer, they will start the initial process to get a settlement or court-ordered award which begins by filing the initial paperwork with the insurance company or the courts. This puts the other party on notice that legal proceedings have begun.

    The statute of limitations applies to every personal injury case, which is the timeframe in which you can file a personal injury claim. This timeline varies by state, so contacting a lawyer right away after your injury is essential.

    Next comes the discovery process. The discovery process includes but is not limited to the following:

    • Submitting a demand letter to the other party
    • Compiling and sharing the facts of the case like police and medical reports
    • Taking depositions and witness statements
    • Performing investigations

    An attempt at settlement usually happens during this phase. Most cases do not go to trial but are instead settled to avoid lengthy and costly trials.

    If a settlement cannot be reached, the case is then taken to trial. Both parties present their arguments supported by evidence to a judge and jury. Even at this point, a settlement can be made, and the lawsuit may be withdrawn. 

    Once both parties have made their arguments and witnesses examined and cross-examined, each side's lawyers will present closing arguments, and the judge will give instructions to the jury. The jury deliberates until they have a finding. 

    Often, the losing party will appeal the court's findings, and the case goes to the Court of Appeals. This Court will decide if any mistakes were made in the first trial and determine if a new trial should be set. 

    If we are successful, we will collect your award and disburse compensation after taking the agreed-upon fees for our services. 

  • How long does it take to get a lawsuit settlement?

    The amount of time it takes to get compensation for a personal injury claim depends on many factors. The complexity of the case, the amount of damages, the seriousness of your injuries, the court's schedule, and the other party's willingness to settle will all impact the timeframe. It may also come down to your level of patience. Many victims choose to settle because they need financial relief sooner rather than later, and a settlement guarantees compensation. At the same time, a trial could go either way. 

    When you're ready to seek compensation for someone else's negligence or illegal actions, our lawyers are prepared to fight for your rights. We have attorneys that specialize in many practice areas and we have offices all over the country. When you hire Morgan & Morgan as your law firm, you've hired one of the largest law firms in the U.S. with the resources and technology to fight even the biggest adversaries. 

    Contact us day or night for a free case evaluation. Our goal is to get you the maximum compensation for your injuries, and you don't pay unless we win. 

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“I was in a difficult situation when I was injured by a faulty product. I was hesitant to seek legal help but with the help of Morgan & Morgan, they made the process easy. They took immediate action and got me the compensation I deserved. I couldn't have done it without them. I highly recommend their services.” Estate of Patricia Allen v. RJ Reynolds, et al. | 2014

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