Posted On October 8, 2022 Personal Injury
When a serious injury affects you all day, every day, time doesn’t exactly fly. It’s not only your journey to recovery that can seem painfully slow, either. The personal injury claims process isn’t designed to get you the compensation you deserve quickly and easily. It’s full of obstacles and opportunities for the other side to hold up the process and delay your payout.
You may be wondering, “why is my personal injury claim taking so long?”, or “what is the average time to get a personal injury settlement?”.
On average, personal injury cases take a matter of months to years to resolve.
Expect a personal injury claim to take at least 6 months (although some cases can settle faster) and up to 2 years or more to settle the injury claim. The cases that take the longest may take several years to resolve. This situation is particularly common among cases that involve complex matters of liability with multiple defendants and insurance coverages. The average time to reach a resolution is also longer for cases that go to trial.
Does it seem like your personal injury case is dragging on? Or are you just trying to get an idea how long the process will take? Below, we provide all the information you need to determine how long a personal injury claim settlement could take and how to potentially get your money faster.
Personal injury cases take time, but there are, at least, deadlines that affect certain phases of the claim.
In some instances, you have to notify defendants in writing that you’re pursuing a claim within a certain timeframe. For example, if you are suing a government entity in New Jersey, a statute known as the New Jersey Tort Claims Act, or Title 59, requires you to submit formal notice of a claim within just 90 days of the accident.
In most cases, you have to actually file a lawsuit within two years of the date your accident occurred in New Jersey. Different parts of the process, like the discovery phase, may also be subject to time limits. However, those limits can be extended in some circumstances.
These deadlines don’t limit how long the case as a whole can go on. And, unfortunately, most of them help the defendant more than they help you.
Are you surprised to hear that these deadlines are measured in months and years? Many accident victims are. The popular misconception of “jackpot justice” makes many people think an accident near you translates to a quick (and high) payout. But when you’re actually in a personal injury situation, you realize that couldn’t be further from the truth. When you hire us, we will detail everything you need to know about how we will handle your personal injury claim.
There’s no set amount of time that a personal injury case should take. The timeline of a personal injury case depends on a lot of factors, some of which might surprise you.
The factors that might affect the timeline of your case include:
If you’re still undergoing medical treatment nearby and your case doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, you may be asking yourself, “Why is my lawyer taking so long to settle my case?” In this case, you’re likely right to think that your attorney is intentionally taking longer to resolve your case. This isn’t out of any lack of knowledge or reluctance to work hard. Your nearby attorney isn’t moving forward because waiting until you are farther along in your recovery is in your best interests.
To make sure you’re getting the money you deserve, your attorney doesn’t want to settle your case until it’s clear what your damages are. This includes your physical injuries, but also encompasses other losses, as well. Aspects like medical expenses, pain and suffering, and the permanent effects on your life are all part of your damages. Without this information, your lawyer can’t even begin negotiating a payout amount.
Your New Jersey attorney will need to wait until you are finished with your medical treatment to take certain actions, like sending a demand letter to the insurance company. Generally, you aren’t finished with medical treatment until you have made the most complete physical recovery you’re going to make.
If your injuries don’t take long to treat, our law team near you can begin settlement negotiations sooner. For some accident victims, medical care can go on for months or even years. If that’s the case for your recovery, it could delay the next step in your claim.
It might not be your lawyer who is taking so long to settle your claim, but instead the defendant.
If you thought the defendant in your case would just own up to the mistake that caused your accident and give you what you deserve, think again. Unfortunately, insurers and other defendants often try to get out of paying – ever, if possible. Defendants’ insurance companies tend to delay paying you the money you deserve so they can hang onto it longer.
Your case could take longer if the defendant is:
In this case, the only way for your lawyer to stop taking so long to settle your case would be to cave into the insurance company’s pressure and stop trying to get more money for you – not the result you want from your personal injury claim.
Don’t worry too much about the insurance company’s uncooperative behavior. That’s something experienced attorneys in this area of law are used to dealing with as we represent our clients. Knowledgeable personal injury lawyers near you can get past these obstacles by pursuing the case relentlessly, presenting the evidence convincingly, and refusing to give up.
Although it’s easier said than done, try to be patient. Talk to your New Jersey personal injury attorney near you about your frustrations and how the delay is impacting you. Fighting for the full amount of money you deserve takes more time than settling for less, but it will be worth it.
Most personal injury cases don’t go to trial. If yours does, it will take longer than a case that settles usually would.
Trials create a lot of expense and hassle. For a trial, you need:
A trial is also a gamble. If the jury decides in the defendant’s favor, you could walk away with nothing. Even if the jury awards you a very high settlement, a judge can sometimes decrease your compensation. Since the defendant can appeal the jury’s decision on certain grounds, it’s possible that at the end of the day, the trial won’t resolve anything – at least, not right away.
Trials create all this hassle not just for you, but for the legal system as a whole. It’s common practice to try all other avenues to resolve a case before it goes to trial, including:
If you’ve been wondering, “Why is my lawyer taking so long to resolve this case through mediation or arbitration instead of going straight to trial?”—this is part of the answer. For decades, the state of New Jersey has had in place Complementary Dispute Resolution (CDR) Programs that aim to resolve claims without trial. In some instances, lawyers may have to attempt mediation, arbitration, or another form of conflict resolution before a judge will agree to hear your case.
If conflict resolution outside the courtroom can’t happen, you may be in this for the long haul. It can take one to two years from the time an attorney files a lawsuit just to get an initial trial date, especially in areas where the legal system is already overburdened with too many court cases. Scheduling conflicts aren’t unusual in the legal industry. If your trial gets rescheduled, it could be delayed by days, months, or even years.
It’s rare that a case can settle in less than a few months. A thorough investigation of the accident must be performed. Evidence must be collected, organized, and used to write the demand letter to the defendant’s insurance company to open negotiations. Your nearby attorney will likely go back and forth with the defendant’s insurance company, fighting for the settlement offer you deserve and rebuffing any efforts the other side might make to wrongly deny you the money you deserve.
All of that takes time—as does your physical recovery.
Your case also can’t conclude before the extent of your damages is clear. This means you must achieve or be approaching your maximum medical improvement and be able to document the time you have missed at work (or, if permanently disabled, that your injuries are continuing to keep you from working).
If your case is fairly uncomplicated in terms of liability, coverage, and documenting the extent of your damages, a law firm that quickly gets down to business may be able to secure you the maximum settlement amount you’re entitled to in the span of only a few (3 to 4) months.
For example, Console & Associates, P.C.’s investigative attorney Lindsay Sewekow has cultivated a reputation for settling more straightforward claims for the amount of money our clients deserve within the relatively short time frame of a few months. Even in cases that involve complex injuries, extensive medical treatment, and complicated facets like a history of prior injury, our attorneys near you are often able to resolve the claim relatively quickly—sometimes within a year of the accident or just past the one-year mark. Many law firms would not have even bothered to formally file a lawsuit on behalf of their client by this time.
If you’re looking for the average time for a personal injury claim settlement, you’re going to find conflicting answers. Some sources will say just under a year is the “average” amount of time it takes, while others will say 18 months, two years, or even longer. Our firm has occasionally handled claims that stretched on for several years.
The reasons some cases may take longer to resolve than others include:
If a case can’t be settled out of court, resolving it can take considerably longer. Court calendars may schedule cases as far out as 18 to 24 months (or even farther out), and this delay naturally adds a great deal of time to the process.
Our clients obviously want to resolve their case—and put the accident behind them—sooner rather than later, and we make every effort to get them the money they deserve in the shortest time possible. It’s important to remember, however, that your case taking more time but ultimately ending with the payout you deserve is preferable to a quick resolution that leaves you with less money than you need for the damages you have suffered.
If pressing concerns about medical bills and other urgent financial hardships are worrying you, talk to your attorney—we may be able to help.
Victims of auto accidents often wonder whether one type of crash—truck, motorcycle, or car—tends to take longer than others. When it comes to personal injury matters, you will find individual cases of all levels of complexity among all case types. It’s possible for any of these types of cases to include both claims that settle quickly and claims that take a long time to resolve.
As a general rule, there are differences in the complexity of these different types of cases. Those distinctions in complexity tend to translate to differences in the time it takes to find a resolution.
The most complex auto accidents are truck accidents, so these claims tend to take the longest. Truck accidents typically involve several of the factors that go along with complicated claims, including:
Getting a settlement for a truck accident is likely to take years, although claimants in certain circumstances may receive compensation faster—that is, several months after the date of the accident.
Motorcycle accidents are less likely than commercial truck accidents to involve factors like multiple defendants and commercial insurance coverage, a fact that typically helps these cases progress faster than truck accident cases.
However, New Jersey motorcycle accidents—like truck accidents—often leave the victim with very serious injuries that can contribute to making the legal matter take longer to resolve.
Investigating a motorcycle accident doesn’t require expertise in black box recovery the way that investigating a commercial truck accident does. In the more complicated motorcycle accidents that arise, attorneys may still bring in experts in accident reconstruction and other types of expert witnesses.
If you’re pursuing compensation for motorcycle accident injuries, there’s a good chance your case will take at least one to two years. However, the chances of you getting a settlement faster than that—within a matter of several months—are better for a motorcycle accident claim than for a commercial truck accident claim.
Car accidents, in general, are the least complicated type of auto-related accident claims. Still, every case is different, and some car accident cases are more complex than others. A car accident case may still involve disputed liability, multiple defendants, commercial vehicle insurance coverage, serious injuries, and complex investigations. These factors can all increase the time it takes to settle your case.
A straightforward car accident case that involves none of these factors will usually be the quickest type of case to resolve. While these cases may still take years to settle, they are the kinds of claims that are more commonly able to be settled in a shorter time frame, such as a matter of months.
On the surface, there’s not much you personally can do to speed up the case. You can’t just decide that you’ll get better faster. You can’t force a defendant to cooperate. And you can’t settle a case bound for the courtroom, at least not for the amount of money you deserve.
However, when you choose the right law firm to handle your case, an attorney will work tirelessly to get you maximum value in the least amount of time possible. Not every law firm is this proactive, so you need to ask the right questions and choose the right attorney if you want a lawyer to make this commitment to your claim.
One way a law firm can help you get your money faster is to start working sooner. Some attorneys don’t bother filing a lawsuit until that two-year deadline is looming, even if you finished treating months earlier. They could get working on your case sooner, but they choose not to.
If you want to get your settlement and put all this behind you faster (and who doesn’t?), ask any law firm you speak with when they would start working on your claim and when they would likely file a lawsuit. You need to know that there’s a real sense of urgency in this firm to get their clients timely results. Does your attorney really understand that you need compensation sooner rather than later?
Ideally, a lawyer will begin working on your case from the moment you hire them by:
When you finish treating, a proactive lawyer will send out a demand letter and start negotiating a settlement right away, instead of waiting until deadlines get closer just because they can. If your lawyer knows what your damages are and that litigation is inevitable, they might as well file your lawsuit early to get the case moving.
Law firms that take this initiative can sometimes resolve a case in as little as three to four months – sometimes even after other attorneys spent years supposedly working on them. That said, each claim is unique. It isn’t always possible for even the most proactive attorney to settle a case in a few months.
Our New Jersey personal injury accident lawyers handle every accident claim on a no-win, no-fee basis. That’s our No Win No Fee Promise. We receive a percentage of the settlement, and if the claim is not successful, you pay nothing for attorneys’ fees.
Additionally, at Console and Associates, P.C., we advance thousands of dollars in costs for each of our client’s claims – and, for cases that are far into the litigation phase, up to tens of thousands of dollars. We’re happy to take on this burden so that our clients have the opportunity to get justice, no matter what their current financial situation is.
Fortunately, you never have to worry about coming up with the money for these expenses when you have the New Jersey personal injury lawyers at Console and Associates on your side.
It’s not always purely the length of time that leaves you wondering why your attorney is taking so long to settle your case. It’s being kept in the dark about where your case stands and what’s being done to make it a priority.
Don’t be afraid to ask an attorney how and how often the law firm will communicate with you. You don’t pay hourly fees to a personal injury attorney, so phone calls and email updates won’t cost you anything.
If weeks of radio silence are likely to make you feel anxious about your case, try to find a lawyer who will provide routine updates, even if the status of the claim remains the same. Your legal team should make every effort to ensure that you fully understand where your claim is in the legal process and what to expect.
You should never have to feel that you don’t know what’s going on with your claim. Even if a quick settlement isn’t possible due to factors beyond your and your attorney’s control, your lawyer should still assure you that they are taking the right steps at the right time to move your case forward.
Before choosing a lawyer, ask questions about what kind of communication to expect. Some law firms make a point to educate and inform clients and to explain – in plain, understandable language, not legalese – how the legal process works. Not every client necessarily wants a crash course on the legal process, but many accident victims do find that understanding the basics of the process is helpful.
If you ever have questions or concerns about your claim, you can reach out to your legal team by phone or email – without worrying about being charged for a call or meeting.
The reality is that not every case can settle in a few months. Some will take years, no matter who is representing you. But don’t you want to know that your attorney is proactive in getting you everything you deserve?
Your case evaluation is free, no matter what. If you choose to move forward with a claim, there’s no cost until we get results. So there really is no risk.
Give us the chance to help you. All it takes is a phone call. Call (866) 806-3125 for your free, private consultation.
Take a look at what some of our happy Marlton clients have to say:
“I would like to personally thank Console & Associates for being an absolutely amazing law firm and helping me with my car accident lawsuit. They have been extremely helpful walking me thru all the steps involved and explaining and answering all my questions, of which i have had a great many. This being my first injury due to a car accident they have gone above and beyond in my opinion in all aspects. Not to mention Allison has been my main point of contact throughout most of the process and has always responded quickly and kindly to my constant deluge of emails. I can’t thank her enough!!”
Richard Santora, April 4, 2021, Rating: 5/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
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