When you suffer an injury through no fault of your own, it is only sensible that you would want to seek damages from your pain. Our legal system supports you in this, but our system isn’t known for being the quickest.
After putting forth your claim, you’re going to need a little bit of patience to wait for the results. Let’s take a look at what factors are used to determine the length of time it takes to settle a personal injury claim here in California. We’ll also see what an average time looks like and discuss different factors that could be slowing down your claim.
What Factors Help Determine the Length of a Personal Injury Claim?
We start with looking at the factors that determine the length of your personal injury claim first because they are the most important aspect of estimating your own time. The specifics of any personal injury are going to be rather unique since every accident is its own beast.
But personal injury claims are always longer or shorter depending on:
- The Difficulty of the Case: Cases that are clear-cut are much easier to settle than those that include a lot of different elements. For example, if you were rear-ended then it will be easier to settle than a head-on collision where you ended up crossing on-coming lanes. The more facts that there are in a case, the more details there are to be disputed and this, in turn, increases the length.
- The Severity of the Injuries: Short-term injuries take less time to reach a settlement than more serious and long-term injuries. For one, it takes longer to find out the full scope of just how bad a serious and long-term injury is and this can increase the length. But more serious injuries represent the potential of a much bigger loss for the defendant and so they are also likely to fight harder against your claim.
- The Local Case Load: If there are a lot of court cases happening in your area then it could take longer to get a date for trial or you may have to wait for a later date than you would otherwise.
- The Amount of Damages: The higher the damages you are seeking, the more likely you are to face strong opposition to your claim. This is multiplied in turn by the difficulty of the claim and the severity of your injuries. When you consider all of these together, it is easy to see why serious cases often move so slow.
What’s the Average Time to Settle a Personal Injury Case?
The best way to get a sense of the average time to settle a personal injury case is to look at the time that each component of a settlement typically takes. Not every personal injury case will go through each of the following steps, however, so it’s not a simple cut-and-dry formula for estimating the length of your settlement.
The component steps are:
- Settlement Negotiations: Settlement negotiations can easily be the longest part of a personal injury case. That’s because they can start even before a lawsuit has ever been filed and they can continue to go on until the case is finally settled. Depending on the injuries and the claim in question, you may not have any settlement negotiations until you file the lawsuit and get the insurance company talking. But the larger the potential claim, the higher the odds that somebody will reach out to start settlement negotiations early.
- Filing of the Lawsuit: Some people think that filing a lawsuit means that it’ll quickly be settled. But in actuality, a lawsuit will typically take 30 to 60 days before it is served to the defendant. At that point, the defendant will have 30 to 45 days to file a response. This is a fair-sized wait just for the response that lets you know it’s time to go into a pre-trial discovery process which can take a long time. More on that in a moment.
- Alternative Dispute Resolutions: Trials can be long and expensive, so there is a chance that the insurance company will want to skip the trial and move into mediation. Whether it’s a good idea to do so is between you and your lawyer, but if you do go into the process then you could expect it to happen 9 to 18 months after your accident. Thankfully, the process itself only takes a couple of days typically.
- Going to Trial: Most trials are pretty quick, generally taking only a few days. But other trials can be quite lengthy and take quite a bit of time. However, a trial usually won’t be set until close to two years after your accident. Because of the long time involved, and the cost to all parties, it is not terribly common for a personal injury claim to go to trial.
What Is Slowing Down My Claim?
There are a few factors that could be slowing down your claim. Among these are:
- There are a lot of factual issues such as when a story of the incident contradicts evidence or where there is not much evidence of what actually happened.
- If the case is for a lot of money then it will move slower. This is pretty much a universal constant when it comes to personal injury claims.
- Your health has not reached a point of maximum improvement yet and so the amount of damages which you are seeking is yet to be determined. It might be better to wait to file your injury claim in this case.
Where Can I Get Help With My Personal Injury Claim in California?
If you are looking for assistance with a personal injury claim here in California then look no further than The Accident Network Law Group. With a team of experienced and dedicated attorneys, you’re sure to find answers by calling (951) 291-0976 and speaking with an honest and compassionate professional about your claim today.