Eager to get your personal injury lawsuit over with?
Many emotions are at play when you’ve been injured due to someone else’s negligence. Frustration, anger, pain, betrayal, and grief can be brutal feelings to deal with.
On top of all that stress of addressing your injury or loss, you probably also have to deal with mounting medical expenses, lost wages, and maybe even property damage. It feels unfair that you have to manage these costs while waiting to get a personal injury settlement check.
One of the most common questions a personal injury lawyer gets is: “When will I get my personal injury settlement?”
Waiting for your personal injury settlement check from the insurance company can make you feel panicked. However, we’ll explain what can affect the length of time you wait so you can prepare for the best—and worst-case scenarios.
What’s the Average Timeframe for Personal Injury Case Settlements?
In reality, most personal injury cases never reach the courtroom. The parties generally settle outside of court. Once the parties agree to a final settlement, most simple personal injury claims result in a settlement check in up to six weeks or so.
Reasons for Personal Injury Lawsuit Delays
While getting a settlement check within a month or two is common, it isn’t always the case. Negotiations could take months in more complex cases. If parties can’t agree on a settlement amount, the case could result in litigation.
Then, even more factors could contribute to lengthening the time your personal injury case takes to settle.
Your Medical Treatment Isn’t Finished
It’s wise to wait until you’ve reached maximum medical improvement before accepting a settlement offer from the insurance company. After all, you may not know the extent of your injuries and how they will affect your life moving forward until you’ve finished your medical treatment.
However, arriving at maximum medical improvement can take a while in some cases, meaning you won’t get a settlement check for that much longer.
The Insurance Company Is Stalling
At the end of the day, the goal of the defendant’s insurance company is to protect its own interests. For this reason, the insurance adjuster may use specific tactics to delay your claim and make the process difficult for you to get you to settle for less.
Some insurance company stalling tactics include:
- Sending initial settlement offers that are extremely low
- Requiring certain conditions be met by the injured party for the settlement agreement to go through
- Disputing the extent of the injuries sustained
- Questioning whether the incident in question caused your injuries
- Twisting your words to shift more of the fault onto you
The Personal Injury Claim Is Complicated
Suppose your personal injury case isn’t a simple one. This means one or more factors complicate it, which could delay your lawsuit.
Here are some things that can complicate a personal injury claim or lawsuit.
Non-economic Damages Are Extensive
One of the biggest reasons an injury case could take a while to settle is that there are significant non-economic damages.
Non-economic damages often include:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment in life
- Mental anguish from disfigurement
- Reduced earning capabilities
These damages refer to losses that are not directly measurable or verifiable, like medical bills or wage statements.
Wrongful Death Occurred
Wrongful death claims due to negligence are some of the most serious personal injury cases. Because of the seriousness of the loss of life and the heavy effects the loss has on surviving loved ones, settlements are often much higher.
That’s why these cases can take years to finalize in some instances. Liability and wrongdoing must be proven, and the long-term consequences of the lost life need to be examined.
The Lawsuit Requires Expert Witness Testimony
Some personal injury lawsuits are more complex by nature, including product liability claims and medical malpractice lawsuits. In these cases, expert medical testimony or expert witnesses in the industry of the product in question are needed.
Locating and vetting expert witnesses can sometimes mean a longer litigation process.
Litigation Is Necessary
When the court gets involved, the process for your personal injury case could take a while—up to a year or more, depending on how busy the court is and how complicated the case is. Litigation may be necessary when the at-fault party refuses to agree to a fair legal settlement.
Is it Better to Settle or Go to Court?
After learning about all the things that could complicate your claim or lengthen the time it takes to get your settlement money, you may cringe at the thought of going through a court case to get what you’re entitled to.
You may wonder: How long does it take to settle a court case, and is it worth it to litigate? There are pros and cons to both settling outside of court and litigating your personal injury lawsuit.
Benefits of Settling Your Personal Injury Claim
The most significant benefit of an out-of-court settlement is that the time it takes to get compensation is typically shortened. Naturally, you’ll get a settlement check quicker without the court’s involvement.
Another benefit of settling is that you can reduce some of the costs and legal fees associated with going to court. This includes attorney’s fees, court reporting costs, expert witness fees, and court filing fees.
When Litigation Is Necessary in a Personal Injury Lawsuit
Insurance companies, don’t willingly pay the maximum compensation. Suppose your claim is significant but results in a lot of push-back from the insurance provider. In that case, you may only be able to get what you’re entitled to if you go forward with litigation.
For example, a car accident lawyer may recommend pursuing trial litigation when the insurance company refuses to admit fault or pay certain medical bills after a car crash.
Contact an Atlanta Personal Injury Attorney ASAP
You will benefit from legal representation if you’ve been injured in an accident due to someone else’s negligence. An experienced personal injury attorney can negotiate on your behalf or even take further legal action—like litigation—to get you a fair settlement check for your injuries.
Slam Dunk Attorney is an Atlanta-area law firm dedicated to getting you a signed settlement agreement as soon as possible. We want you to have your settlement funds fast so they can be used to pay your medical bills, compensate you for lost work, and make you whole again after your accident.
Contact us today for a no-cost case review.