How Long Do Personal Injury Cases Take to Settle?

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How Long Do Personal Injury Cases Take to Settle?
Written By: Josh Lowell ~ 9/5/2022


Like death and taxes, car accidents are inevitable. You might be the best driver in the world, but the millions of people on the road often seem like toddlers behind the wheel. If you’re involved in a motor vehicle accident, your next few days, weeks, months, or even years might be subject to pain, suffering, and a whole lot of medical appointments. As you wander this path towards recovery, you might be thinking to yourself – “how long will a personal injury case take to settle?”. The answer won’t surprise you. It depends entirely on each individual case, but there are a few known quantities to help ease your mind.

1. The Statute of Limitations

In Washington, standard cases of auto negligence and car accidents have a three-year statute of limitations. In other words, from the day of your car crash, you have three years to file your case and serve the lawsuit before you might lose your opportunity to pursue your claim. Now, there are certainly more nuanced laws and facts that affect this final date. You should always consult with an attorney, but for most cases paying attention to that deadline is incredibly important. Watching that deadline get closer should be an impetus to get things move in the right direction to avoid concerns.

2. Your Recovery Matters

Theoretically, you can file a lawsuit for personal injury damages at any time after your car accident. Any attorney worth their salt, however, won’t initiate your claim right away knowing that you only get one bite at the apple. If you are still injured when your case settles, there is usually no other option to get you additional money in the future. In most cases, personal injury attorneys will wait until your injuries have resolved fully before finalizing your claim unless the statute of limitations is approaching.

3. Case Complexity Is Important

A simple fender bender with cognizable damages might be ready to claim within six months or less. A hit-and-run with traumatic brain injury might take a year or more. A case of medical negligence with disputed facts and the need for expert witnesses may take a couple years to establish sufficiently before bringing your case. The more straightforward the case, the less likely the deadlines will be extended.

4. High Case Value Creates Delay

Insurance companies have one job after a motor vehicle collision – save money. In most cases, they don’t care about you or your property. They care about pinching pennies to raise their bottom line. If your injuries are substantial, the insurance company opposing you will fight tooth and nail. They have little interest in expediting your case because, again, they don’t care about you. The more you demand, the more the case drags out to allow for extensive insurance investigation.

5. Extraneous Factors Need to be Discussed

Your attorney doesn’t know important details unless you provide them relevant information. If you lost your job and need money to survive – there are ways to expedite a case towards settlement. If you are leaving the country and won’t be available conveniently any longer – tell your attorney to make reasonable accommodations to the standard plan of action. These types of problems are common in personal injury litigation. Your case might need a specially tailored approach that won’t be known unless you tell your counsel in advance.

At the law offices of Magnuson Lowell, P.S., our skilled team of professionals are available to answer your questions. Our goal is to provide you with comfort in our experience. Patience is a virtue in personal injury claims handling, but often your needs rise above the level of standard practice. Make sure you work cooperatively with your attorney to fit their plan with your requirements. Call today for a free case evaluation.

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