This is often one of the first questions clients have when they talk to a personal injury attorney during their initial consultation. The attorney may provide an educated guess based on the circumstances of the case and legal precedent, but there is no deadline for finishing a case once it begins. A year or more is not unusual if the case involves litigation.
There are several reasons why it takes so long. The wheels of justice turn slowly and deliberately. It is also essential for the victims to focus on their recovery and doctors to determine the injuries’ extent. It is then that an attorney can start determining loss of income during recovery, related medical expenses, damage to property, pain and suffering, and the injury’s impact upon future earning potential.
The details of the case will dictate the length
Unique factors tied to the case will have a direct bearing on how long the case takes. These include:
- The incident: It may be relatively straightforward where there is little doubt of negligence or fault. At other times, the insurance company attorneys may dispute every detail.
- Litigation takes time: Court schedules are crowded during normal times and quite limited here in 2020-2021. The trial may involve several sessions before a judge or jury hands down a verdict.
- Strategy: It may be in the defense’s best interest to drag out the case in hopes that the plaintiff gets impatient and settles.
- Caution: Conversely, the plaintiff should be wary if the defendant wants to settle quickly, perhaps even before contacting a lawyer to discuss the injuries.
Getting the best verdict
Victims will likely need an attorney if they want to go to court or even to get a fair settlement before the case gets that far. The goal is to secure a fair and equitable settlement for the injuries suffered. The best way to do this is to negotiate until the best possible offer, perhaps when the defense determines that it is not worth its time to continue the fight.