Q: How long does a personal injury case take to settle?
Because each case has its own unique set of facts and circumstances, some cases can be resolved quickly while others require extensive and time-consuming litigation. In every case, however, a settlement should not be reached until the injured person has finished receiving treatment. The reason for this is simple–settling a case is a one shot deal and you want to maximize your recovery. If your injuries are much worse than they originally appear, a quick settlement puts you at risk of losing out on compensation that you are entitled to receive. There is no way to know how much your case is worth until the doctors release you from their care. Unfortunately, many injured individuals give in to pressure from the insurance companies to settle quickly, giving up their right to seek additional compensation when the injury worsens in the future. In Michigan, you have up to three years to preserve your personal injury claim.
Once you have finished treating, negotiations can begin with the insurance company. It is highly recommended that any discussions with an insurance company be done by qualified personal injury attorneys who have experience in the field and will protect your interests. Remember, anything you say to an insurance adjuster may be used against you in the future. If the insurance adjuster refuses to pay a fair settlement, or disputes that their insured is liable for your injuries, then a lawsuit must be filed against the negligent party. Even though a lawsuit is filed, however, doesn’t mean that a case is going to trial. Most cases are settled before a trial, whether by informal discussions, facilitative mediation, or case evaluation. Sometimes, if a case is complex, with complicated facts and multiple witnesses, litigation can take up to a couple of years to be resolved, and may, ultimately, need to go to trial.