Many people hear about a trial and assume it’s a long, boring process that involves days in court. Unfortunately, that’s an understatement. The average personal injury trial takes years to begin, followed by weeks in the courtroom. That means you may not see a dime of your money for two or more years.
Thankfully, that’s not the only way to put a personal injury case behind you—you can also settle. We know what you’re thinking: how long does it take to settle a personal injury case? You’ve come to the right place! Read on to learn that answer and more!
There are a lot of steps before your personal injury case reaches a settlement or trial. We’ll take you through all the important moments step by step.
If you’re reading this article, this step has probably already happened. No matter how the injury occurred—whether it was a car accident, a fall, or some other calamity—there are a lot of stressors at work in your life right now. The most important thing for you to do is what’s best for you and your family. That means taking all the time you need to get healthy again.
If your injuries are not serious, take a moment at the scene of the injury to document evidence. Everything from images of your injury to the environment surrounding the scene can be helpful in a personal injury case.
Whether your injuries are severe or minor, medical attention is still a crucial step. Serious injuries are not always readily apparent, which is why you need the opinion of a professional. Listen to their advice and stick with any treatment plan they give you. Before you think about a legal battle, think about your health.
Find an Attorney
While some people would suggest waiting for your insurance to tell you what they’ve decided to offer, we suggest finding an attorney after receiving medical attention. Attorneys don’t want to sign on to personal injury lawsuits that won’t go anywhere, so if an attorney takes your case, you know you’ve got something.
The earlier you start talking to attorneys, the more you can build a case.
Determine the Strength of Your Claim
This next step is up to your attorney. Using any evidence you gathered at the scene, documentation of your injuries, and additional information they find on their own, your attorney will investigate your claim to ensure that you’re set up for success in a courtroom.
During this process, you should expect a thorough interview from your attorney—be prepared to answer a lot of questions about the accident. Even if you know something that could hurt your case, tell your attorney. They can’t develop a well-rounded strategy without all the information.
Demanding a Settlement
Your case may never enter a courtroom. The first step is often a settlement agreement between you and the defendant. Court is a threat to them—no one wants to spend time in court, and a lawsuit could separate them from a lot of money. With a settlement, they can typically avoid court and pay a lower payout.
Your legal representation and that of the defendant will go back and forth—your attorney wants as much money as possible while the defendant’s attorney wants to pay as little as possible. If both parties reach a number they’re happy with, there’s no need to go to court. If not, it’s time to file.
Filing a Lawsuit
Once your attorney files a lawsuit, there will be a court case on the horizon. Negotiations can still continue, and you may be able to reach an agreement before your court date.
Finally, if no compromise can be made, your attorney will represent you in court. In the end, the decision will be left up to a judge—they’ll determine who is at fault and the correct payout amount.
Why You Should Pursue a Trial
Just because trials are long doesn’t mean they’re a bad choice. Many people want to get their money and go, which is what makes settlements so appealing. However, taking a strong case to trial can result in a much higher payout than a settlement.
If you and your lawyer feel confident that the evidence you have will be enough to win at trial, you may be looking at far more money. On top of that, a trial gives you a verdict. While this finality and closure may not be a big deal to some people, others want to hear a judge say, “The defendant is guilty of causing your personal injury.” You won’t receive that closure with a settlement.
Why You Should Pursue a Settlement
Potentially receiving more money is excellent—potentially receiving no money is devastating. A settlement comes with assurances. When you and the other party reach an agreement and sign the necessary documents, you know exactly how much money you’ll get.
Taking even the strongest case to court always comes with some level of risk. Excellent lawyers can twist things around and help their clients avoid harsh outcomes, even if they’re guilty. Many people feel that the safest move is to settle the case, accept a smaller payout, and wash their hands of the situation much more quickly.
Funding for Your Case
Whether you settle or pursue a trial, things are going to get expensive before your payout. With legal fees on top of hospital bills, it can feel like the world is stacked against you. Thankfully, there are medical lien financing companies like Apogee Capital Partners here to help. We can finance your medical liens or give you a pre-settlement advance that you only need to repay if you win your settlement.
Now that you know how long it takes to settle a personal injury case, don’t do it alone! You’ll have a lawyer on your side, but that’s only half the battle. Reach out to Apogee Capital Partners for help paying your bills—they pile up quickly. We want everyone to have equal access to the justice they deserve, so contact us to learn more about non-recourse litigation funding and medical lien financing.