A gavel against a marble background.

How Long Does a Personal Injury Case Take? 


If you’ve been injured, you probably want things to go back to normal as soon as possible. One frequent question we hear is, “How long will my case take?” Unfortunately, there’s no single answer to that question. Every personal injury case is different, and even the most experienced attorney cannot tell you for certain how long your case will take. 

Here are some of the factors that can affect how long cases take. 

What’s the Shortest a Case Might Be? 

If you have a fairly simple personal injury claim, it might be over within a matter of weeks. This assumes that any medical issues you have can heal quickly, that the insurance company handles the investigation of your accident quickly, and that you accept the first settlement that they offer. 

However, it might not be in your best interest to take the first number that the insurance company offers you. That settlement may not be fair and may not consider the long-term prognosis and treatment for your injury or any pain or suffering calculations.  You do not want to find yourself in a situation where you cannot pay for future medical bills arising from your accident because you accepted the first settlement offer from an insurance company.    

Steps Involved in a Personal Injury Case 

You are not required to accept the first offer your insurance company makes.  If the insurance company sends you a check, consider carefully if you should cash it.  First consulting with an experienced personal injury lawyer could help you in evaluating that first offer. Find an experienced personal injury lawyer to assist you. 

Once you retain a lawyer, do not speak with the insurance company directly without your lawyer involved. Your lawyer will review the information about the case and then determine an amount to ask for. This process can take weeks to months, depending on the specifics of the accident. Although your attorney may ask you for information throughout this process, they will handle a lot of it on their own.  

After they’ve determined a fair settlement amount, they will, with your approval, send a demand letter to the insurance company. This letter will outline the specifics of your case and how your attorney arrived at the amount that’s being requested. 

The insurance company may accept this demand and pay the amount demanded or they may make a counteroffer. Your attorney will discuss any counteroffer with you. You can go back and forth several times with offers and counteroffers, but at some point, you might come to an impasse. 

If you cannot reach a settlement, you’ll need to file a personal injury lawsuit. To prepare for your case to be heard, lawyers on both sides will engage in discovery, where they collect evidence relevant to the case. Discovery can last for months to over a year, depending on how complicated the case is.  

During the discovery process, there may still be settlement offers going back and forth between your attorney and the insurance company. If you’re provided with a settlement that is acceptable to you, then you can accept it and the lawsuit will end. This is common; in fact, according to the U.S. Justice Department, 95% or more of personal injury cases are settled before going to trial. 

If a settlement still can’t be reached by the time discovery is complete, the case is scheduled for trial. Depending on the availability of the court, it can take months to get on the court docket for a trial.  . 

Once the trial begins, the process speeds up quite a bit. Most trials are completed within a few days to a few weeks. After all the evidence has been presented, a judge or a jury issues a verdict. 

Settlement offers may continue up until the verdict is filed with the court. This means that you are able to accept a settlement offer even after arguments in the trial are concluded, while the judge or jury is deliberating. 

If you receive a verdict and the other party is responsible, you will be awarded an If the insurance company sends you a check, do not cash it. of damages.  It can still take time before you actually receive the money owed to you. 

All in all, a personal injury case can generally take anywhere from several months to over two years. 

Things That Can Affect the Timeline 

There are many factors that can influence how long a personal injury case will take. These include: 

  • The severity of the accident and the injuries. Many cases won’t be taken to court until there’s a better idea of the extent of the medical treatment you require in the future. 
  • The complexity of the case. For example, medical malpractice lawsuits often require much more information and evidence than car accident cases. 
  • How promptly both sides complete their investigation. 
  • How busy the courts are. In some cases, it can take over a year for your case to make it on the docket. 

Is It Worth Fighting? 

This is a decision that you have to make for yourself. If there are only a few hundred dollars at stake, it’s probably not worth it. However, catastrophic accident recovery can cost millions of dollars in medical fees, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other fees. If you’ve been involved in this sort of accident, it may very well be worth it to you to file a lawsuit. 

Fortunately, you don’t need to make this decision on your own. Most personal injury attorneys offer free initial consultations, so you’ll have a chance to have your case preliminarily evaluated for free. This should help you understand your options. 

Do You Need a Personal Injury Attorney? 

If you’ve been injured, the process can feel overwhelming. Let us help you.  

At DiPasquale Moore, our attorneys have over 100 collective years of legal experience, and we have recovered millions of dollars for our clients. Get in touch for a free consultation and see if we can help you, too. Call us at 816-296-6699 or contact us online to schedule your consultation today. 


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