There is no way to determine ahead of time how long it will take to settle a personal injury case. How long a matter takes to resolve depends largely on the facts of the case as well as the willingness of both sides to come to an agreement. In theory, a case could be settled in a day or it could be settled years after a lawsuit is first filed.
Are the Facts on Your Side?
If the facts are on your side, it may be easier to settle a case than if they imply that you caused the accident. However, just because you aren’t at fault for the crash doesn’t mean that other parties will see it the same way. In some cases, the other side may be trying to stall and frustrate you into accepting an offer that is less than what you are entitled to.
Does the Other Side Want to Settle?
The person who hit you may not want to admit guilt in the matter. It is also possible that there are multiple parties who are responsible for damages, and they may not all be able to agree on how much responsibility each party should take for the crash. Larger companies or government agencies may not want the publicity that comes with a settlement, which means that they will fight it with everything that they have.
Do You Want to Settle?
Your willingness to settle a case will play a role in how long it takes to resolve. If you don’t think that a deal is in your best interest, it is generally not a good idea to accept it. However, this doesn’t mean that you will get a better offer or that a jury wil agree with your perspective. It is important to note that your attorney will continue to negotiate on your behalf or represent you at trial regardless of his or her opinion about your decision.
A Judge May Order Continued Negotiations
Even if it doesn’t look like either side is going to come to an agreement, the judge in your case may order additional mediation sessions. This may result in several weeks or months in which no progress is made. In such a situation, your only options may be to wait until you can finally go to trial or accept that it may be necessary to find a middle ground.
Do You Have the Option of Going to Trial?
If you don’t file a lawsuit within two years of your accident, you may not have the option to take your case to court. This may weaken your bargaining position, and it may result in a settlement shortly after the statute of limitations expires. Your legal counsel will talk about the statute of limitations to make sure that a lawsuit is filed in a timely manner.
The Appeals Process Could Be a Lengthy One
In the event that you are successfully at trial, it doesn’t mean that the case is over. Those who are found to be liable for your injuries or other damages may appeal the ruling. As there are several levels to the court system, it may take several rulings in your favor to ultimately end the matter. In addition, you are allowed to appeal any verdict that you do not agree with.
Car accident cases may take many months or years to settle. This is especially true when neither side can find a middle ground that may allow an agreement to be reached. If you have been in a car accident, it is worthwhile to talk to and hire an attorney to help during settlement talks or during trial.