How long does it take to get personal injury compensation?

Recently on our legal forum a user asked, "How long does it take to get personal injury compensation?" Unfortunately, there is no right answer to this question. Personal injury cases can take weeks, months or years to resolve depending on whether the case is settled before trial, and the nature and seriousness of the injuries, and the complexities of the personal injury case.

Various claims and settlement periods

If you file a personal injury claim for a car accident and you have completed the necessary medical treatment, you have only minor injuries, and you are willing to settle with the insurance company, you could receive compensation within a few months.

If, however, you suffer severe or permanent injuries or the insurance company is not offering fair compensation for your injuries and you are forced to file a personal injury lawsuit, it could take one to three years to receive compensation for your injuries.

Other claims which can be complicated and take up to three years to settle can include wrongful death claims, trucking accidents, medical malpractice cases, premise liability and product liability cases.

Save time by settling your injury claim

Lawsuits should be your last resort. If you want compensation quickly it may make sense to try to negotiate a compromise with the other party. The settlement offer should generally be made in person and in writing. If they balk at the original offer you can lower it by 20%. If they refuse again you can offer another compromise settlement. If they continue to refuse to pay you should consider the pros and cons of going to court.

Not only can hiring a lawyer reduce your potential settlement amount, it will also take time to fight a lawsuit in court. Before filing a lawsuit you need to understand how much time you have to devote to a legal case and whether it is worth your time.

Next, consider whether you have a case you can win. To win a personal injury case in court you will generally have to prove negligence. To do this you will need to prove the claimant owed you a duty of care, they breached their duty, their breach was the proximate cause of your injuries, and you suffered injury or loss. If you cannot prove each element of your case, you will not win.

Next, you will need to evaluate how your actions contributed to your own injuries. In some states if your actions contributed at all to your injuries you will not be awarded compensation.

Filing a personal injury lawsuit

If you have a strong case, the statute of limitations has not expired, you can prove the elements of your case, and you have severe or costly injuries, it may be time to consider filing a personal injury claim. If you decide to hire an injury lawyer they generally work on a contingency fee basis which means they will only be paid if they win your case. Injury lawyers may receive up to 40% of the compensation amount awarded.

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