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How Long Will My Bodily Injury Case Take?

April 4, 2020

Empty dead road with a 25 mph speed limitIt's common to wonder how long an injury case will take to resolve. Put bluntly, you should prepare for the process to take years.

You might expect that in a case with clear liability, the insurance company will quickly offer a reasonable amount of compensation. Unfortunately, this turns out not to be the case. There are also reasons why it might not be in your best interest to resolve the case quickly.

First, unless you are dealing with certain types of coverages like medical payments, you should generally not accept any money on a bodily injury claim until you've reached maximum medical improvement. This means that you have either fully recovered or your condition has stabilized to the point where no major changes are expected. If you release the responsible party too early, you could be left on the hook for any additional medical expenses.

Second, insurance companies work to minimize the amounts they pay out. Often, the more serious the case, the harder the insurance company will fight to avoid liability. Achieving a good result on a major case may take significant litigation, including discovery, depositions, motion practice, and possibly trial.

Third, administrative factors delay the resolution. Hospitals and clinics may be slow to provide medical records or require multiple requests to produce complete records. Courts are busy and forced to schedule trials far into the future. Litigation deadlines are designed to give all parties adequate opportunity to prepare and respond to all issues. While this principle is rooted in fairness, the cumulative effect of various deadlines slows the litigation process.

Overall, if you want to achieve the best result in your case, you should be prepared for the process to take years. Of course, sometimes good outcomes do come quickly, but even in these cases, you have a stronger negotiation position if you are emotionally prepared for the long haul.