If you have a personal injury claim resulting from an accident and may be considering filing a personal claim or a personal injury lawsuit in Colorado, you may wonder how long it will take to settle your case. Depending on the circumstances of the case it can take months to even a couple of years for a case to settle. In this blog, we'll discuss the major factors that influence the duration of the settlement process.
Initial Case Assessment and Investigation
Sometimes, it takes time to collect evidence, review medical records, interview witnesses, and investigate the accident that caused your injury. If liability is disputed, circumstances of the accident are unusual, injuries are severe, or past medical history is complicated, the investigation process can be prolonged. However, experienced lawyers will tell you that it is critical that all relevant evidence be uncovered and diligently evaluated.
Medical Treatment and Recovery Period
If you suffered injuries that require ongoing medical treatment, therapy, or surgeries, it may take a long time to settle your case. Ongoing treatment can push out settlement for months and even years depending on the injuries. Settling your case before the full extent of medical treatment, both past and future, is considered and evaluated can potentially lead to an inadequate settlement. Experienced personal injury lawyers can help evaluate when it is the best time to attempt settlement based on many factors. It is critical that you undergo evaluations medically to understand your long-term prognosis, scope of any future care or treatment, and a recovery path that can be outlined in any settlement agreement to ensure that your case settles for a reasonable amount of money to compensate you for the scope of your injuries and the duration of your care.
Negotiations and demand letters
Negotiations and communications between parties can be time-consuming. Disagreements over liability or the claim's value will ultimately lengthen the time it takes to settle a case. Insurance companies generally do not roll over and pay claims quickly. Insurance companies will often fight claims, even those that most reasonable people would believe should be quickly settled. Many times, it takes an experienced attorney to make the right arguments and exert the right pressure to reach a reasonable, timely settlement.
Potential For Mediation or Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
Potential for mediation or ADR can have a significant impact on the settlement process of a personal injury case. These alternative dispute resolution methods offer an alternative to litigation, which can be unpredictable and time-consuming. Getting a case in front of the right mediator can make a big difference in whether a case will settle.
Trial Preparation and Litigation
The process of trial and litigation can be complex and time-consuming, which can prolong the settlement process. Once a case gets to a certain point in litigation, when the parties and their lawyers are spending many, many hours preparing trial witnesses and evidence, it can be difficult to get the parties, lawyers, and insurance companies to find the time or the inclination to work on settlement rather than trial preparations. Occasionally, however, it may take getting to the “courthouse steps” for the gravity and unpredictability of litigation to sink in and to make settlement the preferred resolution.
The Complexity of The Case
If your case has complex factual and legal issues, including multiple claims, disputed liability, multiple parties, or conflicting evidence, it may prolong the settlement process. Each case is different and each must be evaluated carefully no matter its complexity. However, you should know that the opportunity to settle a personal injury claim is not open-ended because there are critical timelines called Statutes of Limitation that require the filing of a lawsuit within a certain time period. If you miss an applicable Statute of Limitation or other required notice deadline, your case could be barred forever. You should not hesitate to talk to an experienced attorney help you understand your rights.
Contact Us Today
If you are wondering how long your personal injury case may take to settle and what your rights are, contact a personal injury attorney to learn more and have your case evaluated.