Find Out If You Qualify - Camp Lejeune Water Claim - Click Here
Request Your Free Consultation

personal injury hotline


How Long Should a Personal Injury Case Take to Settle?

The length of time needed to settle a personal injury case can vary significantly depending on each situation. Our Richmond personal injury lawyers can explain the many factors involved in determining a reasonable settlement timeframe. 

Most personal injury matters involving traffic accidents or slip-and-fall can be resolved within six to 12 months if both sides are cooperating. Complex cases such as medical malpractice or serious injuries may take far longer.

Many factors affect how long it takes to settle a case. Waiting on a settlement is frustrating, but there are some factors outside of your control and your lawyer’s control. Here’s what you need to know about how long a personal injury case should take to settle.

The General Process of Personal Injury Cases

To know how long a case will take, we need to know the different stages of a case. Not all personal injury cases will go through all of these stages. Once there is a settlement offer on the table, your case ends as soon as both sides agree to the settlement.

Settlement offers can be accepted until the date of the trial. Once the trial starts in Virginia court, it is out of our hands and the insurer’s hands. A judge and jury will determine who is at fault and how much compensation you get.

For a Free Legal Consultation
Call The Personal Injury Lawyer Hotline.

Before the Consultation

Right after your accident, you’ll need to get medical treatment and speak with the proper authorities to report what happened. You should try to get medical care within the first 24 hours if you can.

An insurer may try to reach out to you about what happened and may offer a settlement. However, beware of any settlement offer given without your lawyer’s involvement. It’s probably much less than you deserve.

Let the Heavy Hitters® Take On Your Case 804-250-5050

The Consultation

Speaking with a personal injury lawyer for a consultation will give you information about your chances of success and explain your legal rights. You’ll also learn how a lawyer can help you maximize your case value and how much they charge.

It is your choice to decide whether to use a lawyer and which lawyer to take. If you visit multiple attorneys for consultations, this will extend how long your case will take to settle. Nevertheless, you should find a lawyer you feel you can trust and believe can help you the best given your circumstances.

Central Virginia's Top Rated Personal
Injury Lawyers 804-250-5050

Building a Case

Once you hire a lawyer, they will need to build your case. Gathering evidence, proving who was at fault, and calculating damages are all part of this step. Some of the factors that affect how long it takes to build a case include:

  • Ongoing medical treatment If the full extent of your injuries and what’s needed to recover is still unknown, settlements may have to wait until treatment is complete to know the full value of your claim.
  • Complex accidents Accidents with numerous vehicles or property damage claims take more time to investigate and attribute fault.
  • Difficulty obtaining records Delays can occur if entities like the police department or hospitals are slow to provide documentation.
  • Changes in medical condition If your injuries end up being more serious than initially thought, or new issues arise, your case will need to change to take these into account.
  • Special damages Claims involving lost wages, lifelong care costs, or other specialized damages require greater analysis.

Another factor is the workload and resources of the law firm you select. If a law firm is overburdened with work, you can expect delays. A competent lawyer will try not to take on more cases than they can handle, but sometimes a simple case may turn out to be far more complex.

Let Us Be The Heavy Hitters® For Your Case Speak To An Attorney Now

Negotiations With the Insurer

Once your lawyer has built your case, they have to approach the insurer to start negotiations. Here are some things the insurer might do that could delay how long it will take for your personal injury case to settle:

  • Demand additional medical records or testing
  • Overburdened investigation teams
  • Complex cases
  • Demand further documentation to justify your economic losses
  • Demand recorded statements from all parties
  • Switching adjusters midway through your settlement process
  • Demand independent appraisals for property damage claims

If your case is worth more than your policy limit, the insurance company also has to consult with their lawyers about whether the amount is justified and how much legal exposure they have to pay what you’re truly owed.

Finally, they could try to deny your claim outright or delay the claim until you and your lawyer are forced to litigate. If it looks like your case is going to go to court, expect your case to take much longer than the average personal injury settlement.

Filing a Lawsuit

Only a small percentage of cases result in a lawsuit and even fewer go to trial. Court takes a long time because now all sides are dependent on the schedule of your local jurisdiction. Depending on your claim, your case may go through:

  • Initial hearings
  • Discovery
  • Jury selection

Any of these could face delays for many reasons. Your lawyer will keep you up to date on the progress of your lawsuit and any last-minute settlement offers.

Remember that either side can choose to accept a settlement offer on the table before the trial date and that will end the matter. Once your trial starts, it’s up to the lawyers to persuade the judge and jury.

After Trial

Assuming you win your claim, the insurer will have a deadline to deliver a settlement check to your attorney. Your attorney will deduct all of their fees and pass the remainder on to you. At this point, the case is complete.


As you can see, how long it takes for a personal injury case to settle can vary quite a lot because there are so many points in the process that can face delays. Even a speedy case will usually take a few weeks.

To truly know how long your case may take, it’s best to speak with a personal injury lawyer with experience in your kind of case.

The Pendleton Law Team Is Here For You 804-250-5050