Waiting is an uncomfortable feeling. After a serious accident or injury, it can quickly become unbearable. You’ll be dealing with questions that directly impact your ability to care for yourself and your loved ones: When will you receive a settlement? How will you know it’s for the right amount? What can you do to make sure you get the money you need to put your life back together?
One of the most common questions we get is, “How long will it take to settle my personal injury claim?” This is a valid concern and one that we will address in this blog. We should start by saying, however, that each case is different and yours will depend on any of a number of factors. We’ll be happy to discuss your specific timeline and legal options—all you have to do is call (888) 498-3023 for a free consultation.
The Personal Injury Settlement Timeline in Pennsylvania
Some personal injury lawsuits settle quickly, within a matter of weeks or months. Others may take years to resolve. The length of time it will take for your case to settle—or for a jury to decide the matter—will depend on numerous factors.
These issues influence the time it takes to settle a personal injury claim:
- The nature and complexity of the case itself. This is the first factor that can influence how long it takes to get a personal injury settlement. More complex cases with multiple defendants and/or plaintiffs, disputed liability, or significant injuries often take longer to resolve. The type of case itself may also play a part in timing. Auto accident cases, for example, are often more straightforward than medical malpractice or premises liability cases.
- The severity of injuries. A case involving minor injuries is more likely to be resolved quicker than a case involving life-altering physical and emotional trauma. With severe injuries, there are many more issues to be considered, such as ongoing medical treatment, loss of future earnings, or pain and suffering. The bigger the impact a personal injury has on a victim and their family, the more they should be entitled to recover. This can take more time.
- The jurisdiction. Where your case is heard will also affect the timeline of your settlement or award. In some jurisdictions, courts have a higher volume of cases, which can lead to a backlog and longer wait times for trial dates, hearings, and other court proceedings. What’s more, judges in different jurisdictions may have different approaches to handling personal injury cases, which can impact the speed of resolution. Some may be more inclined to resolve cases quickly or have a more efficient approach to case management than others.
- The insurance company’s policies on handling claims. Some insurance companies work quickly to meet claim deadlines while others take a slower approach, so this can affect the timeline of your settlement. The insurance company’s internal approval processes, approach to negotiation, and even financial state may all influence how quickly they handle a claim. Some insurance companies are willing and ready to go to trial, while others wish to settle quickly to avoid litigation costs.
- The defendant’s stance/attitude toward your case. If the defendant (at-fault) party is determined to fight you every step of the way, this can prolong the case and make a jury trial necessary. The defendant’s financial standing and access to legal counsel may also have an impact on whether they wish to draw a case out at trial or want to try to settle. Bigger opponents with significant assets may consider it worth their while to take a personal injury case to trial, which can make a case take longer than an out-of-court settlement.
- Medical evaluations. Waiting for a complete medical evaluation may be integral to determining the value of your claim and what it will take to get your life back together. Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI) is a crucial factor in a personal injury case, as it refers to the point at which an injured person's condition stabilizes and no further improvement is expected. MMI plays a significant role in determining the full extent of damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
All of these factors can influence how long it takes to settle a personal injury case, but there is even more to consider.
Maximizing Your Recovery
If you have been injured, we understand that you need to receive compensation as soon as possible. The insurance company may push you to settle your personal injury claim as quickly as possible. However, this is not necessarily in your best interest. They typically offer low settlements that will not cover all of your expenses and losses, leaving you in an even worse situation. You need to consider how to maximize your recovery.
Although you may not believe that you can afford to hire an attorney to handle your personal injury claim, this is simply not true. Our Pennsylvania personal injury attorneys at can help on a contingency basis—meaning we don’t get paid unless we win your case. We offer a free consultation so that you can get the facts regarding the settlement of a personal injury claim so that you can make an informed decision on how to proceed.
Keep reading to learn more about this topic, or use our online contact form to schedule your free case evaluation. Do not allow the insurance company to take advantage of you by rushing you to a quick settlement.
Why Does the Insurance Company Want to Settle My Personal Injury Claim Quickly?
You know why you want to settle your personal injury claim quickly: you need the funds to cover the financial losses you’ve incurred due to the accident and injury. Why does the insurance company want to settle the claim quickly? The answer is simple: they want to avoid paying you the true value of your personal injury claim.
The two main reasons the insurance company wants to rush you to a settlement are:
- To prevent you from discussing your claim with an attorney; and
- To prevent you from realizing the true extent of your injuries.
Both of these factors substantially increase the chance that you will demand a higher settlement figure. Therefore, the insurance company would rather offer you a smaller amount to settle the personal injury claim quickly than risk the chance you will receive a higher amount later.
Why Insurance Adjusters Use Time Against You
Insurance companies used to be owned and maintained by their policyholders, a model that incentivized prompt and fair settlements. However, the insurance industry today is beholden to shareholders, who earn profits from the premiums collected by policyholders. In other words, insurance companies no longer serve policyholders—they just collect money from them.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, the insurance industry raked in $1.1 trillion in revenue throughout 2016. A decreasing percentage of the industry's revenue goes toward paying claimants, and an increasing percentage of the industry's profits come from "float," or interest earned on policyholder premiums. These are connected—the longer insurance companies hold onto money, the more profit they make. Insurance companies make billions of dollars annually from holding onto claims payments a little longer.
So, as you feel frustrated with your adjuster, remember they're not being incompetent—they're doing exactly what they're trained to do.
Why the Adjuster Isn’t Calling You Back
The reasons why insurance adjusters do not return your calls boil down to one simple motivator: money. By not calling you back, an adjuster knows that they are increasing the pressure on your financial stability. They understand that the longer it takes to call you back, the more likely you are to experience hardships (e.g. getting a replacement vehicle or affording the mounting cost of medical bills). Adjusters know that the longer they wait, the harder your life gets and the more desperate, stressed, and impatient you may become.
After repeatedly delaying your settlement, adjusters are hoping they will be able to influence you into accepting a low offer out of desperation. It’s simple—adjusters utilize their abundance of time because they know they have more of it than you.
Get the Compensation You Deserve, Not What the Insurance Company Is Offering
If we take on your case, we will take care to push for the fair settlement you deserve. We will work with medical experts and economists to evaluate the true impact that your injury has had and will have on your life. Nothing will be overlooked because we know that recovering the right amount of compensation will mean a brighter future for you and your family.
Don’t Sign Anything Until You Speak to a Personal Injury Lawyer
After an accident, the insurance company may try to get you to sign a statement or other paperwork that says you accept their offer. Don’t sign anything and don’t deposit a check until you’ve spoken to an attorney. Once you sign a release, the insurance company will not pay you any additional compensation—even if you discover that you require additional treatment or discover that you have a permanent disability that will prevent you from earning as much income as before the accident. We want you to reach maximum medical recovery before we begin negotiating a settlement with the insurance company. This is the only way to ensure you receive the compensation you truly deserve.
Our Pennsylvania Personal Injury Attorneys Are Here for You
Our personal injury attorneys have extensive experience. We’ve fought for Pennsylvanians for 100 years, and we know what it takes to succeed inside or outside of the civil courtroom. We have the resources and experts to value your personal injury claim correctly. Do not let an insurance company bully you into settling your claim. If so, you run the risk of receiving far less than you are entitled to for your financial, emotional, and physical damages. Instead, trust your case with a team that will put your future first.
How long will it take to settle your personal injury claim? today to find out more about our firm and how we can help you get the settlement you deserve. We represent clients in Harrisburg, York, Hanover, Carlisle, Lancaster, Schuylkill County, and the surrounding areas in Pennsylvania.
How Long Does It Take to Settle a Personal Injury Claim? ›
While every case is unique, it's true that the vast majority of personal injury lawsuits take 6 to 18 months to resolve after a client retains counsel, depending upon the length of medical treatment and the complexity of the legal issues involved.How long do most personal injury cases take to settle? ›
As a result, it's impossible to accurately predict how long your personal injury case will take to be resolved. That said, research studies conducted by the National Center for State Courts and the United States Department of Justice tell us that most personal injury cases are resolved within 1-3 years.How long do settlement negotiations take? ›
The average settlement negotiation takes one to three months once all relevant variables are presented. However, some settlements can take much longer to resolve. By partnering with skilled legal counsel, you can speed up the negotiation process and secure compensation faster.How do I ask for more money in an injury settlement? ›
- Hold Onto Everything. ...
- Open an Insurance Claim in a Timely Manner. ...
- Estimate the Value of Your Claim Carefully. ...
- Write an Effective Demand Letter. ...
- Reject the Insurer's First Offer. ...
- Highlight Facts that Benefit You. ...
- Remain Calm During Negotiations. ...
- Hire a Lawyer to Help.
The general formula most insurers use to measure settlement worth is the following: (Special damages x multiplier reflecting general damages) + lost wages = settlement amount.How much are most personal injury settlements? ›
An average personal injury settlement amount is anywhere between $3,000 and $75,000. Be careful when using an average personal injury settlement calculator to give you an idea of what you may stand to collect. These numbers really depend on your individual case and are hard to predict without a professional.What is the longest a settlement can take? ›
Often a case will last a year from the date of filing the complaint to settlement. It could also be six months. In only a minority of cases will a personal injury lawsuit take two to three years to settle.How long does it take for insurance companies to negotiate a settlement? ›
Negotiating a Settlement
Insurance companies do not like to pay out much on injury claims, so it might take time to negotiate. Most of the time, settlement negotiation takes a few weeks or months after getting the first offer.
As a general rule, property settlement periods are usually 30 to 90 days, but they can be longer or shorter. If you're only refinancing a loan from one lender to another, the refinance settlement process is much simpler.How long does it take for an insurance company to make an offer? ›
Typically, it can take anywhere from one to two weeks for the insurance company to respond to your demand letter. Then it can take anywhere from weeks to months until you reach a settlement that you will accept. Some people accept the first or second offer, while others may accept the third or fourth counteroffer.
How do you respond to a low settlement offer? ›
- Stay Calm. Your first reaction to a low settlement might be anger and confusion. ...
- Ask Questions. After you receive the offer and take time to process it emotionally, you should start considering why the offer was so low. ...
- Counteroffer. ...
- Always Respond in Writing. ...
- Don't Accept a Settlement Offer Before You Heal.
Use positive, respectful and generous negotiating behavior to engender it in return and make it easier to influence the other side into accepting settlement proposals. Express a desire to meet the needs of the opposition so that they can repay the favor by meeting your needs.How do you politely ask for more compensation? ›
- List your accomplishments from the past six months, the past year and your time with the company. ...
- Know what a competitive salary looks like for your position. ...
- Let your boss know what's in it for them. ...
- Be confident. ...
- Provide your request in writing.
Insurance companies determine settlement amounts by looking at three factors: liability, damages and the terms of the insurance policy. In order for an insurance company to offer a settlement, liability must be clear.What would my settlement figure be? ›
If you have a car finance arrangement, the settlement figure will be the amount that you still owe. As you'll be paying off your car finance through monthly bills, you'll always owe some money on your finance until you reach the end of your contract.What is a good settlement figure? ›
How Much Should I Expect from a Settlement? A good settlement offer should not only be able to cover your hospital bills and legal fees, but it should also be equivalent to close to a years' worth of your current wages, especially in cases where your injuries may be permanent or cause some kind of disability.What is the most common personal injury claim? ›
The most common type of personal injury claim is for road traffic accidents. You can make a claim whether you are a driver, a cyclist, a motorcyclist, a passenger, or a pedestrian.How long does compensation take to pay out? ›
After accepting an offer of settlement for a personal injury claim you will usually receive your compensation money within 14-28 days from the date of settlement.What is the most money awarded in a lawsuit? ›
1998 – The Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement - $206 Billion. The Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement was entered in November 1998 and is still the largest lawsuit settlement in history.What's the most a lawyer can take from settlement? ›
Nationwide, the average percentage lawyers take from a settlement can range from 25% to 75%. Depending on a number of factors, these percentages change when comparing a car accident settlement, to a disability claim, or a medical malpractice case for example.
Can settlement be 120 days? ›
The parties negotiate the date of settlement in the contract of sale. Settlement usually takes place between 30 to 120 days after signing the contract of sale.What are the 5 stages in a typical lawsuit? ›
Question: What are the stages of civil litigation? Rustin: There are five general stages of a civil court case: pleadings, discovery, motions, trial and possibly appeals. Civil lawsuits arise out of disputes between people, businesses, or other entities.Do insurance companies always offer a settlement? ›
Unless the insurance representative has a solid reason not to pay the claim, you can almost always expect a settlement offer after filing a claim with an insurance company.When should you make a settlement offer? ›
An offer of settlement can be made at any time by either of the parties. The offer of settlement should be in writing and clearly set out the proposal that a party wants and the reasons for the offer as an offer of settlement that cannot be understood is unlikely to be accepted by the other party.How do you negotiate a full and final settlement? ›
What percentage should I offer a full and final settlement? It depends on what you can afford, but you should offer equal amounts to each creditor as a full and final settlement. For example, if the lump sum you have is 75% of your total debt, you should offer each creditor 75% of the amount you owe them.Is settlement money taxable? ›
If you're involved in a lawsuit in California, you may be wondering whether any settlement or award you receive is taxable. The good news is that, in most cases, personal injury settlements are not taxable in California.Why does it take so long to get a settlement? ›
Your settlement could be delayed because your case involves large damages, or put simply, a lot of money. In this case, insurance companies will delay paying money out on a settlement until they are confident about it. They will investigate every aspect of the case and every detail of the liability and damages.What happens once a settlement is reached? ›
After a case is settled, meaning that the case did not go to trial, the attorneys receive the settlement funds, prepare a final closing statement, and give the money to their clients. Once the attorney gets the settlement check, the clients will also receive their balance check.How long does it take for an adjuster to make a decision? ›
Usually, you'll hear from an insurance adjuster within three days of making the claim to discuss matters. If they need to survey the damage, it can be a few more days. If you use a repair garage that is affiliated with (or at least approved by) your insurance company, the process can speed up a bit.How long should an insurance claim take? ›
A claims process can take anything from a few days to weeks or even months. The speed of the process depends very much on factors like: How soon after the incident you report it – the sooner you get your claim in, the sooner the insurance provider can start processing it.
Are insurance offers negotiable? ›
Before you accept the first offer you receive from an insurance company, be aware that you can negotiate to get what you deserve. The first step in the negotiation process is figuring out the true value of your vehicle.Why are settlement offers so low? ›
When the insurance company thinks the victim is partially at fault or that he or she does not have a strong case, they may be more likely to make a lowball offer. The insurance company does not feel much pressure if they think you have a weak case.What does low settlement mean? ›
A lowball settlement offer is an offer that is clearly outside the reasonable value of your claim. In personal injury cases, adjusters use the lowball settlement offer as a technique to lower your expectations of what your claim is worth.Can you counter offer a settlement? ›
You have all legal right to reject a bad offer and negotiate a better offer for your personal injury case. If you think the initial offer is not a fair settlement, you can reject it and make a counteroffer. You do not even need to talk to the at-fault party's insurance claim adjusters.Why do lawyers often try to negotiate a settlement? ›
Generally, it is best to negotiate rather than litigate if at all possible. Most disputes can be resolved if two people will just remain reasonable and try to bargain for an agreement. Doing so also has the benefit of avoiding expensive attorney fees and litigation costs.How are large settlements paid? ›
Most settlements get paid through a check from the insurance company. You'll usually receive your funds from your lawyer after they've cleared the check and deducted any fees.How do you ask for a higher offer? ›
- Express gratitude.
- Express your excitement for the offer.
- Make a very specific counteroffer based on market data and personal performance data.
- Use quantified professional achievements to communicate your value and support your counteroffer.
You should always ask for more than you actually want. Psychology shows that your bargaining partner will feel like he or she is getting a better deal if he or she negotiates down from your original ask. And don't fear asking for too much!When should I ask for more compensation? ›
Ask for more money only when the company is financially stable or successful. If the company typically gives raises at the end of the fiscal year, meet right before that date. Time your request with a recent award or accomplishment so your manager is aware of your performance.Why is my settlement figure higher than my balance? ›
Your balance might be lower than your settlement figure because of a Direct Debit payment you've made. A Direct Debit could still go out after you get a settlement figure and before you pay off your loan. This will reduce the amount you owe and make your balance lower.
What is settlement rule? ›
Definition. Defines what proportion of the costs on a sender should be settled to which receiver(s). For this, one or more distribution rules are assigned to each settlement sender.Is a settlement paid full? ›
Full and final settlement means that you ask your creditors to let you pay a lump sum instead of the full balance you owe on the debt. In return for having a lump-sum payment, the creditor agrees to write off the rest of the debt.How long does it take to get a settlement figure? ›
Some lenders will provide you with your settlement figure over the phone or via email (which can take 2-3 days) and they will all do it by post (which could take 7 or so days). Your settlement figure is usually valid for 14 days from the date you request it.What is the early settlement value? ›
What is a settlement figure? An early settlement figure is the amount still owed, plus interest and charges if you want to pay off your car finance early.What happens when you request a settlement figure? ›
Obtaining a settlement figure means asking your lender how much is left to pay on your finance agreement. You might be thinking of changing your car, or you may have decided to pay off your finance balance early. Either way, you will need to contact your lender using the details on your finance documentation.How do I know how much to ask for a settlement? ›
To get a general idea of settlement, add up the costs in medical bills, damages, and lost wages, and multiply the sum by three. This may be around the amount in the settlement you can receive after a car accident. Compensation for pain and suffering is only given to those who are injured in a car accident.How long do most personal injury cases take? ›
- How long does it typically take before a case settles or goes to trial?
- It generally takes 1-3 years to reach a settlement or receive a verdict in a personal injury case.
- Factors that impact the length of litigation.
A claims process can take anything from a few days to weeks or even months. The speed of the process depends very much on factors like: How soon after the incident you report it – the sooner you get your claim in, the sooner the insurance provider can start processing it.What are the final stages of settlement? ›
After a case is settled, meaning that the case did not go to trial, the attorneys receive the settlement funds, prepare a final closing statement, and give the money to their clients. Once the attorney gets the settlement check, the clients will also receive their balance check.What three elements must be present to proceed with a lawsuit? ›
Standing includes the following three (3) elements: (1) Injury in Fact; (2) Causation; and (3) Redressability. If a claimant can establish these three elements in its cause of action, the claimant generally will have the right to bring that cause of action against the other party.
What are the three most common civil lawsuit categories? ›
The three most common civil cases are tort claims, contract breaches and landlord/tenant issues.How can I speed up my insurance claim? ›
Contact Your Insurer Immediately
The sooner you contact your insurer to file a claim, the easier it will be for your adjuster to make the necessary inquiries to get your claim moving along. Call your insurance company as soon as possible – ideally from the scene of the accident, if you can do so safely.
After accepting an offer of settlement for a personal injury claim you will usually receive your compensation money within 14-28 days from the date of settlement.How long is too long to wait for an insurance claim? ›