Personal Injury Case: How Long Does It Take to Settle?

When most people think of a personal injury case, they imagine it’s like what they see on TV or in the movies. In real life, very few cases ever go to trial. According to the American Bar Association, more than 95% of all personal injury cases settle long before trial. This is because a settlement is in everybody’s best interest. A personal injury attorney in Fairburn, Georgia settles most cases before they ever see the inside of a courtroom. 

Our goal is to get our clients as much money as possible. We also understand that our clients need money today, not two years from now. Not surprisingly, many of our clients ask us how long it’ll take to settle their personal injury case within 5 minutes of meeting us.

Here, we will discuss the reasons why so many personal injury cases settle. We will also describe the benefits of settling your case rather than going to trial. Finally, we will do our best to give you a timeline of how your personal injury case will proceed. If, after reading this article, you still have questions or concerns about your own case, feel free to give us a call. Or you can visit our website and schedule your free, initial consultation right online.

Why Do So Many Personal Injury Cases in Georgia Settle?

Many of our clients are surprised when we tell them that so many cases settle out of court. When they first meet with us, they assume that their personal injury case will go to trial and carry on for two or three years. The truth is that most personal injury cases settle within a year of filing. There are several reasons for this:

  • Trials Are Expensive

Going to trial is very expensive. If your Fairburn injury attorney needs to take your personal injury case to trial, they will need to pay for expert witnesses, depositions, and perhaps even an accident reconstruction specialist.

  • Trials Are Time-Consuming

Normally, the civil court judges in Georgia have a full docket. With the COVID-19 pandemic putting the court on lockdown for so long, many judges have a backlog of cases on their calendar. It could be years before trial date is even set. Once the date is set, it will be several more months before you see the inside of a courtroom.

  • You May Lose Your Case

At trial, there’s always a chance that you’ll lose. Just because you think the other party was the fault doesn’t mean a judge or jury will see things that way. Sometimes it’s better to settle for less than your full demand then to walk away with nothing.

  • You’ll Get a Lump Sum vs. Longer-Term Payments

You’ll get a lump sum instead of payments drawn out over a period of years. Even if you win a trial, your judgment may never be paid. Even if it is paid, it could be years before it’s paid in full. At least with a settlement, you know you’re going to get a lump sum within 30 days of signing your settlement agreement.

While many clients may be surprised that so many personal injury cases settle, many of our personal injury attorneys in Fairburn Georgia wonder why any cases to trial at all.

personal injury attorney in Fairburn Georgia

What is the Timeline for My Personal Injury Case Settlement?

When we first meet with new clients, we like to provide them with a timeline of how their personal injury case will proceed. While we can never give exact dates, it is nice to offer our clients a breakdown of what will transpire throughout the course of their lawsuit. Keep in mind, this timeline can change at any moment. 

For example, if you learn that there’s a second defendant you need to name in your complaint that could push things back a month or two. The same thing can happen if you have a hard time serving a copy of the complaint on the other party.

For the most part, most personal injury cases that our Fairburn injury attorneys handle are resolved within a year to 18 months. Of course, there are some cases that take much longer. There are also cases that are resolved much quicker. It’s impossible to tell any client exactly how long it will take to settle their personal injury case. In all fairness, it’s impossible to tell a client that their case will settle at all. However most personal injury lawsuits abide by the following timeline:

  • The first thing even your attorney will do is file a claim against the defendant’s insurance company. If the insurance company approves your claim, you’ll receive your check within a week or two. However, if your claim is denied, the next step will be to file a lawsuit.
  • If your Fairburn injury attorney decides a lawsuit is the next logical step, the first thing you’ll need to do is file your initial complaint. When you file this with the court, you’ll also have to serve a copy on the defendant. The defendant will then have 30 days to file an answer.
  • If the defendant files a response, both parties will have the opportunity to conduct discovery. This is where both sides will have a chance to demand information from their adversary. During discovery, the court will schedule a date for you to attend a settlement conference. It is during this first settlement conference that you will begin settlement negotiations with the defendant’s attorney. If a settlement is reached, a settlement agreement will be drafted that day, signed by both parties, and filed with the court. Your settlement agreement will include the date upon which you’ll receive your settlement check. If you’re unable to settle at this first conference, your attorney will continue with settlement negotiations on their own. At some point, typically within a few weeks or months, the two attorneys will agree on a settlement figure. Once this settlement agreement is signed, you should receive your payment within 30 to 60 days.

Schedule Your Free, Initial Consultation with an Experienced Fairburn Injury Attorney Now

One thing we always tell our clients is that they’re better off calling us sooner rather than later. If your initial claim is not filed properly, you may risk your chances of being compensated for your injuries. The sooner we get started on your personal injury case the sooner we can negotiate a settlement. 

This is why we recommend that you call our office and schedule your free, initial consultation with one of our  Fairburn injury attorneys within days of your accident. This will give our associates plenty of time to prepare your case. It will also give you the opportunity of sitting down with an attorney and asking any questions you may have.