One question we frequently get from new clients when we first meet and talk about their case is, “how long will my case last?” The most simple and honest answer that we can give is that we don’t really know as there are many factors that can influence the length of a case as outlined below.
HOW LONG AGO WAS THE ACCIDENT?
One of the first factors that may determine how long a case may take is when did the accident happen. If we first talk to a client a few days after an accident, then it will be very difficult for us to know how long the case will take. This is because we may not know yet how serious their injury is or what their long-term prognosis might be. As a general rule, it takes time to understand the severity of any injury and how the injury has affected the person who was injured. On the other hand, if we first meet with a client several months after the accident and they've already received the majority their medical treatment, their doctor will most likely have a good feel for the full extent of our client’s injuries. If that’s the case, we generally can settle such a case in relatively short order.
HOW SEVERE ARE THE INJURIES?
The second factor that might play into the length of a case, as alluded to above, is the severity of the injuries. If the person involved has very serious injuries that require a lengthy treatment schedule, then the case will drag on until there is a clear understanding of how badly our client has been hurt. However, if the person has fairly minor injuries and only receives limited treatment, then we can generally start negotiating a settlement more quickly.
IS LIABILITY CONTESTED?
Another important factor that may determine the length of a case is whether or not liability is contested. In many cases, liability is very straightforward and determined within a few days of the accident. This will certainly help not to slow down a case. However, accidents that involve multiple vehicles or some strange occurrence may put liability into question. If that’s the case, liability is often disputed, which can impact the length of a case.
WHAT ARE OUR CLIENT’S EXPECTATIONS?
One more factor that might affect the length of a case is our client’s expectations. If our clients have relatively minor injuries but expect to recover a lot of money, the case may need to be litigated as the insurance company is not going to make a settlement offer in the range that the client expects or wants based on the injuries our client has suffered. If a client has expectations of a huge windfall or settlement out of the case then typically those cases take a lot longer to handle because we have to file a law suit. This means we have to do discovery and participate in all things that a lawsuit involves, which will draw out the length of the case.
With all the above said, you can see how it is very difficult to tell someone in advance how long their case is going to take. There are just too many factors involved. We therefore never tell our clients how long their case may last. Some straightforward cases can definitely get wrapped up in a few months, but some can take a lot longer than a year.
However, we know it wouldn’t be fair for you to read this far and not at least have us give you a general idea of how long a case may take. So, if we looked at all the thousands of cases we’ve settled over the years, we can estimate the average length of a case to be about a year from start to finish. Just remember, every case is different!
If you have any questions about your Florida personal injury case call us at 407-254-4901 or text us at 407-644-4444. We're here to help and it would be our pleasure to discuss your case with you.