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How Long Will it Take to Settle My Personal Injury Case?

If you have a personal injury claim pending with the negligent party’s insurance company, or you are considering hiring a Maryland personal injury attorney, it is understandable that you want to know what the timeline for settling is. Unfortunately, this is not necessarily an easy question to answer, as each case is unique. Different factors in each case can influence how long it takes to settle. Some of these include the type and severity of the accident itself, how cooperative the negligent party’s insurance company is, whether or not the case is in litigation, and the court venue.

Some personal injury matters can resolve as quickly as a few weeks, while others may take months, or even years. A personal injury case that reaches a settlement quickly might be due to clear-cut liability, your damages exceeding the negligent party’s insurance coverage, or because you opted to accept a lower settlement to resolve now.

Here are a few of the reasons some personal injury cases will take longer to settle than others.

Liability Dispute

One of the reasons many personal injury matters end up in litigation is because there is a dispute over liability. In a car accident, the other side might claim you were a percentage at fault, which would bar you from recovery. Maryland follows the contributory negligence theory, which means if you are even 1% at fault, you cannot collect for your damages. The negligent party’s insurance company is likely to claim you had some fault in the loss to ensure they keep their payouts low.

Medical Treatment is Continuing

Many cases that take longer to resolve have to do with the length of time the plaintiff is under medical care. We recommend that you do not settle and sign a release of all claims until you are sure you do not need any further treatment. What if you resolve the claim and your doctor subsequently says you need additional treatment and may have a permanent disability? By signing the release of claims, the insurance company is under no obligation to consider this new information.

In cases involving a high risk of scarring, like a dog bite, it is best to wait to resolve your claim until you have a better idea of what your scar will be worth.

If you need future surgery, there are medical experts who can help determine a value for your case and how long your recovery period will be. This will help you resolve the case now rather than waiting another year or more in order to resolve the claim.

Case is in Litigation

Once a personal injury lawsuit has been filed and the case is in litigation, it will typically move at a slower pace due to legal requirements. Attorneys have to attend status conferences and other court hearings, both parties will be deposed, and there may be alternative dispute resolution options used, like a mediation or arbitration.

If you are waiting for your case to go to trial, it could take months or even a year before the case sees an actual courtroom for the trial date.

Retaining a Maryland Personal Injury Attorney

If you have been involved in an accident, it is important to speak with a knowledgeable Maryland personal injury attorney. Contact the Law Office of Robert R. Castro at 301-870-1200 to schedule a consultation.

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