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It all depends. That's the standard and most honest answer for just about every legal question, and nowhere is it more true than when it comes to injury settlements. The severity of the injury claim, the time passed since the injury, and the forum for settlement negotiations are just some of the myriad factors contributing to the time it will take for a settlement to be finalized.
Besides, both parties must first decide they want to settle, as well as the exact amount of the settlement and any other liability agreements. No two injury cases are the same.
To Settle or Not to Settle
Before determining how long it will take to settle an injury lawsuit, you first have to decide whether settlement is right for you. Not to mention the other side, who has to also favor the settlement. And it's impossible to know whether you'll settle before you've heard an offer. Before you can decide on settlement, you should first discuss with your lawyer the strengths and weaknesses of your case, settlements in similar cases, and an acceptable range for monetary compensation.
It can take time to hammer out a deal that's acceptable to both sides. This negotiation can occur just among lawyers, in a court room, or through arbitration or mediation. And where you negotiate your settlement can have a big impact on how long it will take to settle.
Lawyers bickering back and forth through sternly-worded letters can increase both the time it takes to settle and the anger of the parties, making settlement less likely. And ramping up litigation in a court room, with back and forth filings and responses, can do the same. Often, some form of alternative dispute resolution can produce the least costly and most preferable outcome for all parties.
Finalizing the Settlement
The biggest hurdle may be making your settlement enforceable. Whether you settle in or out of court, you may still need a court order forcing the other side to comply with the settlement. Depending on the facts of your case, how willing the parties are to settle, and how willing the parties are to comply with the settlement, settling your injury lawsuit could take anywhere from a couple months to a couple years.
Even if you're planning on settling your injury claim, you may still want to hire an injury attorney.