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Missouri Sunset

How Long Does a Lawsuit Take to Settle?

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Posted on October 22, 2023

Suffering a sudden traumatic injury can send your life suddenly spinning off course. Medical bills may pile up at the same time that you’re unable to return to work during your recovery. In a catastrophic injury, you could be facing a significant disability that prevents you from returning to work in your previous capacity or at all. As traumatic as the injury and resulting financial hardship after any accident or incident may be, it’s often far worse when the injury was preventable and only occurred because of someone else’s negligence, reckless behavior, or intentional wrongdoing. In these cases, a lawsuit helps to make things right by holding the party at fault liable for damages. “Damages” in a personal injury case refers to the economic and non-economic consequences of the injury.three people signing a document

Seeking Compensation for Damages After an Injury

A successful claim for compensation for damages relieves financial hardship for the victim and also achieves a sense of justice and accountability.

If you or a close family member suffered serious injuries due to someone else’s negligence, taking on a lawsuit may feel overwhelming, but a skilled St. Louis personal injury attorney can navigate the legal aspects of your injury while you focus on maximizing your physical recovery. But before this process begins, many injury victims want to know, “How long does a lawsuit take to settle in Missouri?”

How Long Does a Personal Injury Lawsuit Take to Settle?

The average personal injury claim takes about a year to settle out of court; however, it’s important to keep in mind that averages encompass a full range of case types, including lengthy, complex cases and those that settle quickly. The circumstances of every case are unique. Your personal injury attorney can give you an idea of the anticipated timeline of your injury claim, but the following averages may help to give you an idea of what’s ahead:

  • Car accident claims in which one party was clearly at fault typically settle out of court in 6-9 months from the date of the accident
  • Claims against large commercial defendants like the manufacturer of a defective product may take up to 12 months
  • Premises liability cases such as a slip-and-fall injury claim typically require 9-12 months to reach a settlement
  • A catastrophic injury case in which the victim is left with significant disabilities may settle in as little as 3 months if liability is clear but may take a year or more in complex cases that go to court

Over 90% of personal injury claims are resolved through direct, evidence-backed negotiations with the insurance company of the party at fault. The claim only proceeds to a lawsuit in court if the insurance company of the at-fault party fails to offer an acceptable settlement amount or wrongfully denies a valid claim. Lawsuits take longer than settlement agreements after an injury, but jury awards for damages are often larger than a settlement.

What Damages are Available in a Personal Injury Claim?

A successful claim for damages in a personal injury case helps relieve the undue financial burden caused by a negligence-related injury. Typical personal injury claims help victims recover compensation for damages such as the following:

  • Medical expenses
  • Future medical expenses for ongoing treatment, rehabilitation, or home health aid if needed
  • Lost income
  • Future lost wages
  • Diminished earning capacity due to disability
  • Pain and suffering
  • Other applicable non-economic damages like disfigurement compensation, loss of enjoyment of life, or traumatic limb loss.

A skilled personal injury attorney can carefully calculate your damages to help maximize the amount of compensation you receive in your settlement. While financial compensation for non-economic damages like pain and suffering can’t undo an injury, it can help open doors to the best medical care and counseling for emotional injuries, and help relieve financial burdens while you recover.