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How Long Do Settlements Take? What You Need to Know

gavel on a stack of us dollar

Are you involved in a personal injury, product liability, wrongful termination, class action, or workers’ comp claim or lawsuit? Do you need to know how long a settlement will take?

People may face settlement negotiations for a variety of reasons. Given the complexities of each particular case type, it’s not easy to give a generalized timetable.

Several factors will affect the length of the settlement process, and you may experience different complications depending on the particular legal issue you face.

Enlisting the services of an attorney will help you navigate your legal options as you await a settlement. At Sadaka Law, our experienced lawyers are highly skilled negotiators who can help you file your claim or suit, interface with insurance companies if necessary, and seek just compensation at the end of your settlement agreement.

How Does the Settlement Process Work?

Different types of settlements will require specific steps to achieve a satisfactory result. However, before initiating a settlement agreement, many businesses and individuals opt to write a demand letter with the hopes of resolving the issue without going to court.

The person or company harmed will write a letter informing the at-fault party or the party’s insurance company that they would like to approach a settlement for fair compensation.

Depending on the severity of the issue, the injured individuals may work with a personal injury attorney who can assist them in writing their demand letter properly.

Most demand letters will include the following:

  • Expenses you incurred due to the incident, such as lost wages, medical bills, or property damage
  • Your requested compensation
  • Medical records, photos, or other pieces of evidence that support your claims

If you’re hesitant to take the legal matter you face to court, writing a demand letter with the help of a lawyer may be a viable option. However, insurance companies may take many weeks or even months to respond.

If you feel uncomfortable waiting or want to seek additional compensation, it’s best to enlist the services of an experienced attorney who can help you navigate a lawsuit.

Generally speaking, every settlement agreement case involves some negotiating back and forth between the harmed individual and the attorneys and insurance company of the other party. This period of negotiation will often extend further if multiple parties are involved.

This means that when an insurance company responds to a demand letter, the insurance company will almost always offer a lower lump sum payment than the victim requested. While accepting this settlement offer to conclude the negotiations can be tempting, you don’t have to settle for a lower counteroffer.

Experienced personal injury attorneys can help you collect the documents you need, such as medical bills and proof of lost income, and provide a counteroffer of their own that may help you recover compensation that feels acceptable to you.

If the insurance company declines your attorney’s offer, your personal injury case will likely have to go to court.

Why Does Settlement Take So Long?

personal injury lawyer meeting with client wearing neck brace

In the case of a car accident or a personal injury settlement, insurance companies will often attempt to reduce the settlement offer as much as possible. It’s unfortunate and frustrating, but it doesn’t mean that you have to accept a lower settlement check.

Following your injury claim, a skilled personal injury attorney can help you fight for your desired compensation.

However, you may face many obstacles in a personal injury settlement or a car accident case. Other events and circumstances may slow the process down, including factors such as the following.

Insurance Company Stall Tactics

Stall tactics include various actions that insurance companies may use to extend negotiations and exhaust injured victims. These actions essentially turn negotiations into a battle of attrition, trying to tire the victim out until they reluctantly accept a lower lump sum.

Though personal injury lawyers frown upon these practices, they know how to spot them and keep an eye out for tactics such as:

  • Hard-bargaining: Insurance companies may claim that they have limited options regarding how much they can provide with the settlement check.
  • Ultimatums: An insurance company may outright refuse to change its settlement offer, stating that its offer is the only one available.
  • Dismissing evidence: An insurance company may also attempt to dismiss the damages you incurred, such as medical expenses and lost wages, and insist that you aren’t entitled to the compensation you’ve requested.

These tactics can be intimidating, especially if you’re dealing with injuries following an accident. Having a competent personal injury lawyer at your side to fight for you is essential to receiving the compensation you desire.

Ongoing Medical Care

It may delay negotiations if you’re receiving ongoing medical care following an accident or injury. However, calculating your medical expenses is critical in determining how much you should demand in the settlement check, so never attempt to resolve your claim if your treatment isn’t complete.

Finding the Right Law Firm

Finding the best attorney to help you file and resolve an injury claim can be difficult. You need an attorney who can help you prepare in a timely manner and a tax professional who can gather the correct documents to demonstrate lost wages.

At Sadaka Law, our experienced attorneys can help you reach a satisfactory settlement result, all while preventing the stress of filing legal claims.

How Long Does a Settlement Take for Different Cases?

lawyer working on car accident settlement with gavel and hourglass on table

From filing claims to receiving the settlement check, each case is different. The timetable varies wildly based on the severity of injuries and the willingness of those at fault to cooperate.

Below, we discuss the factors that may affect the duration of different cases.

A Car Accident Lawsuit

In a car accident case, the most critical factor in filing the claim and receiving adequate compensation is documentation of your injuries and medical treatment. Of course, accident victims must seek immediate medical attention for their health and safety, but this documentation is also necessary for determining the severity of their injuries.

A car accident may result in injuries that require surgery or ongoing treatment, such as physical therapy. Until the medical treatment is completed, negotiations may be extended or halted.

Likewise, your attorney will likely want to investigate the site of the accident, and this process may delay drafting a demand letter. A typical accident investigation will include the following:

  • Taking photographs of the scene
  • Inspecting the vehicles involved
  • Reviewing police reports
  • Searching for other forms of evidence, such as surveillance or video proof

A Personal Injury Case

In personal injury cases, the duration depends on your attorney’s ability to collect evidence that supports your claims and the at-fault party’s willingness to cooperate. Depending on your injuries, the administration of medical treatment may also delay negotiations.

Personal injury cases generally take a few months to over a year to settle. Finding an attorney to help you navigate this process can expedite this timeline.

A Class Action Case

male lawyer discussing class action case to his client

Because class action lawsuits involve multiple parties, these cases generally take a year or more to complete. This extended timeline is due to the fact that class action suits must follow a very specific procedure, beginning with a single plaintiff filing a claim.

From there, the court must certify the case and notify any eligible victims, which can take several months. During this period, attorneys on both sides of the case will collect relevant information, evidence, and potential witnesses to support their claims.

This process, likewise, can take a long time. If the opposing sides can’t come to a settlement before the established trial date, the case will have to go to court.

A Workers’ Compensation Case

Like personal injury cases, workers’ compensation cases often depend on whether or not the opposing side disputes your claim. If your claim goes without dispute, you may receive compensation within one or two months of filing. However, if you run into resistance, your case may have to go to trial, and this process will extend the timeline considerably.

What if One Party Withdraws from the Settlement?

male judge making decision in a car accident case

If one party attempts to back out of a settlement, what happens next will depend mostly on what the court says. This process of determining whether or not it is valid for one party to withdraw depends primarily on a few factors, including:

  • Whether or not both parties thoroughly understood the depth and terms of the settlement agreed upon previously.
  • Whether or not the settlement was obtained through fraudulent means or through misrepresentation.
  • Whether or not new information was obtained that would change one party’s mind about the settlement in a meaningful way.

Depending on these factors and more, the court will then make the decision on if the party that desires to withdraw is allowed to. Ultimately, the depth of this process is substantial, so it is best approached with skilled legal counsel at your side.

Should You Hire an Attorney for Settlement Negotiations?

When preparing to file a claim following any form of injury for which you’re not at fault, you need an attorney. No legal precedent prevents you from engaging in negotiations on your own behalf, but doing so may result in a less-than-favorable outcome.

Injury cases are complicated, and without extensive legal and medical knowledge, you may be unable to support your claim effectively.

At Sadaka Law, our primary objective is to be passionate advocates for our clients during what may be one of the most challenging experiences they’ll ever have. We understand that grappling with an injury is already stressful enough. We seek to alleviate some of that stress by providing high-quality legal counsel.

No matter the details of your case, our experienced attorneys can help you prepare to file your claim, gather all the necessary information to support it, and defend you during negotiations. Don’t settle for less than you want. Contact our team at Sadaka Law in Englewood, NJ, today at 1 (800) 810-3457 to learn more about how we can help you get that settlement check.



Principal & Founder
This article was written by Mark Sadaka, a seasoned trial lawyer in nationally significant cases. He fearlessly champions clients impacted by fatal or severe injuries caused by others or corporations. Renowned for his expertise in complex litigation, he's featured in books, sought after by media for interviews, and a highly sought speaker. Notably, he exclusively represents individuals facing life-changing injuries or substantial financial losses.

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