How Long Does A Personal Injury Case Take?

In this blog we will focus primarily on personal injury lawsuits, however, the factors we will largely apply to all types of lawsuits. Determining how long your lawsuit will take to settle is more of an art than science since two parties, the defendant and plaintiff, must agree on a fair value before a settlement can be reached.

Let’s first explore the typical personal injury claim timeline which may or may not turn into an actual lawsuit.

The accident occurs and the police, property management and/or medical personnel are called to the scene. In most cases a police report will be created which will outline, among other things, the time, date, weather conditions, parties involved, interviews with witnesses and involved parties and ultimately who is liable for the accident. This person is referred to as the tort feaser and will become the defendant in the ensuing personal injury legal claim.

The person who was not at fault will become the plaintiff in the case. The incident in a personal injury claim usually takes about 7-10 days to be issued. This initial and potentially traumatic portion of your claim will not have a big impact on how long it will take for your personal injury lawsuit to settle.

Most plaintiffs will require emergency room medical treatment on the day of the accident for their injuries sustained. Follow up treatment with a primary doctor, physical therapist, chiropractor, pain management doctor and orthopedist is typical and can take up to two years to complete treatment.

A primary doctor will usually recommend conservative treatment to their patients as first prescription to heal the body from its’ injuries. This includes providing prescription drugs for pain and inflammation reduction as well as physical therapy, chiropractic, massage therapy & acupuncture. These types of treatment can take from two months to 15 months depending on the body part and type of injury.

If conservative treatment options are not able to fully heal the body from the injuries related to the personal injury then surgery may be required. How long your personal injury case will take to settle can be significantly affected by your course of medical treatment. If you go to the Hospital Emergency Room and treat with a chiropractor for 2 months then your personal injury claim may settle quickly and at a much lower value than if treatment was more extensive.

This is a timeline constructed from 17 years of data compiled by Glofin. Glofin has made more than 85,000 cash advances to plaintiffs and has comprised this timeline based on its’ proprietary database.

Personal Injury Lawsuit Timeline

  1. Accident Date. Emergency room treatment. This phase is one day.
  2. Conservative Treatment with a chiropractor or other doctor. This phase ranges from 1-15 months.
  3. Aggressive Treatment.  Surgery with orthopedic practitioner or other doctor. This phase takes 2-6 months.
  4. Maximum Medical Improvement or “MMI.” It takes 6-12 months after surgery to reach maximum medical improvement.
  5. Pre Lawsuit Settlement Negotiations. This takes 1-2 months of negotiating with the insurance adjuster.
  6. Lawsuit Phase. If the case does not settle then a lawsuit is filed and this can take 1-3 years to get a trial date.
  7. Appellate Phase. Once you have obtained a jury verdict in your favor, the defendant has the right to appeal the decision. This can take 1-2 years.

Clearly, the seven phases above leave a lot variables regarding how long your lawsuit will take.

Timing is determined by a host of factors, including:

How complex your case is:

For example, Slip and Fall cases are simple, straightforward cases to navigate. Medical malpractice suits on the other hand, are much more complex and could take much longer to reach conclusion.

The amount of damages incurred:

Less damage equals reduced repair costs and reduced need for extensive medical care. That’s why cases with damages totaling $1,000 settle much faster than those totaling $1,000,000.

How severe your injuries are:

If you’ve sustained a mild injury such as a sprained ankle, your case will settle much faster. However, in more extreme cases the injury could be more severe, such as a brain injury or even death. The latter could take years to reach a conclusion and settlement.

How many cases are currently open in your jurisdiction:

If the courts in your jurisdiction are overwhelmed with cases, it may take a while for your case to be heard. Court dates can be adjusted at any time.

For this reason, Glofin has mined its’ data and below you will find the average amount of time that a personal injury lawsuit will take based on your estimated value of your claim. We do not believe this data can be found in any other place since most lawsuit settlements are confidential.

Approximate Personal Injury Case Value        Approximate Time Lawsuit will Take

$1,000   –   $10,000                                                         273 Days (9 months)

$10,001  –  $20,000                                                        296 Days (10 months)

$20,001  –  $50,000                                                       424 Days  (14 months)

$50,001  –  $100,000                                                     571 Days  (19 months)

$100,001  –  $250,000                                                 693 Days  (23 Months)

$250,000  –  $1,000,000                                             1,048 Days (35 months)

$1,000,001  ++++                                                         1,118 Days (37 months)


The number above are based on actual settlement data based on actual and estimated settlement values and time frames from the incident date until the actual settlement date or verdict date. Actual settlement funds may have taken 30 days or longer to be received by the plaintiff after settlement was reached. This data can provide a general estimate regarding how long your lawsuit will take to either settle or resolve.

If you are a plaintiff trying to decide when to settle your case and for how much, we hope this blog can help you make a better decision.

If your lawsuit is taking longer than expected, consider a pre settlement cash advance form Glofin.