How long should a personal injury settlement take?

by Donna
(Greensboro, NC)

My mother was rear-ended twice while sitting still at a traffic signal. The man hit her, backed up and tried to flee, hit her a second time, backed up and tried to flee again, then wrecked into a tree. It has been over 4 years and her attorney just told her to expect to go to trial in about 7 to 9 months!

This seems like it's taking longer than it should. Should she get another lawyer? How long does a personal injury case like this take to resolve? Is there any way to speed up the process? Thank you for any information you can give.

Visitor Question:
Disclaimer: Information provided in our response is NOT formal legal advice. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Under no circumstances should the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site be relied upon when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Our response does NOT create an attorney-client relationship. Always get a formal case review from a licensed attorney in your area.

ANSWER for "How long should a personal injury settlement take?":

Donna (Greensboro, NC):

It is our policy at not to interfere with the attorney-client privilege. To do so would be wholly inappropriate.

Generally speaking, personal injury settlements for "soft tissue" injuries shouldn't take more than a few months up to a year or so. Soft tissue injures can include whiplash, strains and sprains of muscles, tendons and ligaments, minor abrasions, bumps and bruises, and the like. The time can be extended if a lawsuit is filed.

For more serious "hard injuries" such as fractures, head trauma, disfigurement, back injury, serious burns, and the like, a settlement can take anywhere from a few months to more than a year. However, if a lawsuit as been filed, it can take several years.

Four years sounds a bit excessive for a personal injury settlement or trial. Another 7-9 months is even more excessive. It sounds like it may be time to consult with another personal injury attorney. Here's how to find a good injury attorney for your case.

In fact, speak with several personal injury attorneys. Fortunately, most won't charge for an initial office consultation. Ask your present attorney to give you a copy of your mother's file. You may need your mother to ask the attorney, inasmuch as she is the actual client.

Asking for a copy of the file may prompt the attorney to take some action to quickly settle the claim. However, at this point, consulting with another attorney is probably your best bet.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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