How Long Will My Personal Injury Case Take?

By Nicholas Strom

Accident victims are often unfamiliar with the personal injury litigation process. Most people hurt by the negligence of others have never been through any type of court proceedings. One of the most common questions I am asked is how long will the case take? Unfortunately, the answer is, it depends. Personal injury cases can go very quickly or may drag out for years. This blog post is an attempt to provide guidance to those injured in an accident and hopefully answer some common questions about what causes delay in personal injury litigation.

Common Factors that Affect Length of a Personal Injury Case

Every case is different and there are countless factors that will affect the length of an accident case. However, there are common things in most cases that will affect how long it takes to get to a settlement or trial resolution.

Communication with your attorney

The most important thing an injured person can do to speed along their personal injury case is to communicate with their attorney. It is the single most controllable factor for an injured person. If you do not communicate with your attorney, your attorney cannot help you. Your attorney will need to know how you are progressing with your medical treatment, if the case goes to litigation your attorney will need to coordinate answers to discovery and schedule your deposition. The most important thing an injured person can do to get to a case resolution as quickly as possible is to communicate with her or his attorney.

Length of medical treatment

The length of medical treatment is another important factor in personal injury cases. Ideally, negotiations with insurance companies will not begin until treatment is complete. There are exceptions to this general rule (for instance, if the statute of limitations is approaching) but in a perfect world medical treatment will be complete before your attorney starts to negotiate with the insurance company.

Communication with medical providers

Similarly to an injured person’s communication with their attorney, it is important for medical providers to communicate with attorneys. An attorney will not know the status of treatment and what treatment has been provided unless they hear from medical providers. An injured party should follow up with their doctors to make sure the doctors are in communication with their accident attorney.


Liability, or who is at fault for the accident, is another major factor in how long a personal injury case will take. Typically, if there is no dispute that the injured party was not at fault for the accident, the insurance company and the injured person’s attorney will be able to negotiate a settlement without having to file a lawsuit. However, if liability is disputed, insurance companies are more likely to fight the case and a lawsuit will have to be filed to establish who was at fault for the accident. Almost always, having to file a lawsuit will significantly lengthen the amount of time it takes to resolve an accident case.

Insurance policy limits

The amount of insurance the at fault party has can be a major factor in how fast an accident case resolves. If the available insurance policy is low, more often than not an insurance company will be willing to settle reasonably quickly. For example, imagine someone was hit by a car and liability is not an issue. If this person incurred $50,000.00 in medical expenses, but the available insurance policy was only $25,000.00, the insurance company will likely provide the full amount of the insurance policy. It does not make sense for the insurance company to waste time and resources defending the case or negotiating when medical bills exceed the insurance policy. Remember, if this is the situation the injured party may still have recourse to obtain additional compensation through their own insurance policy.

Communication with the insurance company or opposing counsel

One factor completely out of the hands of the accident victim and their attorney is how quickly the insurance company or the insurance company’s attorneys communicate. There is nothing more frustrating than waiting for a slow response from the insurance company. If this is the case, it is important to be patient. Your attorney will be constantly following up to try and get a response.

Other things to know about the length of an accident case

An injured person should remember that it is possible it may take more time than they want to resolve their case. Patience is important and an injured person should help their attorney whenever possible. Prompt communication with their attorney is the most important thing an injured party can do. It is also the one thing the injured party has control over. An injured person should remember their attorney is doing everything she or he can to resolve the case and the attorney is your teammate. Working with your attorney will help resolve an accident case as quickly as possible.


It is impossible to say for certain how long a personal injury case will take. There are countless factors involved in an accident case but there are things an injured person can do to move their case along more quickly. Staying in communication with your attorney and making sure medical providers do the same are the best ways to move your case to resolution. There may be delays in a personal injury case that are completely out of the control of the injured person and their attorney. When these delays happen, it is important to be patient and work with your attorney as a team to continue to move your case forward.

Fowler St. Clair handles personal injury cases and is here to help. If you have any questions about the legal process or think you may have a case, you can always reach out and one of our trusted team members can discuss your potential personal injury case free of charge.