How Long Does a Personal Injury Case Take?

Nearly 40 million Americans visit the ER with severe injuries each year. Many of those injuries will become the basis for filing a personal injury claim.

One of the biggest concerns filers tend to have when considering a claim is, “how long does a personal injury case take?” Unfortunately, there is no single answer to this question. Keep reading to learn what impacts how long a case takes and what to expect from your case.

Average Case Times

On average, the personal injury claim process can take between a few weeks and three years to complete. In very rare cases, it can take even longer.

Settling out of court can make cases shorter, but this is not usually the deciding factor. Instead, the duration of a case mostly depends on:

  • Clarity around the facts or the legal complexities
  • The amount of money sought in damages
  • The filer’s medical situation


Clarity plays a key role in the personal injury case timeline. Cases in which the facts are undisputed or easily proved will move through the settlement process more quickly than cases in which there are real questions about the events or particulars of the original incident.

No settlement can be reached until the relevant facts are nailed down. The longer it takes to investigate, determine, document, and agree on those facts, the longer it will take to close out the case.

Similarly, cases can drag on when the inciting event is well understood but the legal liabilities involved are not. Whenever possible, insurers will cast blame on other parties and try to force those parties to pay for some of the damages to reduce their own costs. This can draw out a case by months or even years.


The total amount of money that a plaintiff seeks in damages can also influence case duration. The victim of a car accident injury asking for only a small of compensation is much more likely to receive it and close out their case quickly than a similar victim seeking more money, no matter how justified.

In some cases, defendants and their insurers may purposely stall for time in an attempt to induce plaintiffs to settle for less.

Medical Situations

Before personal injury attorneys can settle a case on a victim’s behalf, they need to determine how much money the plaintiff needs and is entitled to in damages. In some cases, this is straightforward. In other cases, clients’ medical situations can be complex.

Attorneys may have to wait to pursue a settlement if plaintiffs are slow to heal or suffer complications and thus incur more medical costs associated with the injury. Cases may also suffer delays if plaintiffs cannot get a clear diagnosis and treatment plan that attorneys can use to estimate future costs.

In these types of personal injury cases, settling too early can be harmful for the plaintiff long-term.

How Long Does a Personal Injury Case Take?

There is no single answer to “how long does a personal injury case take?” Each case happens on its own timeline. Knowing that can help plaintiffs make the best choices for their specific situations.

Get more insights into how you can make the best decisions for your life by checking out the other great articles on our blog today.