Every personal injury lawyer will be asked at some point in a case how long it's going to take to get money. The nature of the case is the biggest factor that dictates the length of time to get compensation. Here are four possible answers to this question.

The Claim Never Pays

No personal injury attorney can guarantee they'll get money for you. It is possible your claim will go to an insurance company and be rejected. Similarly, there's no guarantee that suing after the rejection of a claim will lead to a judgment.


At the opposite end of the spectrum are cases that pay fairly quickly. Insurance companies usually appoint claims adjusters to evaluate each case. An adjuster's first goal is to determine if the claim will hold water. If the case seems legit or at least hard for the insurance company to dispute, the adjuster is authorized to propose a settlement.


You should note that most of the cases that are resolved within weeks involve extremely simple medical issues. If someone suffered a broken forearm in an incident, for example, that's a fairly straightforward claim to assemble, submit, and approve.

More cases will take at least a few months to sort out. In particular, a personal injury attorney may need to wait for medical reports to come in. For example, someone with a several back injury might have to wait months for the swelling to come down. Only then might it become apparent whether the damage is mostly to muscle tissue or the spinal cord and surrounding nerves.


It's worth noting here that the statute of limitations for initially submitting a claim is two to three years in most U.S. states. That gives a claimant and their personal injury attorney some time to put the case together. Complex cases may take many months if, for example, the claimant requires exploratory surgery or multiple treatments.

A personal injury attorney seldom wants to move a case forward any sooner than necessary. They'll want the client to recover as much as possible, and they'll also want to be sure they know the full scope of the client's injuries.

Some cases also require negotiations. The adjuster might accept the claim but offer too low a settlement, for example. If negotiations fail or the claim is rejected, the client may also have to sue to have a chance to receive compensation.