When faced with a personal injury accident, auto accident, or medical malpractice suit, there are many factors that are out of your control. From receiving necessary information on current status to understanding the lawsuit settlement process, many individuals turn to their lawyers for answers. Foley and Small are no different. When it comes to the lawsuit settlement process, the timeline and steps can vary from case to case. In this blog, we will discuss the average settlement timeline and what you can expect when faced with a lawsuit.
How Long Does a Lawsuit take to Settle?
Lawsuit settlement periods can vary. In an auto-crash case with significant injuries and clear liability, the case might settle within a few months where it is shown that the value of the claim far exceeds the available insurance limits under the defendant’s automobile policy. In such a situation, we can often secure a policy limit offer from the insurance carrier within several weeks or a few months.
However, in a case where it is clear the other party is at fault and the injuries are not too severe and the treatment does not take too long, it could take as little as 6 months to settle that claim. Where there is disputed liability and disputed injuries and a lawsuit is filed, typically a case of that type takes 1 to 3 years to resolve. Finally, in cases involving class actions and multidistrict litigation, where hundreds, if not thousands, of people, are bringing claims of a similar type, those cases can go on for 5 to 10 years.
What does the Lawsuit Settlement Process look like?
A lawsuit or claim can be settled by various means. Often, an effort is made to resolve or settle a case before filing a lawsuit. There, the Foley and Small team will get the information we need on how the incident occurred showing that the other driver or party was at fault as well as obtain copies of all the medical treatment and billing records along with any information on pay loss. With that information, our lawyers will prepare a “settlement letter”.
A settlement letter is a document that contains the following:
- A description of how the incident occurred
- How the other party is at fault
- Provide a listing of the injuries suffered
- Lengthy discussion on the treatment history
- Section containing how the client is presently doing
- Pay loss information
- Medical bills summary
At the end of the letter, the document will contain a settlement offer. This is where our lawyers will commence negotiations with the other party responsible for paying on the claim.
Once the settlement letter is written, our lawyers will proceed with negotiations.
What happens if the Settlement Offer is Not Accepted?
If the case is unresolved by sending a settlement letter and negotiations thereafter, a lawsuit is filed. In the lawsuit, we will undertake what is called a written discovery, which is the sending of written questions by one party to the other and also requesting copies of documents pertaining to the case from the opposing party and, if necessary, from third parties.
Typically, depositions are taken of persons involved in the incident, along with depositions or statements from witnesses to the incident. If necessary, an expert may be retained to reconstruct the incident to show how it occurred and how the other party was at fault. This will lead to a mediation session, which is typically ordered by the court.
A mediation session is held either in person or by Zoom conference. The mediator will then go from room to room exchanging information, providing insight and perspective, and exchanging offers and counteroffers, hopefully to the point that a settlement is reached. Even if mediation is not successful, the parties can continue to negotiate up until the time of trial and entry of a verdict by a jury.
Looking for a Lawyer? We’re Here to Help
Reaching the settlement can be an overwhelming process for many, but at Foley and Small, we are here to help you every step of the way. If you’ve been injured or are seeking assistance regarding personal injury, contact us today. Let the attorneys and staff of Foley & Small use their experience and expertise to help you and your family.