Given the sheer amount of residents and visitors to the state of California, it’s no surprise that many individuals find themselves on the receiving end of a personal injury each year. Oftentimes, these are just minor injuries that don’t require legal intervention.
However, there are plenty of cases that leave the victims in a less-than-favorable position. Unfortunately, pursuing legal action requires two key commodities: time and money. And you might be asking yourself, “how long does a personal injury settlement take?”
To help answer that, here are the ins and outs of California personal injury settlements.
How do you define personal injury?
Personal injury is one of the more nebulous terms floating around, strictly because it can encompass such a variety of injuries.
Personal injury could take the form of a car accident, a slip and fall incident, medical malpractice, and in some jurisdictions, libel and slander (though the latter two are much more uncommon). The injury, however, isn’t the only component of a personal injury case. There’s another key concept that you need to factor in: negligence.
In most instances, negligence refers to the opposing party’s fault in the personal injury case. Legally speaking, negligence in personal injury is assessed through a breach of duty. In most situations, every individual has a reasonable duty of care. This means that, whether they’re driving or walking a dog that’s prone to biting, they’re working within their power to avoid causing harm to another individual.
Naturally, a breach of duty means that the individual didn’t reasonably avoid dealing harm and, in some cases, caused the harm intentionally. Of course, in many instances, negligence and breach of duty are somewhat difficult to prove, but there are a few instances that are more cut and dry.
Say, for instance, you were rear-ended while waiting at a stoplight and the accident gave you whiplash and back pain. Since you were stopped and the other party hit you, they would be in breach of duty and would more easily be found to be negligent.
California law sometimes makes it a bit harder to assess fault in cases. So it’s important, if you’re looking into legal action, to connect with an experienced personal injury attorney before you proceed with a lawsuit.
Average length of a personal injury case
When it comes to personal injury cases, it’s a little more difficult to determine the exact length of a lawsuit. Some cases are settled much more quickly than others, especially if the defendant is looking to avoid a lengthy legal battle.
The inverse of this holds true as well. On occasion, personal injury cases could take between two and three years if the defendant disagrees with the assessment of fault. Luckily, not many personal injury cases see the courtroom, because retaining legal counsel is a heavy financial investment.
Ultimately, it’s nearly impossible to estimate how long a given case might take without knowing its specifics. Especially if the injury sustained was more severe, the victim will likely prioritize medical care and rehabilitation before they consider pursuing legal action. This is another question you should present to your attorney. They may be able to give you a more concise estimate as to how long your individual case might take.
Personal injury cases have a nasty habit of upending the victim’s life, especially in more grievous situations. From hospital stays to exorbitant medical bills, it’s quite possible that pursuing legal action is the last thing on your mind. However, it can potentially award you damages to help mitigate medical costs, lost work time, and pain and suffering.
If you believe that a personal injury case is the right decision for you, it’s important to meet with a qualified attorney to determine your best course of action. Many attorneys offer free consultations which provides a risk-free means of deciding on your next steps.