Personal Injury Settlement Payouts – What to Expect


One of the most often asked questions is how long it takes before a personal injury settlement is paid out.

Only tiny percentages of personal injury matters go to trial as most are settled out of court.

The  U.S. Department of Justice estimated that some 16,397 tort cases were tried nationally. Personal injury claims numbered 409,925.

It’s not ideal to win a personal injury claim and then wait ages for payment.

When considering pursuing a claim, you should have reasonable expectations of how long the process will take. For example, a simple case will not take years to process, but a complicated high-value case may take that long.

A complicated matter for a considerable amount can take from 6 months to a few years to conclude from start to finish. Conversely, a simple, low payout claim can be settled and paid out within 3 to 6 months.

Let’s examine the process that needs to be followed to give you a better understanding of why settlement periods vary as much as they do.

Factors affecting the Length of Your Claim

Since no two cases are the same, it’s difficult to predict how long your case will take.

Many factors affect the length of a claim. These include:

  • Whether the other party denies liability
  • The type of accident – i.e medical negligence versus road accident
  • The seriousness of your injuries, i.e if the accident caused a permanent disability or not
  • How much evidence is needed to compile to prove your case

Proving Fault

It is necessary to prove fault in a personal injury matter. So, if the other party denies liability, the time to prove your claim will immediately take a lot longer. If the other party admits liability, the claims process will be faster.

What you allege, you must prove. For example, if the other party denies liability, your lawyer must gather evidence to prove liability. This is time-consuming, especially if the case is complicated and the claim is substantial.

Consider that collection of each piece of evidence takes time. Sources of evidence include the following:

  • Police reports
  • CCTV coverage
  • Medical reports
  • Medical Expert opinions
  • Medical costs

Final Assessment of the Extent and the Cost of Your Injuries

Sometimes it may be necessary for you to wait before finalizing your claim due to the nature of your injury.

For example, sometimes, injuries take time to settle before a final diagnosis can be made.

Your lawyer may then advise you to wait until a more accurate picture is available.

This ensures that you claim for all costs, including future expenses that become apparent after a while.

How Soon is Payment Made After Settlement?

Payment is typically made within 2 weeks to a month and should take no longer than 30 days.

If your case was adjudicated, the court will prescribe a deadline by which time you should receive your compensation.

What Amounts are deducted, if Any?

The firm’s fee is agreed to by you and the attorney initially.

Usually, the firm will work on a contingency fee basis.

Your attorney will typically deposit the settlement check, wait for it to clear, and then deduct any debts and lien amounts against the claim as well as the firm’s fees for handling the matter.

The balance will be paid to you.

In summary

Several variables affect how long your claim will take to process.

It is good to consider time frames before entering into a personal injury lawsuit and align your expectations accordingly.