How Long Does A Medical Malpractice Claim Take To Settle?

This is one of the most common questions attorneys get asked, and for good reason. People want to know how long their lives will be interrupted and when they can expect to collect their compensation and move on with their lives.

Although we understand you are looking for a clear-cut answer, the answer to this question will vary from person to person depending on the specifics of the case and if the other side wants to play hard ball. For some victims of medical malpractice—when the evidence is very straightforward—the case can be over in several months; however, the general timeframe may be closer to several years for most people. According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, “the average length of time between the occurrence of the injury and the closure of the claim is five years.”

The long time frame is often the result of several factors. First, cases shouldn’t be settled until the extent of one’s injuries are known. Sometimes just recovering from an incident of medical malpractice can take over a year due to surgery, healing, physical therapy, and even possible adverse outcomes. Second, the other side will rarely admit right away to their wrongdoing, and they will either deny the claim or will provide a low settlement offer. Negotiating to get you a fair settlement can take some time. If a settlement cannot be agreed upon, the case will take longer as it will go to trial. Just getting court dates and going through the process will cause a case to drag on. Sometimes the court will delay the case due to crowded court dockets. In addition, sometimes doctors or medical experts may be busy, which can delay the case.

If you believe you were a victim of medical malpractice, you should contact our office online or by phone and talk to us about the specifics of your case. We may be able to give you more insight as to the timeframe of your case and how we can help you resolve your medical malpractice case as quickly and as thoroughly as possible.


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  • Serving Virginia & D.C. Since 1986

    Our firm has earned a reputation as a top personal injury and medical malpractice firm. We have the ability to give your case the representation and attention it needs and deserves.

  • Trial-Tested Attorneys

    We believe the fight isn’t over until you are fully satisfied. While we always strive to resolve our clients’ cases, we are prepared to pursue litigation if necessary.

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    Shevlin Smith has over 130 years of combined legal experience and we have the tools and resources to effectively advocate on your behalf.

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