Average Time to Settle a Personal Injury Case
Clients who have recently been in a car accident usually always have the same first question: “How long will my personal injury case take to settle?”
Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to know exactly how long your claim will take because every accident and every client’s health is different. A settlement can take anywhere from two weeks up to a couple years. It is always smart to contact an attorney as soon as possible after receiving initial medical treatment so they can start working on your case. The biggest factor in the lifespan of your case is usually the severity of your injuries and the treatment necessary to make you healthy again. Generally, if you have suffered minor injuries there is a better chance of your case settling within a few months, as opposed to someone with complicated injuries that could take years to settle.
Factors that can affect the length of time to settle
Many clients ask how long an insurance claim takes, but the length of time varies greatly from case to case. When accident victims handle their personal injury claim alone, they sometimes settle before their treatment is done. As a result, they may not receive all that they could be entitled to. For this reason, it’s important not to rush through an insurance claim and settlement process until every factor of the situation has been fully analyzed. The following factors can affect the length of the process:
Legal or Factual Problems
In some cases, there may be factual conflicts that make your claim take longer. Some of these conflicts can be resolved through investigation by your attorney in obtaining the following: medical bills, treatment notes, diagnostic imaging results, traffic accident reports, witness interviews, photographs of injuries, photographs of the scene, accident reconstruction reports, employment and lost wage information, and maximum recovery parameters. With all of the heavy lifting from your attorney to get to the bottom of the facts, it will make the process easier on you and will likely speed up your case.
If you have been through the personal injury settlement process before, you know that the most important part of your claim is the medical treatment you receive. Making sure you get all the treatment you need for your injuries is of utmost importance to getting you back to your normal life. Once you have recovered, your doctor and attorney will have a better idea of how these injuries will affect your life moving forward and how the injuries have affected you since the accident occurred. In some cases, a client may have to be referred to a specialist or surgeon, which can end up costing more money and taking more time. This is one of the most important reasons not to settle with an insurance company before you have fully treated your injuries. Sometimes your health will dramatically change after the accident, so if you settle prematurely you may not receive all the compensation you need to treat properly. Your attorney will fight to make sure your medical bills are paid in full and ensure that any future complications are covered as well.
Large Money Involved
Sometimes personal injury cases will involve large amounts of money due to expensive medical bills or third party claims. Due to the negotiation process for such large sums, it may take longer for the insurance company to settle your claim. Insurance companies will often delay offering the adequate amount in cases with a lot of money at stake, but an attorney will make sure that they are offering the fair amount for your circumstances.
Filing a Lawsuit
If you and your attorney have reached a point where it is time to settle and the insurance company does not want to pay, then you and your attorney will have to decide if it makes sense to file a lawsuit. Most personal injury cases settle out of court, but sometimes if the two parties cannot agree a lawsuit must be filed. Filing a lawsuit can also be a contributing factor to the timeline of your case. Although your insurance claim may go on for a long time, it is important to be patient so that you can make sure you receive fair compensation.
How long after a car accident can you file a claim?
You should immediately file a claim with your insurance company in order to report damage to your car or other property. If you have injuries, you should consult a doctor and an attorney before considering a settlement. The severity of the injuries you sustained will affect the time it takes to actually settle the claim.