Being injured in a car accident, a slip and fall, or by any other accident that was not your fault, may have entirely disrupted your life. Suddenly, your whole focus has turned towards recovering your health, and you may be struggling to perform activities that you used to do before the accident. You may also have lost your job or, even if you still have a job, you may not have gotten paid since you have not been able to go back to work since you were injured.
All this stress has likely sent you to the offices of a personal injury attorney to have them help you file a claim against whoever is liable for your injuries. Although that action alone may give you some peace of mind, you may still be curious to know how long you will have to wait to receive a settlement. This article looks to answer the question of how long personal injury claims take to settle.
Personal Injury Claim Timeline
The time it takes for personal injury claims to settle varies from case to case, and many factors play a role in its development. To start off, your lawyer will let the other party and the insurance company know that you have legal representation. Then investigations into the accident will begin. Your lawyer will contact the police officer who came to the accident, interview them and get a copy of the police report.
Then, witnesses will be contacted, and videos or pictures of the scene will be gathered. As far as getting your medical records, your lawyer will probably recommend that you wait until you have reached the point of maximum improvement for your injuries. This way, it is more accurate to determine how much your claim is worth. If you are still improving or you still need more medical treatment, it becomes harder to determine how much compensation you will need.
Once all this information has been gathered, the insurance company will have thirty days to evaluate it and respond with an offer. It is common for them to provide a lowball offer, making it necessary for your lawyer to negotiate with them.
Negotiations could be lengthy if the other party disputes the cause of the injuries, the extent of the damages, or has issues with liability. Should it be impossible to reach a settlement, the next step is going to court. This stage could represent an additional length of time that can run from a few months to a few years.
Points Of Delay In Personal Injury Claims
Besides the usual time that each of the above stages takes, there are other issues that play a role in delaying a settlement. These are:
- Legal or factual issues that are problematic
- The amount of damages is significant
- You are still receiving medical treatment and have not yet reached the point of maximum medical recovery
The Wattel & York Law Firm wants to remind you that, unless you are willing to accept any offer, you are probably going to be dealing with delays until your case is resolved. Working with an experienced personal injury attorney can make a big difference in how the case is investigated, how the negotiations proceed, and the final settlement amount you receive.