After an injury, it is common for clients to ask how long it will take to reach a settlement or bring the case to trial. Unfortunately, there is no hard-and-fast answer to this question because each claim and client is unique. However, there are some factors a client can consider when shaping expectations of their road to resolution:
The length of time it takes to reach a personal injury settlement depends on the extent of the injury. Many times, an insurance company requires the claimant reach maximum medical improvement before discussing settlement. If the injury is severe, this could take some time.
How long it takes to reach maximum medical improvement also depends on what type of medical professional is required to provide the treatment. For example, it may take a number of weeks or months for a client to get an appointment with a specialist. And if the specialist needs to perform a significant procedure, such as a surgery or nerve ablation, it can take a substantial amount of time to complete.
There are multiple individuals involved in bringing a lawsuit or injury claim to its conclusion, and each has their own schedules and to-do lists.
For example, once maximum medical improvement is reached, the attorney must gather all medical records and bills for review by the insurance company. Medical records requests are processed by hospital staff or third-party companies hired to compile the information and, once a request is received, it can take a number of weeks to process.
Once the request is processed, it could take 1-2 months for the records to be reviewed by the insurance company. The adjuster will analyze the extent of the injury, whether future medical attention is required, and whether the injury was caused by the accident in question. In order to make a determination on causation, the insurance company may request medical records generated prior to the accident, which takes additional time to obtain and review.
After a review by the insurance company, it can take a number of weeks to negotiate a settlement figure with the attorney. If an agreement is reached, settlement language must also be negotiated by the parties. The insurance company must then process the settlement payment, which can take 2-4 weeks.
Once settlement funds are received, outstanding medical bills must be paid and settlement funds distributed to the client. This process can take an additional 1-2 weeks, depending on how many medical providers must be paid.
Generally, the larger the settlement, the longer period of time it takes to obtain. Insurance companies frequently offer small settlement checks to an injury victim shortly after an accident. This low-ball offer should seldom be accepted. Most individuals do not know the severity of their injury immediately after an accident and settling early on could mean foregoing damages you might otherwise be entitled to.
Reaching a fair settlement can take time, but a skilled attorney will give their best efforts to ensure the wait is not in vain.
As you can see, there are many different facets to a personal injury action. If you’ve been involved in an accident, contact an experienced attorney at The Nordgren Law Firm, LLC, for help navigating the road to recovery.