There is no set time on how long an injury case takes to settle, but on average, you can expect somewhere around six months after your doctors have released you from active medical care – as long as the case doesn’t go to trial. More complicated claims, especially those that go to trial, see anywhere from one to three years to settle.
One of the first questions you have on your mind, when you decide to file an injury claim, is how long it will take to settle. The time frame, however, depends on whether negotiations outside of the courtroom are an option, if your case is going to court, and how powerful the evidence is. Even a clear-cut case can take a few months as insurance companies will do their best to push back and lower settlement amounts so that they don’t overpay.
To better answer the question of how long it would take, you need to understand the obstacles in your way and what might increase or decrease the amount of time.
Factors That Expedite the Settlement Process
Certain factors can speed up how long it takes for your attorney and the insurance company to settle. Now, there is no guarantee these will exponentially speed up the process, but you are less likely to have administrative delays when these factors apply to your case.
Hire an Attorney Immediately
The sooner you enlist the help of an attorney, the faster your case will progress. Insurance companies enjoy stalling, putting off investigations, and using whatever tactic they can in hopes that the victim will give up and no longer pursue a claim. When you have an attorney involved, the stall tactics instantly go away and your attorney will push for negotiations right away. That means the insurance company will start negotiating and you will reach a settlement faster than if you try to do it yourself.
Keep Records of All Expenses and Medical Records
It is imperative that you stay organized. Even though you are stressed, in pain, and trying to recover, the more organized you are with your evidence, the easier it will be for your attorney to present your case and push the insurance company toward settling.
Keep all medical records or copies of them with you and give them to your attorney the moment you have new records. Likewise, anything you pay out of pocket or your insurance company pays, you should keep a receipt and then give that to your attorney. This includes out-of-pocket expenses that you pay for, such as prescription medication co-pays or medical equipment.
Have Witness Statements
Substantial evidence will always push the insurance company to settle – because they know that going to court means it is up in the air as to how much compensation they will receive. Therefore, if you have witness statements that identify the defendant as the cause of the accident, the insurance company will be apt to settle with your attorney rather than go to court.
Factors That Slow the Settlement Process
While certain items can increase the speed your case settles, others will slow it down – and sometimes take it from months into years.
Not Hiring an Attorney Right Away
If you do not hire an attorney right away, when you finally do hire one, it will take them time to gather evidence and catch up on the details of your case before they can even start negotiations. This takes time, which means more time you must wait before receiving the compensation you need.
Your Case Has Weak Evidence
Whether you do not have a police report, there are no witness statements, or you are missing critical records that strengthen the evidence for who was at fault, weak evidence can draw out how long negotiations take. The insurance company is more likely to come back with lower settlements because they know you do not have strong evidence proving you deserve more.
The Insurer Refuses to Settle
Sometimes, the insurance company refuses to settle in private negotiations, which means you will need to wait for a court date and your trial. Do not think all negotiations stop here, however. Often, an insurance company will still negotiate with your attorney during the trial, especially when they feel the trial is not going in their favor.
Your Statements Are Inconsistent
When your statements to the insurance company, your attorney, or the court vary from one instance to another, it calls into question the truth about your injuries and the accident. Inconsistencies will delay your settlement because the insurance company will use these inconsistencies to lower the settlement amount. This means more time your attorney must take seeking powerful evidence to prove otherwise.
Hire an Attorney Today to Help Your Case Progress Faster
While there is no guarantee an attorney will help your case progress at lightning speeds, nor will any good attorney promise to settle your case in under a year, having an advocate doing the work and negotiating with the insurance company can help expedite your negotiations. Whether it decreases your wait by one month or years, having someone there who knows the ins and outs of the process, negotiates on your behalf, and fights for the compensation you deserve is critical.
An injury advocate can give you an idea of how long your case will take just by looking over the evidence and learning more about your injuries. While they cannot promise a case will be resolved in six months or less, they can give you a better idea so you are not sitting waiting and wondering.
To get started, schedule a free case evaluation with the team at The Law Offices of David M. Benenfeld, P.A. today. We know waiting for compensation is hard, especially when you have medical bills and expenses continuing to pile up.
Explore your legal options now by calling us or request more information online about our legal services.