How long does it take to get a settlement after an accident?
Each personal injury case is unique, and the time frame for settling a claim varies from case to case. There are no laws that require an insurance company to settle your case within a specific time frame. There are, however, statutes of limitations that require injured victims to file claims or lawsuits within specific time frames in order to avoid the loss of all rights. As a general rule, the personal injury portion of a claim may take anywhere from several months to upwards of three years to settle.
Most people believe that an accident claim should be settled within a few weeks simply because there is no dispute on the issue of liability- meaning, there is no question that the other party is at fault. However, once the issue of liability is resolved, the battle between your lawyer and the insurance company is all about the value of your case.
In all injury claims, it is inappropriate to evaluate a client’s claims for settlement purposes until after the client has completed all of their treatment, and the overall disruption to the client’s quality of life is understood. Insurance companies will always seek to settle claims immediately after an accident because they can settle the claim for a lot less money than if they wait for the client to complete their medical treatment.
Injury claims, which involve more severe injuries require a longer course of medical treatment, and of course command a higher settlement value. Injury claims that require minor injuries require a shorter course of medical treatment and command a smaller settlement value. The length of the medical treatment is one component, which delays the process necessary to settle a claim.
In many cases, whether the claim involves severe injuries or minor injuries, fighting the case in court is necessary to get the highest possible settlement amount for the client. Of course, the court battle is another component, which delays the process necessary to settle a claim.
As a general rule, claims that involve serious injuries need to be fought in court because insurance companies will not willingly make the highest settlement offers early in the process. In fact, insurance companies will not pay large settlement amounts unless your lawyer has the knowledge and experience to properly investigate, prepare and present your case. By doing so, your lawyer creates an imminent threat that if the insurance company does not pay the highest possible settlement amount, they will lose big at trial.
There are many other factors that can delay the resolution of a claim. In cases where there is more than one responsible party, the insurance companies for the different parties may not agree on the percentage of liability they are responsible to pay. In other cases, there may be two separate witnesses that provide differing accounts for how the accident happened. And still in other cases, the insurance company may simply not agree that their insured is responsible for having caused the accident. In all of these cases, there is no option but to fight the claims in court, and the process of doing so prolongs the time necessary to settle the claims.
An experienced personal injury lawyer will properly advise you about whether you should fight your case in court to obtain the highest possible settlement amount. Even though the court battle prolongs the time necessary to settle your case, in the end, you will receive a larger settlement.