How Long Will It Take to Settle My Personal Injury Claim?
Many people who file a personal injury case at the court wonder how long it takes to settle a personal injury lawsuit. Personal injury lawsuits can take a few months or even a couple of years depending on the case. If someone wants to settle the claim early, they can do so. However, there is a catch. They’ll have to settle for less money than they could get if they wait.
In this article, we will examine why some personal injury claims take more time to settle and whether you should accept a quick settlement.
Why Personal Injury Claims Take So Long?
Some personal injury lawsuits take more time to settle. The three reasons why personal injury lawsuits may move slow include:
- Big money is involved in the case
- Factual or legal problems are dragging the case
- The victim hasn’t reached complete medical improvement from their injuries
If any of the above-mentioned situations are involved in your case, it’ll take more time to settle unless you’re willing to accept less money to resolve the case quickly. Let’s look at these situations in more details.
Large Sums of Money
When major damages are involved in the case, a large amount of money must be paid by the liable party as compensation. The insurer of the liable party simply won’t pay the large amount of money on such a case or offer a settlement to resolve the case until they themselves have done proper investigation of the case. They’ll investigate all the aspects of liability as well as the damages associated with the case. Insurance company of the at-fault party will not settle for any reasonable amount of money until they’re convinced that victim’s claim is credible, their injuries are severe and they can’t defend the case.
Sometimes insurers purposely delay settlements on big cases hoping that the plaintiff (victim) will get tired and give up, settling for less money. Most injured victims need money from the settlement and can’t wait for a long time to get compensated. Insurance companies are well-aware of this which is why they take their time to settle the case.
Factual or Legal Problems
In a personal injury lawsuit, the case’s value is determined through the considered liability i.e. who’s responsible for the injury and damages i.e. the severity of injuries suffered by the plaintiff.
If proving liability (negligence of the defendant) is hard, then the insurance company will likely not offer a reasonable amount of settlement until the attorney of the plaintiff has filed the case and hired experts to prove the defendant’s fault. If legal issues exist in the case, then the insurance company won’t offer any settlement. For example, the company believes that the victim doesn’t have the legal right of suing the at-fault party. This is one such instance where the insurance company would not offer any settlement amount.
Alternatively, there could be issues with damages. For example, doctors treating the plaintiff might not be sure that the negligence of the defendant caused the injury of the plaintiff. The plaintiff always carries the burden of proof in the court about the defendant’s negligence and the subsequent injuries. If the plaintiff’s doctors aren’t sure about this, then they’ll lack sufficient evidence to win the case. Therefore, the insurance company won’t offer them a settlement until their attorney can provide some evidence that shows that the defendant is directly responsible for the injuries of the plaintiff.
Maximum or Complete Medical Improvement
Sometimes settlement takes more time because the injuries of the plaintiff are still being treated. If you are injured and going under treatment, you should never settle for compensation. You have to do this until you reach the maximum or complete medical improvement from the injuries suffered in the accident.
Maximum or complete medical improvement means that you have fully recovered. The reason you should wait to reach this point is because you’ll know the total value of your damages and how much compensation you are entitled to. As the lawyers of the Jewkes Firm, LLC, can explain, if you’re still being treated and haven’t fully recovered, you won’t be able to know the settlement amount you are entitled to.
If you cannot wait, you can accept the early settlement from the insurance company and settle for less amount of money. However, we advise against that. If you need help filing a personal injury lawsuit, hire an experienced personal injury attorney today.