How long it takes to settle a personal injury case depends heavily on a variety of factors in any individual case. It is much easier to break down the time frame into different steps of the case. This comprehensive timeline helps determine the time it may take to settle a personal injury case. A personal injury attorney is a good person to discuss your specific situation with.
It is important to note that this timeline begins after the car accident occurs.
How Long It Takes to Settle a Personal Injury Case Depends on How Long the Liability Determination Takes
After a car accident occurs, one of the most important people to contact is the alleged “at-fault” driver’s insurance company. We highly recommend having an experienced personal injury lawyer help make this call.
Once the insurance company is contacted, they will make a determination regarding liability. It is important to ensure that you or your attorney provide the insurance company with pictures, videos, accident reports, witness statements and any other relevant evidence to ensure liability is determined properly.
Depending on the facts of your case, this process can take some time. Most insurance companies also need to obtain a statement from their insured in order to determine liability. If their insured is nowhere to be found, this task may become time consuming. At any rate, hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer can help speed up this process. To be on the safe side, we say this stage can take anywhere from a few days to a month if you are not considered at fault. If there is a dispute of liability, there may be additional delays.
How Long It Takes to Settle a Personal Injury Case Depends on How Long It Takes to Collect the Necessary Evidence
Once it is determined that you are not liable for the accident, it is time to collect the necessary evidence. We suggest hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer to ensure the correct pieces of evidence are collected.
Evidence can range from the medical records, billing records, pictures, videos, traffic cameras, witness statements, and the list goes on. Depending on how accessible this evidence can be, really depends on how long it will take to obtain. If done in conjunction with the initial liability determination stage, most of the evidence may already be obtained.
Time It Takes to Reach Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI)
This stage in a personal injury case is crucial. Before you or your attorney file a demand with the insurance company, it is paramount that you have reached maximum medical improvement. MMI means you have reached a point where your recovery will no longer get any better. Whether that means you are fully healed, or the accident has left you the way you are, MMI is a point that must be reached.
Depending on the severity of your injuries, MMI may take a long time to reach. Sometimes MMI may take so long to reach that your attorney is forced to file a lawsuit to preserve the statute of limitations. If your injuries are minor, reaching MMI may not take much time at all.
The Time It Takes to File a Demand Package
After reaching the point of maximum medical improvement, it may be time to file your demand package with the insurance company. We highly recommend having an experienced personal injury attorney draft and compile a compelling and persuasive demand package.
Creating a strong demand package takes some time. Sometimes there are delays in retrieving medical records or other substantial evidence needed to complete the package. All in all, once all of the evidence is collected, an experienced attorney should be able to send a demand package within a reasonable time.
The Time It Takes to Negotiate a Settlement
Once the demand package is filed with the insurance company, negotiations will begin. If you have hired a personal injury attorney, they should understand how to put pressure on the insurance company to get them to timely respond to offers and rejections.
In today’s modern times, sending offers and rejections back and forth should be easier than sending through the mail. However, it is important to ensure that every offer or rejection is documented in writing. If you are in a hurry to settle, it is always important to remember not to “short money.” Attorneys understand that you want your money as soon as possible, but if you can hold on a bit longer, the outcome may be substantial.
How Long It Takes to Settle Your Personal Injury Case Depends on Whether You May Need Arbitration
The process of arbitration includes a neutral fact finder who will decide the case. Depending on whether the arbitration is binding or non binding makes a big difference. Binding arbitration means that the outcome is the final result.
If you or your attorney cannot come to an agreement with the insurance company, but do not want to file a lawsuit just yet, arbitration might be a good alternative. The time required for arbitration typically depends on the schedules of the insurance adjuster, arbitrator, and your attorney. Once the arbitration is scheduled, the outcome can usually be found within a day.
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How long it takes to settle a personal injury case totally depends on the specific facts of your case. We highly recommend not tackling a personal injury settlement on your own. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you to effectively and timely settle your personal injury case.