After an accident, you might be wondering how long it’ll take to bring a case to a conclusion. That would depend on certain details of the case, but there are general rules that will help you navigate the personal injury case.
First, you can settle your case as soon as you know the extent and outcome of your injuries. In some situations, you can settle your case quickly, but you’ll have to accept less money that you might have expected. This is often the deciding factor in whether a case is over quickly or dragged out over time.
In order to get a good settlement amount, the insurance company will have to review your medical records. This is normally done after you’ve reached a summit of medical improvement. This means you’re as well as you’re ever going to be after the accident.
The insurance company will want every bill from all your treatments and examinations. From the initial injury to physical therapy, surgeries and doctor visits, you should be sending all that information to your attorney for transfer to the insurance company.
Your lawyer will want records of your doctor’s prognosis for your injuries. If there’s permanent damage, that will bolster your claim amount. Once all the records have been submitted, the insurance company can take as long as 30 days to evaluate your claim and make an offer.
In a few weeks time, the insurance company will likely make a low offer. This isn’t going to be the best offer you’ll ever get for your case. This is meant to save the insurance company as much money as possible. Those looking for a reasonable settlement amount shouldn’t accept this first offer. If you’d like to settle quickly, you can definitely accept this amount. It could take a few weeks from the time of the offer to receive a check.
From the accident date to the final check, it could still be 4 to 6 months depending on how long recovery takes from your injuries.
If you reject that first offer, your lawyer can negotiate with the insurance company. They’ll often present arguments for why they won’t pay more. They’ll question their liability or argue that you weren’t as injured as you claimed. This is all in your lawyer’s hands. He’ll make demands for money based on your injuries and who was at fault. Some negotiation points the insurance adjuster will argue:
- Whether the insurance policy covers the accident at all
- Who was at fault in the accident
- The extent of your injuries
- Whether certain medical treatments were necessary
- If there were preexisting conditions that contributed
Your lawyer is going to have to be organized, patient and persistent. He has to be willing to argue with the insurance company who will balk at handing out a payment. Demand letters and phone calls will go back and forth as your lawyer and the insurance company struggle to come to an agreement. This can mean months of negotiation.
In the end, your lawyer will have to decide how much is enough money for your injuries. He’ll discuss this amount with you and make recommendations. Together, you’ll decide if you want to walk away from negotiations and go to trial or accept their offer.
This type of negotiation could take months or years to bring in an acceptable amount for your claim. It’s not the quickest way to settle the case, but it’ll get you more money for your accident claim. It could also take weeks or months to receive a check after the negotiation is concluded.
You’ll want to find a personal injury lawyer Los Angeles that is willing to work for your best interests. If you want to go to trial, make sure you have an attorney willing to take your case to that level. If you end up taking a quick settlement, ensure that any attorney you hire is willing to accept your decisions.