Your Personal Injury Case May Take Some Time To Settle
Health + Wellness & Money

Your Personal Injury Case May Take Some Time To Settle

Your Personal Injury Case May Take Some Time To Settle

After being injured in an accident, you probably have a lot on your mind. You may be feeling a little confused after the accident, and then the stress can start building. Medical bills can start piling up quickly, along with possible repair expenses if there’s property damage, and you may also be dealing with a loss of income. Combined, all of this can make you wonder when your personal injury case will finally be settled. Unfortunately, most personal injury cases take longer than a couple of weeks to be resolved—so, what influences the timing of personal injury settlements? A few factors determine when or if you’ll receive a settlement check.

Your Personal Injury Case May Take Some Time To Settle

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Average Timeline for a Personal Injury Case

There isn’t a standard timeline for a personal injury case—however, there is a process almost every case follows. The only time you can skip the process and quickly get your settlement check is when you accept the first offer from the insurance company. While it’s your decision whether you accept the insurance provider’s offer or not, most personal injury attorneys will advise you to politely decline. Insurance companies prefer for claimants to accept their first offer, which is usually a low offer that rarely covers all of your expenses.

If you decide to accept the offer, you can’t file an additional claim, which applies even if you need ongoing medical care for injuries sustained in the accident. If you decide to move forward with a personal injury case, here’s a quick look at the process:

  • Your attorney will review your case to determine liability and if you qualify for compensation
  • Assessing the extent of your injuries and any property damage to establish a baseline claim amount
  • Investigate the accident cause and how your injuries/property damage occurred
  • Submit a detailed claim to the at-fault party’s insurance provider
  • Negotiate a settlement for your physical, financial, and emotional damage. This includes any property damage that occurred as a result of the accident.
  • Hopefully, this process moves along relatively quickly and smoothly. In an ideal situation, your claim will be settled without taking your case to court. However, some factors are out of your and an attorney’s control that can affect your case’s timeline.
  • The amount of time it takes for the insurance company to return your attorney’s calls. Some insurance adjusters are prompt, and others take their time reviewing your documents before returning any calls.
  • You may need to wait a while to receive copies of your medical records from your physician.
  • The time it takes to receive a copy of your accident report and get additional information from law enforcement. For example, if the at-fault party has a valid driver’s license.

Ideally, you receive the necessary information and return phone calls in a reasonable amount of time. Unfortunately, it often takes a little prodding to move the process along.

Factors Influencing Personal Injury Case Timelines

Even settling a minor fender bender can take some time to resolve. Various factors can slow down the process.

Severity of Your Injuries and Treatment Timeline

If your injuries are limited to a broken bone, or you only require minimal medical treatment, your case should move along pretty smoothly, especially if the insurance company is eager to settle. When injuries are more severe and/or you require long-term treatment, your case will probably take longer than a week or so to reach an agreeable settlement.

Severe injuries and long-term or extensive treatment are more difficult to calculate. You don’t want to settle for less than your medical expenses, which means you’re paying out-of-pocket for some of your medical costs.

Number of Parties Involved in the Accident

The number of parties involved in your accident can refer to those at fault or who also sustained injuries. Whether one or the other applies, or both; when multiple parties are involved, you should expect your case to take longer to settle.

Your attorney may be filing a lawsuit against multiple parties or working with those also injured in the accident. Coordinating with other injured parties’ attorneys is often time-consuming, which also applies when your lawsuit is against more than one defendant. An example is if your car is struck by a city bus; you may be suing both the driver and the municipality operating the bus.

Witness Availability

Chances are at least one individual is a witness to your accident, but even if no one’s around, there may still be security footage. Almost every business and residence uses security cameras, which also applies to most municipalities. Red light cameras are present at most traffic lights and do more than record drivers failing to stop, they can also act as silent witnesses to your accident and proceeding case.

Sometimes, getting the footage can take some time, and your attorney may need to go through the legal system to access the security camera footage. Some witnesses can also be difficult to get a hold of, and they will also need to make time for their depositions. Remember, witnesses also have busy lives and will need to make time in their schedules.

Unforeseen Events

Texas residents are used to the weather interfering with their lives, and depending on the time of year, hurricanes, tornadoes, heavy rains, and even snow can all slow down your case. For example, Hurricane Harvey effectively shut down the city of Houston and surrounding areas for several weeks. The recent global pandemic is another example, with courts closed for a couple of months. Unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do to speed up your personal injury case if unforeseen circumstances stall it.

Pay Attention to Deadlines

Your statute of limitations doesn’t stop if your case is being held up—however, some unforeseen circumstances can be the exception, like a devastating hurricane or global pandemic. You have two years from the accident date to submit a personal injury/property damage claim. So, it’s best to get started as soon as possible.

Talk to an Accident Attorney About Your Personal Injury Case

Although certain elements of the legal process cannot be expedited, a skilled personal injury attorney can help accelerate other aspects. If you're involved in an accident of any kind, you need to consult with a personal injury attorney, as they have the expertise to navigate the complexities of the legal system on your behalf, ensuring a more efficient resolution where possible.

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