One of the most frustrating and difficult aspects of any personal injury claim process is waiting to receive the compensation you need to move on with your life. After your accident, you are left with medical expenses, an inability to return to work, and a painful recovery process. While you certainly want to settle your claim as quickly as possible, your personal injury attorney will encourage you to avoid accepting the first settlement offer you receive from the insurance company. This first offer is likely to be lower than your actual damages.
A personal injury claim can be resolved quickly, even within a few days or weeks. Still, a fast timeline in most cases means accepting a low offer that fails to fully compensate you for immediate damages, let alone long-term expenses you must face. While the personal injury claim process can take months, a personal injury lawyer will work on your behalf to guide you through the process and seek maximum compensation.
To help you better understand how long it will take your claim to settle, consider the following factors that influence your timeline.
Which Factors Influence My Personal Injury Claim?
While some injury claims are settled in a matter of weeks, others can drag on for years. There are many factors that influence how long it takes your claim to settle, but three factors have the biggest influence:
- You have a claim involving a large amount of money,
- You have factual or legal issues with your claim, or
- You have not recovered or reached maximum medical improvement (MMI).
Legal and factual issues can easily slow down how long it takes for your case to settle and influence how much your case is worth. A personal injury case will settle faster when liability and injuries are clear compared to a case in which liability is uncertain or injuries are not clear-cut. This is a common problem with soft tissue injuries and car accidents in which it isn’t clear which driver caused the accident — or when liability is shared. This is why it’s important to work with an experienced injury law firm to help you investigate your accident and document your injuries and liability.
The second-biggest factor affecting your case is how much the case is worth. Unfortunately, cases worth a large amount of money take the longest time to settle. The insurance company will not approve a large payout until they are certain they have investigated every facet of the claim in an attempt to limit or deny a settlement. The more money your case involves, the more in-depth the investigation. Remember that insurance companies do not like to approve settlements until they are sure they have no defense.
You will also need to reach maximum medical improvement (MMI) before your case will settle. If you are still being treated by your doctor, the insurance company cannot be sure if you will remain disabled by your injuries or you will recover, in which case your claim will be worth less. Of course, this can be complicated by the fact that serious injuries take a long time to treat and recover from and you may be unable to work for months while waiting for your settlement.
These are the three most important factors influencing your case, but there may be other issues that affect your timeline. It’s even possible for the size of the insurance company to affect how long it takes to reach a settlement. Your personal injury attorney can help you better understand how long you should expect to wait before making progress on your case.
How a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help
The more complicated your case, the more important it is to seek experienced legal counsel from an injury law firm. Your injury attorney will act in your best interest to gather evidence that supports your claim and negotiate on your behalf with the insurance company. An attorney can better anticipate roadblocks that may delay your case and build the evidence you need for a speedy settlement.