When taking the steps to seek out a personal injury case, one of the first questions everyone asks themselves is how long the process will take. In the shortest, but least helpful version of the answer, a personal injury case can be any length of time. Many factors exist that depend on how the case is settled.
When in the process, there are questions to ask yourself before the case even begins, and the factors that exist before the case also play a part in the longevity of the case. Every step in the case is as crucial as the last, which creates a life span of the personal injury case that must be lived out before the case can come to a close.
The Personal Injury Case
A personal injury case can last anywhere between a few months to a few years, and can even proceed possibly even longer. A few months is the bare minimum, and it is very rare for a personal injury case to take up that short of a time frame. Every case is different, and sometimes a longer time frame means greater efficiency.
A personal injury case can last its shortest time span if the liability is clear, the injuries are significant and your insurance can and will cover the damages. Be on the lookout for insurance companies that try to drag out your case as long as possible solely to increase profit. This is another factor as to why personal injury cases can take up much time.
If your injury has prevented you from working, do not settle for less than you are entitled to for the simple sake of ending the personal injury case as soon as possible. In this way, you get less than you deserve and the insurance company will have to pay less. Sometimes, a lesser settlement means a faster end to the personal injury case, though it is not always the best route. On some occasions, an individual will get very injured, but is not willing to put in the time for an efficient personal injury case, and settles for a settlement less than what they deserve. After the short time frame has passed, the individual finds that another medical issue has arisen that is related to the initial injury, or even a permanent disability has affected the individual. But at this point, the individual cannot receive more of a settlement than they already settled for, because the case had been made too early before the disability could be officially documented or assessed. This also happens in the case of multiple doctors giving multiple and varying prognoses for the same injury.
Sometimes, an insurance company will attempt to dispute who was truly at fault over the situation that caused the injury. They will question whether the injury was caused by an accident, or if the injury was truly an injury at all and perhaps was a preexisting condition.
The point of a personal injury case is to acquire the settlement that the individual deserves. If a personal injury case is settled before it can truly begin, then the individual is left with insufficient compensation to treat the resulting injury or injuries.
Time Span of a Personal Injury Case
In a personal injury case that lasts a few years, the first year of the case involves assessing your own health after the incident. This means that the insurance company is going to need to review all of your medical records and bills. From these, they will need to determine what exactly your injury was, and if you have any lasting problems from it. In relation, these facts will aid in making a prediction of how much related medical treatment you will require in the future. Basically, everything related to your specific injury in the past, the present, and the future will have to be assessed before a settlement can be reached. Within the first year, the lawsuit may be filed, and the case will begin to be evaluated.
Only after every specific detail and estimation is reached can a settlement be claimed. This also includes information such as medical records, bills from providers, and other records in relation to the injury sustained. The insurance company will assess it, usually in the time frame of thirty business days. A few weeks after that are usually needed to negotiate the claim, and then a few more weeks added to that to settle the settlement papers and finalize the details. This, like aforementioned, can take anywhere between a few months to a few years. A personal injury case that takes years usually results in a larger settlement.
Your Individual Case
In a personal injury case, the most important person is the individual affected. They were the ones injured, and they are the ones who need the settlement. Thus, it is up to the client to choose how long the case lasts, depending on how long they are willing to wait for the settlement.
The second most important person in a personal injury case is the attorney, as it is their job to collect, document, and provide all existing information to the involved insurance company as well as protect the rights of the client. The attorney is the client’s liaison between themselves and the case, which can mean the amount of the settlement itself. Because of this, an attorney should always be contacted as soon as possible after the injury has occurred, so the appropriate documentation and procedures can begin as soon as possible.
Before settling, be sure you know the following factors:
- Length of medical treatment you require
- If you have received maximum benefit of post-accident treatment
- Receive a long term diagnosis
Do not sacrifice money now that could have been yours if you had waited longer before settling. The key to a personal injury case is patience. A settlement is permanent, and as such, it cannot be resettled after the initial case is settled. In these instances, patience pays off. The length of the wait is entirely up to you as the client and your own personal needs.
When beginning a personal injury claim, be sure to share every detail with your attorney, including how long a duration you are willing to wait for the settlement. Ask yourself not only if you are willing to wait a few years before the settlement is reached, but also if you can financially handle the event. More often than not, settlements are worth the wait, but your situation is your own private business and you have the right to handle and make decisions accordingly. To make a long story short, the answer to the question “How long does it take to settle a personal injury case?” lies within you as the client and your own needs.