It was during the weekend. Going for a drive with friend’s maybe or the family. Out of nowhere, a car comes and the next thing you know you rolled with the car a few times landed in a ditch and the rest is darkness. The only thing you know after that is you woke up in a hospital with everyone telling you were involved in an accident.
So now you were negligently injured, you’ve been unable to work, medical bills are draining your bank account and truth be told you deserve justice. After talking to your personal injury attorney or adviser, together you decide to file a lawsuit to best protect your legal and financial rights. Everything is moving on smoothly except for one major question.
How long do I have to wait for my settlement?
It’s a legitimate question after all, one that has had many lawyers wish they had never spoken a word.
But you have a right to ask and the right to know. And the answer is…
“It takes how long it takes!”
Sorry, am guessing that’s not the answer you were hoping for. That’s the answer you give your child when they keep asking how long the drive to cucu’s place will take. I hate those questions. But I digress.
But in all reality – that is precisely the right answer. It takes how long it takes.
A lawyer should never promise you something they cannot deliver or is out of their control. It is not fair to anyone, especially the injured.
Every single personal injury claim settlement is unique based on varying factors like the accident itself, the injury, the circumstances, the parties involved, the medical care, the shilling amount requested and the negotiations themselves and potentially many more factors. While some car, truck and motorcycle accident settlements are quite simple and may only take a few weeks, other injury lawsuit settlements are more involved, require more sophisticated legal experience and due to this, take more time.
However, all claim settlements have a natural progression, or phases. We repeat, much like life, nothing is guaranteed but the following phases will give you a good idea of how long it will take to get your settlement.
Phase one is the “healing from your injuries” phase. This means that your agent or lawyer will wait before they ask for any compensation amount until they hear of your recovery from the medical practitioners involved. Healing after an injury whether mind, body and soul will hours, days, weeks or even months. In a normal personal injury case, the victim would let us know that they have been released from medical care and then we would begin this phase: preparing a settlement to present to the insurance company, which may include factors like property damage, extent of physical injury, medical costs, loss of salary, companionship, longer term care and more to let the insurance company how much of a settlement we expect.
This stage involves a lot of back and forth negotiations. After submitting your proposal to the insurance company, they will usually respond to this proposal within 1-2 months. They will do their own investigations and come up with their own number as to what they think the settlement should be worth.
Sometimes the two numbers may differ by a huge margin hence the intense sessions of negotiation. This phase can take anywhere from days to weeks to months depending on the complexity of the case.
In most cases, this phase may be all that’s needed. It depends on whether or not the insurance company settles on a financial amount that makes sense to you and your agents. If they offer enough, then
the negotiations are over.
But in case the negotiations are not successful and a settlement is not reached, then things proceed to the next stage.
Litigation!! That’s what this phase is all about. When the negotiations break down, the best route is to head towards a trial. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the lawsuit will go to trial as there still more options available to you.
In our vast experience settling claims for our clients we have found it is not always desirable to litigate, but we will if the insurance company won’t offer enough to fully compensate our clients for all the physical, emotional and financial pain they have been through.