How Long Personal Injury Cases Take
The length of a personal injury case depends on several factors, and will be different for each case. The best way to answer the question is to describe the events that must occur before the claim can be resolved.
There are several stages of a personal injury claim leading to the conclusion of the case. The first stage depends on the time that it takes my clients to recover from their injuries. The end of this stage is reached when the client has fully recovered, or when the client has reached maximum medical improvement (MMI), meaning that the client has reached their maximum recovery and the remaining medical issues are permanent. I prefer to start negotiations after my clients make a full recovery or reach MMI in order to maximum recovery for my clients and also to protect them from unexpected future medical expenses.
Once a settlement agreement is signed, the case is considered concluded. As part of the settlement, the insurance company will require you to sign a release, which gives up your right to pursue additional compensation in the future. Therefore, if a client chooses to enter a settlement before fully recovering, when the extent of future medical treatment is uncertain, the client will lose their ability to recover these future medical expenses.
Once our client notifies us that they have been discharged from medical treatment, the next stage is to prepare the case for submission to the insurance company. Once I have all of the supporting documentation, I will prepare a demand package that explains the client’s financial damages, other compensable losses, and our valuation of the personal case. Determining the correct value range for the case is a complex task where our experience in settling personal injury cases becomes a major asset to our clients. After a careful analysis of the case, our personal injury attorney can determine what an appropriate settlement in your case would be. We attempt to obtain that amount or more in artful negotiations.
After we submit the demand package, the next stage is negotiations. Generally, it takes a few weeks for the insurance adjuster to review the demand package, complete their investigation and medical review, and submit their initial offer. During this time, we will follow up with the insurance company to ensure that their review is progressing. Once the insurance company makes their initial offer, then we make a counteroffer and this can go for several rounds. Depending on the complexity of the case, the negotiation process can be short or lengthy. I will communicate each settlement offer that I receive to my client, who has the ultimate authority to accept or reject the settlement amount, and I let my clients know whether I think it is a good offer or not.
In many cases an acceptable offer can be obtained from the insurance company by negotiation alone. However, in some cases, insurance companies are uncooperative and try to settle the claim for less than our client’s demands. In this situation, we go to the next stage, which is litigation. It is important to remember that the case may not go to trial even if litigation is started. Some insurance companies have a reputation for settling the day before a trial begins. Settlement by negotiation is the preferred method, but if insurance companies refuse to pay my clients what they are owed, I will not hesitate to file a lawsuit in court. In order to defend the lawsuit, the insurance companies must pay legal fees to their attorneys, and the case becomes more expensive for them after a lawsuit is filed.
There is no fixed answer for how long a personal injury claim will last, but hopefully this article will give you a good estimate of how long the process may take. At Tien Law Firm, we will move your case along as fast as we can consistent with seeking maximum compensation for your injuries. If you have questions about your personal injury claim or if the insurance company is giving you a hard time, call (919) 348-7727 to speak with our skilled NC personal injury attorney. Insurance companies have professional attorneys looking after their interests, and you should too. Make sure that you get excellent legal representation to increase your odds of obtaining maximum compensation for your injuries.