How Long Does it Take to Settle an Injury Claim?
Following an accident that resulted in injuries to yourself or a loved one, you may be ready to pursue an injury claim in order to recover damages for your economic and noneconomic losses. However, you’re likely also wondering how long your claim will take to settle, and how long it will be before you have a check in hand. At the law offices of Buck, Toscano & Tereskerz, Ltd., our attorneys work hard to settle your claim as quickly as possible while still maximizing the amount of compensation you receive.
The Settlement Process – Things That Affect How Long a Claim Takes to Resolve
Each claim is very different, and there is no one-size-fits-all formula for determining how long a case may take to settle. Indeed, some cases may be settled in a few short weeks, while others could take a year or more to resolve! Some factors that may determine how long your case takes to reach settlement include:
- Extent of your injuries. Claims in which injuries are more severe, and therefore the amount of damages that the plaintiff is asking for greater, are more complicated to settle. This is typically because more evidence is required to prove the extent of noneconomic and economic injury to the plaintiff, and because insurance adjusters are less eager to pay out large claims. What’s more, a plaintiff may have to wait months before reaching Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI); claims should not be settled until a plaintiff has healed to the extent that a doctor believes is possible.
- Number of defendants involved. Another thing that can complicate a claim and draw out the settlement process is the number of defendants involved in a claim, as there may be disputes about who was most at fault or who owes what percentage of damages. Again, this will also require gathering more evidence, which is in itself a time consuming process.
- Fault. If a plaintiff is alleged to be at fault for their accident in part, even in the slightest (such as one percent to blame), they can be barred from collecting damages. An insurance adjuster may try to argue that a plaintiff was to blame in order to escape the burden of paying for damages, which can complicate the claims process and result in a delayed (or denied) settlement.
- Litigation. The vast majority of injury claims are settled out of court in a process known as negotiation, where an insurance adjuster and an attorney representing a plaintiff negotiate back and forth regarding the amount of a fair settlement. While settlement negotiations can take months, they rarely result in litigation.
However, litigation is a possibility, and it is one thing that can significantly lengthen the claims process. Litigation can also be very expensive. For these reasons, our lawyers always prioritize reaching settlements out of court, and caution our clients against filing a lawsuit and litigating a claim unless doing so is necessary.
How You Can Speed Up the Injury Claims Process
While you cannot control how much an insurance adjuster will offer you or how quickly they will be motivated to act, there are a few things that you can do on your end that may speed up the process, if ever so slightly. These include:
- Report your accident and injuries as soon as possible after they occur;
- Seek medical care immediately following an accident;
- Keep a detailed journal about your injuries and recovery;
- Save all documents related to your accident, such as bills for medical expenses of property repairs;
- Hire an attorney as soon as possible; and
- Provide notice to the liable party about your accident within 24-48 hours of its occurrence.
The more proactive you are about your claim, the faster it is likely to be resolved, especially barring any of the major factors listed above.
Our Lawyers Are Here to Represent You
At the law offices of Buck, Toscano & Tereskerz, Ltd., our Virginia injury attorneys know how frustrating the claims process can be, and how desperately you want to recover the damages you deserve after an accident. When you call our law firm, we will immediately get to work building your claim, and will work hard to get you the compensation award you need as quickly as possible.
To schedule your free consultation with our law offices, please visit our Charlottesville office today, send us an email, or call us at 434-977-7977.