One of the most common questions accident victims have once they decide to file a claim is how long it will take to resolve their claim and receive their settlement money. While there are no specific rules or timelines for settling these cases, an experienced premises liability attorney can give you an idea of how long your case will take to complete. In addition, understanding the factors that influence how long your case could go on will also help you be realistic about when you will be able to put this accident behind you.
Factors That Influence How Quickly Your Case Can Be Settled
Even if you take the right step in retaining an attorney soon after your accident, this does not mean that your claim will be settled quickly. It could take months before you receive your settlement proceeds. Here are some factors that influence the speed at which these claims are resolved:
- Disputes as to liability or injuries. If there are no or few disputes about the liability of the negligent party or your injuries, your claim may be resolved quickly. However, if there are serious disputes between you and the insurance company about these issues, your attorney may need to file a lawsuit before convincing the adjuster to settle your case for what it is worth.
- Your medical prognosis. Like many accident victims, you may not understand the importance of waiting until you have reached your maximum medical recovery—whether or not you fully recover—and a final prognosis. Because your doctor will often start with less invasive treatments, such as physical therapy, it could take months before he decides that you need surgery. You need to wait until you reach the point of maximum medical recovery or your doctor is able to give you a final prognosis so that you request the future medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages you could be entitled to in your settlement offer.
- Complete demand package. Your attorney will prepare a demand letter and package that includes other helpful documentation of liability, your injuries, and the amount of compensation you are asking to be paid. It can take time for your attorney to obtain the necessary medical records and other documents he needs to include with the letter. However, preparing a compelling demand package can ultimately quicken the time it takes to resolve your claim.
- Negotiations. Negotiations between your attorney and the insurance adjuster can take time, especially if there are areas of dispute. Your attorney could decide to obtain further documents or hire an expert to help persuade the adjuster to settle for what you are requesting. Just the back and forth of offers and counteroffers that is often part of the process of settling an injury claim can be longer than you think.
- Insurance company. What insurance company you are dealing with can also have an impact on how long settlement will take. Some companies and adjusters have a reputation for being less reasonable and slower in resolving disputes.
You definitely should ask your attorney for his opinion on how long it will take to settle your claim. But then keep in mind that this is just a guideline. You want to wait so that you receive what you deserve. If you or a family member was injured in a premises liability accident, fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation to learn how our experienced legal team can help you.