It usually takes about 12 to 18 months to settle a routine car accident claim or other personal injury claim, but the amount of time can vary greatly depending on the severity of your injuries, the duration of your medical treatment, and the willingness of the insurance company to offer full and fair compensation.
Several things need to happen before you will be in a position to settle your personal injury claim for a fair amount. First, you will need to give yourself time to heal from your injuries. You never want to settle your personal injury case before you have received thorough medical treatment and have a very good idea of what injuries you sustained and what your prognosis is. After you have completed or nearly completed your medical treatment, your attorney will need to order all of your related medical records and bills so that he can provide them to the insurance company with a settlement offer. If you will need future treatment for your injuries, or have suffered a permanent disability from your injuries, your lawyer may also need to obtain a written medical opinion from a licensed physician. In order to give an accurate medical opinion regarding your disability and future medical treatment, the physician will perform a physical examination and review all of your medical records and radiology films. He will then issue a written opinion, which will be provided to the insurance company with your bills and records when your attorney makes a written settlement demand.
After the settlement demand is made, there usually will be negotiations with the insurance company. This process can take several months. If, at the end of the negotiation process, the insurance company is offering to pay full and fair compensation for your injuries, then your case will settle without a lawsuit being filed. In many cases, unfortunately, insurance companies are not willing to pay a fair amount, and a lawsuit will need to be filed. The same physician who provided a written opinion about your injuries will usually testify about your injuries in a deposition. You will probably also testify during a deposition, as will the person or persons who injured you.
After all the depositions have been concluded, your case will be set for a jury trial. The insurance company may offer you a fairer settlement once the depositions have been concluded and the case is ready for trial, but that is not always case. If the insurance company still refuses to pay a fair amount, your lawyer will try your case in front of a jury, who will then allow an amount that they think is fair to compensate you for your injuries. Usually, cases that have to be tried will not be concluded within the 12-18 month time period mentioned above. Those cases can take upwards of three years to be completed. That is one reason insurance companies do not frequently offer a fair settlement early in the process. They hope they can wear you out and get you to settle your case for an unfair amount. A good personal injury attorney will be able to help you stay motivated and will fight the battle for you, resulting in a fairer settlement.
If you are thinking about hiring a Joplin personal injury attorney, then please see our Home Page for more information about our firm, or call us today for a free consultation at (417) 385-1338. Also, feel free to send us a question through our website by clicking here.