For many injury victims, one of the most frustrating parts of the claims process is how long it can take to receive the compensation you deserve. While you undoubtedly want to resolve your case as quickly as possible to pay your bills and replace lost earnings, your personal injury lawyer will also advise you against accepting a low settlement offer that will fail to fully compensate you.
If you are concerned about how long it will take to resolve your claim, it can be resolved very quickly within a few months. In most cases, a timeline this quick will mean accepting a low offer that may not even cover your current damages, let alone any bills you face in the future as a result of the accident.
Here is what you can expect while waiting for your compensation and the importance of not accepting the first offer.
Factors That Affect Your Injury Timeline
Sometimes injury claims are resolved within a few weeks, but other claims can take many years to resolve. This is because there are many factors that can affect your timeline. Of these many factors, three have the potential to dramatically slow down your case:
- You have legal or factual problems with your case,
- Your case involves a significant amount of money, or
- You have not reached maximum medical improvement.
Unfortunately, the amount of money involved in your personal injury case is a big factor in determining how long it will take to settle. This is because insurers do not want to approve large settlements until they know they have done their due diligence and investigated every aspect of the claim to look for a way to limit or deny the payout. The more money involved in your case, the more time the insurance company will invest in the investigation and they are unlikely to make a fair settlement offer until they know they can’t attack your credibility, they have no defense, and there is evidence of your injuries.
Any factual or legal issues in your claim can also slow down your case. Every injury claim has a value that is based on damages (or how badly you were injured) and liability (or who was responsible for your injuries). If it is hard to establish who was at fault, it may be unlikely that you will receive a fair offer until your personal injury attorneys file a lawsuit and accident reconstruction experts are hired. In some cases, even the damages may not be clear-cut.
You will also need to reach maximum medical improvement (MMI) before your case can be resolved. If you are still undergoing treatment by a doctor for your injuries, the insurance company does not know if you will remain disabled or disfigured or if you will fully recover, in which case the value of your claim goes down.
While these factors are most important in the timeline of your personal injury case, your personal injury lawyer may advise you of other factors that affect when you will receive compensation. Sometimes circumstances of the accident or even the size of the insurance provider affect how long it takes to resolve a claim.
In general, you will likely receive the first settlement offer within two months of your accident, but this initial offer will likely be very low and not take into account your long-term costs. If you have very painful, serious, or long-lasting injuries, your claim can take many months or longer than one year. It’s important to consult with experienced personal injury attorneys after a serious accident to help you understand your legal options and negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance company that takes into account all of the damages you have suffered.