How long does it take to settle my personal injury case? Because every personal injury case is different, the amount of time it takes to settle a case can vary. Some personal injury cases may go to trial while the majority of them are settled out of court. Let’s look at what makes a personal injury cases, and why some of them take longer than others.
What kind of injury did you sustain in the car accident?
What kind of injury you sustained in your car accident is what really makes your personal injury case. If you sustained no injury, you really don’t have any damages. Your injury could cause you to be under a doctor’s supervision for months or in some rare cases a year or more.
Example: Susie was in a car accident and had to do physical therapy for three months, Peter was in the same accident, but his injury was much more severe, he had to physical therapy for 6 months. Susie’s case probably will get resolved before Peters just based on the length of time she treated. The personal injury lawyer can then begin working on a demand letter to the insurance company.
Soft Tissue injuries
Soft tissue is by far the most common accident injuries. These types of issues may require an MRI or doctor who can identify them and document them for your attorney. Generally these types of cases can take anywhere from 6 months to a year to settle.
Some examples of soft tissue injuries
- Herniated Disk
- Neck Pain
- Back Pain
When an attorney settles your personal injury case involving soft tissue injuries, he has to have proof. This proof comes in the form of good documentation or medical evidence.
Broken bone cases are generally easier to settle because the evidence is in the XRAY. I have seen broken bones cases settle very quickly, and then some that took a year or more. Depends on the insurance company and the limits of liability. However, if you have a 25k policy and 75 in meds, the attorney may take longer to settle your personal injury case because he has to go find more insurance from somewhere.
Unfortunately, some auto accidents can cause death. And, if this occurs, the attorney is going to find every avenue for payout that he can. More than likely, he will submit for the maximum amount. The amount of time it can take can be 3 months past a year. However, this depends on the insurance company and the limits.
Things that can delay your settlement on a personal injury case
Lack of Documentation of loss or injury
We stress documentation so much throughout our website; there is a big reason for this. Without proper documentation of injury, it makes it extremely difficult for a personal injury lawyer to achieve a fair outcome in your case. Documentation starts the day you seek treatment for your accident injury. We always say “don’t wait, see the doctor first” you probably see that a lot on our website. The reason we say that is because you need documentation for your injury to prove you were injured in the car accident.
Delay or gap in medical treatment
Delay in medical treatment is a term that means the time for which you sought medical care after your car accident. If you wait to seek medical care it really can delay the settlement process. The delay comes from the insurance company not wanting to pay a settlement from your injury.
It then falls back on the personal injury lawyer to prove that it did. The best way to avoid this complication in the settlement process is to not have a gap in medical care. Almost every page of this website states to see the auto injury doctor first. We state this for several reasons, but gap in medical care is one of the biggest. More on delay or gap in treatment
Dispute in liability or who was at-fault for the accident
Dispute in liability is one thing that would really slow down the personal injury process. A dispute in liability is when the insurance company won’t accept that they are liable for the car accident. This may be due to what the police report says or what the policy holder has told them. In any case, make sure you get a copy of the accident report.
If witnesses are present, get there name, phone, and address. If the accident report appears to be wrong, and they sometimes are, call the police officer who wrote it up and try and have it amended with the correct information, more on accident reports and why you should get a copy can be found here
Complications from Medical providers
Medical providers can be complicated to deal with in certain instances. If workman’s compensation was involved with the accident, in some states the WC insurance company might be reimbursed from the auto insurance for the medical care it provided. There may be medical liens associated with hospital, EMS, chiropractors, etc. that will have to be settled. If a government healthcare provider such as Tricare, Medicaid, or Medicare was involved, the process usually takes more time.
Medical Records request
Sometimes it takes a long time to get your medical records. This just adds more time to settling your personal injury case. Request and hippa forms have to be sent out. The providers then have to gather all your medical records and send them to the attorney. This can delay your personal injury case anywhere from 30-90 days.
Difficult insurance company
Let’s face it; some insurance companies are easier to deal with than others, that’s no secret. Some insurers deny everything and make a personal injury lawyer file suit against them before they will pay for damages. Some personal injury lawyers won’t even take a case based solely on who the at-fault party insurance companies are. Insurance companies can be difficult to deal with, a good attorney should be able to handle these types of insurance companies and get you the settlement you deserve.
In some instances, your case may have to go to trial. This will delay the length of time it takes to settle your personal injury case. The attorney puts a lot of time and effort into the trial process. Depending on the state this can range from 1 or more years. Furthermore, the attorney is going to be sure he can win before he even goes to trial. This requires careful planning and research. This will add to the time is takes your personal injury case to settle. However, it may be worth it in the end.
Let’s face it; you may have picked the wrong attorney to handle your car accident. Furthermore, he may not do a lot of personal injury cases and know the process. A good attorney will know all the process and how to handle your case. However, not every attorney is the best attorney in a auto accident case.
Large law firms
I’m not taking a stab at large law firms, let me get that straight. I have worked for large law firms in the past. On the other hand, I have worked for some small firms. Large law firms have procedures for which they follow with most cases. They may settle your personal injury case quicker, but may not do the best job. You may be just a number in their big machine.
Small Law Firms
Smaller firms offer more personalized service and generally do a better job. They do this because they are not carrying an extensive case load. However, they may take longer than a large firm. But, in the end it will be well worth it. I like dealing with small firms, they usually do a fantastic job in settling your personal injury case.
Every personal injury case is different
Every Personal injury case is different. The length of time to settle one can range from months to possibly years. Some of the issues that can affect the length of time your case can take can be controlled and some cannot. From the adjuster to the insurer, to the injury, to the attorney. All of these have a bearing on how long it takes to settle your personal injury case.