The process of settling an injury claim is structured in a fairly easy-to-understand way. However, the relative straightforwardness of the process doesn't mean that every claim will be processed in the same time frame. If you're worried about how long it might take to arrive at a settlement, here are three things an injury attorney would likely tell you.
Arguably, this is the answer of nearly every attorney in nearly every situation, even outside of injury law. When it comes to injury claims, though, it is especially true. Some cases are simple because it's clear who the defendant is, whether they're insured, what happened, and how inclined the insurer is to pay. These cases typically are wrapped up within a few weeks or months of the initial demand letter going to the insurer.
Conversely, cases can get complicated by several factors. For example, the injury lawyer for a victim of a slip-and-fall accident may have a hard time identifying who is liable for the property where the incident happened. There also may be problems with uninsured defendants or cases that insurers don't consider so open-and-shut. Many of these cases take several months to a couple of years to resolve. The very worst ones can stretch for more than a decade and lead to lawsuits.
Medical Recovery Time
A major impediment to settling a case quickly may come from determining what the victim's level of long-term recovery is likely to be. Whenever possible, an injury attorney never wants to settle a case before they know what a client's long-term prognosis is going to be.
Lawyers hold back on such claims because they don't want clients to risk recovering too little. Suppose you suffered a back injury by falling down a set of steps. Most likely, you might have suffered some muscle strains and broken bones. However, there are scenarios where the victim suffers undiagnosed spinal or nerve damage. You wouldn't want to settle for the price of a broken bone only to learn you need spinal surgery.
The Defense's Response
While insurance companies have a duty to expedite all legitimate claims, that doesn't guarantee a case moves quickly once you send a demand package to the insurer. An insurance adjuster may want to investigate the incident and your medical condition.
They may send requests for additional medical reports and victim statements, too. Oftentimes, these are about getting you on the record to protect their interests. While it may delay the settlement by weeks or even months, it's wise to meet with an injury lawyer to discuss your response to any insurance inquiries.
Reach out to a lawyer at a local law office like Law Office of Robert Karwin.
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