When a prospective clients visit our office for their initial personal injury consultation, they will usually have at least two major questions on their mind regarding their cases:
- How much can I recover in compensation for my injuries?
- How long will it take to resolve this case?
Personal injury cases vary in terms of their victims, the type and causes of the accidents leading to the injuries, the amount awarded as compensation as well as the length of time it takes to resolve a case. There are other factors as well which may impact the time it takes before your case settles. For that reason it is difficult to estimate how long it will take to resolve each case.
Factors Affecting the Length of Time to Resolve Your Case
Although all personal injury cases are unique, there are several factors that commonly affect the length of time it takes to resolve a personal injury case. These include:
- Problems arising with the case
There are several problems that can affect a personal injury case. These problems may cause your case drag out longer. For example, if liability is hard to prove, the insurance company may refuse to make a settlement offer or make such a small one that it would be unwise to settle quickly. In this situation, we may need to retain experts to examine the facts and determine liability.
Another factor that may delay resolution is if the insurance company retains a physician to examine you and that physician does not believe that your injuries were caused by the accident. The case may be dragged out as medical records are examined and medical personnel seek more information about your injuries.
- The rate of your recovery
It is advisable to seek compensation for injuries when you have fully recovered from the injuries. This ensures that all your medical expenses are compensated. If you seek compensation before full recovery, you won’t be compensated for complications that may arise later.
If you have not reached maximum medical improvement in the opinion of your health care provider, the final settlement may be delayed until you do.
If your injuries are really severe and your physicians anticipate that you will require ongoing medical care and treatment for months or even years, this force your attorney to negotiate with the insurance company as to the anticipated cost of that long-term medical care and treatment.
- The amount being sought as compensation
Another factor to consider is the amount of money being sought as compensation. Cases that involve potentially large settlements usually take longer to settle than those involving small amounts of money. The insurance provider is usually less willing to pay a large settlement and will require extensive proof of your injuries and expenses before doing so. The insurer may also try to break down the case in order to avoid paying out a large sum of money in compensation. In this situation, it pays to be represented by a law firm with experience taking cases to trial to force the insurance company to pay the full value of your claim.
As stated above, more serious injuries may cause the case to take longer to resolve. As the claimant, it is important that you remain patient as you seek compensation. You should stay in close communication with your lawyer to make sure you understand the process and what, if anything you can do to resolve it more quickly.