Dewayne Hopson is an attorney in Clarksdale, MS. This article is for informational purposes only and by reading this article you acknowledge this general information should not be construed as legal advice.
In short, a personal injury case can take anywhere from one month till over two years to settle. The length of a car accident, slip and fall, or any other kind of personal injury case can really depend on the length of investigation, whether the client is finished with treatment, and how much the client is willing to accept.
Length of Investigation and the completion of medical treatment.
Initial Investigation and Getting fully healthy
The initial investigation of an injury case usually only takes about one month but it may last year or more especially if it goes to litigation. Investigation involves taking pictures of the accident scene, collecting police reports, and gathering the names and numbers of all witnesses involved. However, majority of the time is spent waiting on the client to get completely healed and requesting medical records and bills from all medical providers.
In a simple car accident or slip and fall it usually takes a client anywhere between one to three months to get completely healed. It is important to make sure that the client is completely healed because if they are not and the case is settled, the client cannot recover for any new unknown injuries related to the accident after the client has settled with the insurance company.
Waiting on Records and Bills
Next is the fun game of waiting on the medical records and bills from all the client’s health care providers. You’ll think that medical providers would jump at the opportunity to hand over medical records and bills relating to treatment they provided. Nope, this process can take a couple of months that’s if there were not any problems with the authorization forms sent to the medical providers requesting the information. Attorneys used to only deal with local medical administration to get medical records and bills. Now, you have send the local medical provider’s administration the request information and they must forward the request to some medical record processing company 1000 miles away to approve the request before they eventually send over the medical records and bills. Fun stuff, right?
To Accept or Not to Accept
At the negotiation stage it can take two weeks till a month for the insurance to evaluate the claim, medical bills, and medical records to come up with their first offer (If they even make an offer). After the insurance company’s first offer the length of the case depends on the how much the client is looking to get. Most clients are looking to get the maximum settlement or a decent settlement. Insurance companies will most likely start out with a low-ball offer. In my career as a legal professional, I’ve never seen any client accept the initial offer. This is the part of the claim where a skillful personal injury attorney comes into play. A good personal injury attorney knows how to negotiate with adjusters and get them to the highest settlement they are authorized to give. It usually takes about another month or so to get to the adjuster’s highest authorized offer.
However, if the client is still not happy with the settlement and wants a maximum settlement, litigation may be the next step. A good personal injury lawyer will be ready to go to trial if it’s a good case for trial. When a lawsuit is file, the insurance company may try to settle to avoid setting foot in court. These offers are usually higher because the claim is not in the hands of an adjuster anymore and the attorney handling the law suit will be given a higher limit to work with. However, if the insurance company does not think they are at fault they will hold their ground and go through the litigation process. No attorney in the world can predict whether a client will win or lose at trial but a good experienced one can give their client a well thought out and researched educated guess as to the chances of winning at trial. Anytime a claim is taken through the litigation process, it can take another 6 months till a year for the case to settle or make it to trial. However, when the injuries are significant, and the insurance companies won’t move from their low-ball offer, filing a law suit may be the best option.
At Hopson Law Group we represent clients who are having a tough time dealing with their insurance companies. We can help you get your maximum settlement. You can reach us at 662-624-4100 to set up an appointment for a free consultation to get help with your accident or injury claim!