When it comes to a personal injury claim, most clients and potential clients understandably want to know how long the settlement process is expected to take. However, the answer to that question is, “it depends.”
More specifically, the actual length of the entire process depends upon what happens at various stages, which include preparing a settlement demand package, negotiating with insurance adjusters, and litigation.
Preparing a Settlement Demand Package
Once you have completed all medical treatment, your attorney can assemble a settlement demand package. He will submit this demand package to the claims adjuster who is handling the case for the insurance company. The demand package will first include a demand letter, which essentially places a monetary value (or settlement demand) on the case. This demand amount will be higher than what the case is actually worth, in terms of medical bills and other potential damages.
The demand package will also include copies of all of the client’s medical bills, medical records, and lost wage documentation. It typically takes between 30 and 60 days to secure the final medical bills and records from a client’s health care providers and to confirm any missed work time from the client’s employer.
After your finalizes and submits the settlement demand package, the next stage of the process involves settlement negotiations with the insurance company’s adjuster. It typically takes about 4 to 8 weeks for the adjuster to review the demand package, depending upon the complexity of the case and the injuries and damages sustained. Your attorney typically follows up with the adjuster about once every 30 days or so.
At some point during the personal injury claims process, the adjuster will make an initial settlement offer on the case. In most circumstances, this initial offer will be low, as the adjuster will want to try and settle the case for as little money as possible. After the adjuster makes an initial settlement offer, the attorney will make a counter-offer, and so forth, until both parties reach an acceptable settlement. This process of negotiating back and forth could take as little as one week, or as long as several months.
Of course, in some cases, the client and the insurance company cannot agree on an acceptable settlement amount. In that instance, the case will proceed forward through litigation in the state court system.
The litigation process begins by filing a lawsuit with the court. However, it is important to note that just because you file a lawsuit does not necessarily mean that the case is going to proceed forward to trial. In fact, approximately 90% of personal injury lawsuits are resolved via settlement, prior to ever reaching the trial stage.
Contact a Fairfax Personal Injury Lawyer Today to Help You File a Personal Injury Claim
As you can see, many factors are in play that can affect the length of time it takes to settle a personal injury claim. However, you can rest assured that involving an experienced personal injury lawyer in the process will help to streamline your case and potentially help to maximize its settlement value. If you are beginning the process of filing a personal injury claim, contact Strong Law Firm by calling (703) 215-2294.