This is one of the most common questions I get asked by car accident victims.
How long will it take to settle my case?
Unfortunately there is no easy answer. There are so many factors that affect your case. Some claims settle quickly after the medical treatment is completed. Some cases drag out for years for no good reason.
In general, there are 3 major milestones in trying to settle your claim
- When you complete your medical treatment
The time it takes to recover from your injuries depends on the injuries you suffer, and your recovery time. Everyone recovers differently, so nobody can accurately guess how long your treatment will be. You will be released when you are completely healed, or you have reached a maximum, stable level of recovery. This is the most important step in your case. Not because of how it affects your case, but because your health is the #1 concern after a car accident. This should not be rushed and you deserve to receive all the medical care you need.
- Gathering your medical records. This can take a little time. Medical offices are notorious for taking their time in delivering complete medical records. Occasionally delivering the records incomplete. It’s not entirely their fault. They are in the business of delivering medical care, not records. We work as fast as we can, but this process usually takes a little time.
- Waiting for the insurance companies to respond to your settlement demand
Generally, after your medical treatment is complete, and your complete records have been received, a settlement demand is sent to the insurance company. After that, the insurance company will either deny your settlement demands, or accept it, or make a counter-offer. It is rare for an insurance company will accept the settlement demand in full. Generally they will make a counter-offer. They will usually only deny your demand if it is not clear who caused the accident (us attorneys call this “liability”).
So in a lot of cases, you will have a counter-offer from the insurance company soon after the bulk of your medical treatment is done. If the offer is reasonable, then your case may settle quickly. If the offer is unreasonable, then the case may take longer, and it may even have to go all the way to trial.