While it is understandable that people injured in an accident want to recover and move on with their lives, if they file a claim or get involved in settlement negotiations, then it takes time. Though the extent of their injuries and how the accident changed their life are all factors to consider, it is difficult to narrow down a specific timeline because of the unique nature of every personal injury claim. However, four elements do help to determine that timeline a little more than others.
- Treatment and Recovery
The first thing to consider is the injury and the prescribed treatment and recovery time. It is best to wait until you are recovered to file or enter settlement negotiations. The reason it is better is that by waiting, you and your attorney will have a better understanding of your incurred expenses and pain and suffering. Also, you will know if full recovery is even a possibility, which can also inform any future settlement offers.
- Compiling of Bills and Records
Once you are fully recovered or have reached maximum medical improvement, you will need to gather all the pertinent bills and records to the accident and the injury. These records will include the accident report, witness statements, doctor’s information and various information about the accident and your injuries, both medical and psychological.
- Creation of a Settlement Demand
Next, you and your attorney will sit down and discuss the merits of your claim and what you might expect from a settlement. After compiling all the necessary information and talking with financial and medical experts, your attorney will suggest a number that sounds fair as an initial offer. If you agree with everything, then you sign the paperwork and file the settlement demand.
- Waiting for a Response
The last phase of the settlement process is the demand response. Unfortunately, depending on the circumstances and the insurer, a reply can take four to six weeks or more. Every insurer will take time to evaluate the claim and assess the valuation attributed to it by you and your attorney. There are times where an insurer ignores the claim or flat out denies liability. In these instances, your attorney will need to fight to keep negotiations from failing, but if they do fail, then your attorney will probably get your permission to proceed to trial.
While it is not possible to give a definitive timeline to settlement negotiations, it is possible to suggest that most insurers will respond to demand letters in under 60 days. However, to discuss more specific timeline expectations, contact a personal injury attorney.
Thanks to David & Philpot, PL for their insight into personal injury claims.