Frequently the very first question a new client asks a Lafayette personal injury lawyer is, “how long will it take to get my settlement?” Unfortunately, there is no cut and dry answer to that question. Every personal injury case, from car accidents to slips and falls, is different and therefore has a different timeline. Your lawyer might be able to give you a general estimate, but there is no way to accurately predict exactly how long it will take to get a settlement after an accident.
However, in many cases, it is safe to assume that it will take a long time for a settlement. There are four main reasons why cases take a long time to resolve:
Factual or Legal Issues With The Case
For a personal injury claim to be successful, the case must prove that the defendant acted negligently or carelessly. This can be tough to prove, as not every accident has eyewitnesses, CCTV footage, or other kinds of clear-cut evidence. A personal injury or car accident settlement can be delayed if it is hard to prove negligence.
Complicated legal issues, such as determining damages, can also delay cases. For example, in some cases, the treating doctor cannot prove that the defendant’s negligence caused the victim’s injury, thereby delaying the damage amount and case.
Cases With Large Damages, or Sums of Money
Insurance companies are not in the business of paying out claims, much less large ones. Therefore, the larger the damages a case has, the harder the insurance company will fight it, and that means a drawn-out case.
Insurers are very careful to make sure that every piece of evidence and every angle of a case are examined to make sure they are not unnecessarily paying out claims. This can take a lot of time, further drawing out the case.
Maximum Medical Improvement
You should wait until you are fully healed or have reached the point of maximum medical improvement (MMI) before you reach a settlement. Settling before you reach your MMI can mean missing out on extra money and damages if your injuries take longer or cost more to repair than originally thought.
Insurance Medical Research
Settlements might also take a long time because of insurance medical research. In almost every case, the insurance company will go through the injured party’s medical records, even those from before the accident. They do this to thoroughly prove that the injuries claimed in the accident are actually from the incident and not from before. This process can also take a long time.
Smaller Settlement, Shorter Timeline
It’s often safe to assume that the smaller the settlement, the shorter the case timeline will be. If you want your case to be settled quickly, you might want to consider asking for a smaller settlement amount.
However, an experienced personal injury attorney will most likely advise you to wait longer for a potentially higher payout.
The Right Lawyer
There are many unknown factors in personal injury cases, including how long you will have to wait before you get a settlement. The right lawyer will be there to expertly guide you through your case and all its intricacies.
If you’re looking for a Lafayette car accident lawyer, you can’t go wrong with Bart Bernard Injury Lawyers. With over 20 years of experience, they have the tenacity, knowledge, and compassion necessary to fight for your rights in your personal injury case, no matter how long it takes.
Call today to schedule your free initial consultation.