One of the most popular questions asked of personal injury attorneys is how long it takes to settle a claim. While it seems like a simple question, there is no easy answer because each case is different and each case takes a different amount of time to reach resolution.
Through our experience bringing personal injury claims, we know some of the difference that affects the length of time it takes to settle a claim. Some can be resolved in a matter of months while others take years or even longer.
The big factors that determine length of time to reach a resolution are the liability involved in the case, the extent and type of the injuries sustained, and the insurance company defending the claim.
Differences in Liability Can Affect the Length of a Claim
In an accident, one party is usually to blame or at-fault for the injuries of another. This is generally referred to as liability or the fact that one person is liable to another for the injuries caused in an accident.
In some cases, it is clear who causes an accident and who is at fault. In other cases, it is a “he said, she said” situation where liability is heavily disputed. If liability is disputed, then all parties may want to investigate the facts of the accident heavily to determine who, if anyone, is at fault. This additional investigation often takes time and money to conduct which results in a slower resolution of a personal injury case and can include the use of a private investigator, interviewing witnesses, deposing the parties, contacting local police, and consulting with experts who can help interpret the evidence. Further, contested liability cases are much harder to settle and usually end up in a courtroom.
On the other hand, if liability is clear, there may not be additional investigative work needed. This can speed up the process but may not necessarily do so. If an insurance company accepts liability, often the company is willing to move forward onto other aspects of the claim.
Different Injuries Can Cause Different Settlement Times
In personal injury claims, not all injuries are treated the same. After an accident, some people have minor injuries and make a recovery while other people sustain catastrophic injuries or even die. The nature and complexity of injuries sustained in an accident can affect the length of time necessary to settle a claim, with more serious injuries usually taking longer than less serious injuries.
This also occurs because an attorney wants to know the extent of the injuries sustained before attempting to settle the case. To ensure that you obtain a fair offer for your injuries, an attorney usually does not begin to negotiate a settlement until all of your medical treatment is done or at least the extent of your future medical treatment is known.
Surgery or more aggressive treatment often means a longer path to recovery which can also lead to a longer personal injury case. Sometimes victims want to settle their case before treatment is finished but generally that is not recommended. Once you reach a settlement, your case is permanently finished, meaning that if you need additional treatment in the future you will not be able to seek additional payment to cover it. There is no second chance to get a personal injury claim correct so it is important to work with a knowledgeable attorney from the beginning of your case through settlement.
Insurance Companies Have Very Different Approaches to Settling Cases
Insurance companies are businesses that do not want to pay out on claims if they do not have to. This means that insurance companies look for ways to deny claims when at all possible and may look to drag out legitimate claims if they can.
Each insurance company has a different approach to settling claims. Some attempt to settle claims immediately for a value far lower than what a case is worth. Other companies refuse to settle any claims and make each case resolve with a trial. Still others like to spend a lengthy time investigating before making any offer on a case even with clear liability.
Most people are not familiar with the hundreds of insurance companies that operate in Illinois and therefore are not sure what type of company they are dealing with when they are injured. This is a very good reason to contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible so that you can obtain proper advice regarding the insurance company at issue in your case.
Since the policies and defense tactics of insurance companies vary significantly, a personal injury claim is greatly affected by which insurance company is defending the case. Both the insurance company at issue and the assigned insurance adjuster can speed up or slow down a case significantly depending on the procedures they use in evaluating a case.
While everyone injured wants to know how long their case will take, it is not always possible to give an answer because each case is different and even an experienced lawyer cannot predict how every fact will play out during the claim. If you have been injured through the negligence of someone else and you want to discuss a potential claim, please call the personal injury lawyer at Abels & Annes, P.C. today for a free consultation. We are here to discuss your options and the facts of your personal injury case whenever is convenient for you.
We understand that accidents happen at all hours of the day and night so we have a licensed lawyer standing by 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year to take your call toll free at (855) LAW-CHICAGO (529-2442) or locally at (312) 924-7575 and we will take your call whenever it is convenient for you. There is no obligation for speaking with us and everything discussed will be kept confidential when you call.
At Abels & Annes, P.C., we offer free in-home and in-hospital consultations for those too injured to meet with us in our offices and we are ready to fight to make a recovery you deserve for your injuries. Contact us through this website or give us a call at (312) 924-7575.
If you have been injured due to the actions of another person, call Abels & Annes, P.C. today at (855) LAW-CHICAGO or Contact Us online for a free case consultation.