3 Factors That May Impact the Length of a Personal Injury Claim
In a recent report, the U.S. Department of Justice stated that there were around 400,000 personal injury claims made over the course of a year. Of these claims, only 4% actually went to trial. The rest of the claims were settled out of court. The largest category of injuries came from motor vehicle accidents at 52%. The second highest category was “other” at 28%. This category covers a wide array of injuries from dog bites to a slip and fall. The third and fourth categories were medical malpractice and product liability. In any of these cases, there are several factors that will impact the length of time it will take to get to a settlement, but the likely first step is to speak to a personal injury lawyer.
Severity of the Injury
How serious the injury sustained is will be one of the major factors impacting the length of a settlement. Most insurance companies are not going to talk about a settlement until the person affected has healed and been given some sort of clearance by a doctor. In some serious cases, a doctor may determine that the injuries aren’t going to get any better. In these cases, it is advisable to have a Corpus Christi personal injury lawyer to navigate the rest of the settlement process. There will need to be cost projections made to determine what further treatment will be necessary, and that will cause the settlement timeline to increase.
Liability and Records
Determining which party is at fault in an injury case is something that will also take some time. If there is any type of dispute as to who is at fault, or if an insurance company feels they have a case to reduce the liability of a defendant, the length of time to reach a settlement will increase. If an agreement as to where the fault lies in a case can’t be reached, then litigation would be the likely next step, which again adds more time to the process. Another aspect that usually goes smoothly, but can add time is requests for billing and medical records. From time to time these requests, which are made by a personal injury lawyer, can take weeks or even months to obtain.
Delays and Liens
Once the liability in a case has been determined and agreed upon, there is still some processing that needs to happen with insurance companies. Some companies take a great deal longer than others to process claims. Once an insurance company makes a settlement offer, it can take some time to negotiate and agree on a final amount. This part of the process shouldn’t be rushed, because once a settlement is accepted that is typically the end of the case. If a settlement is accepted, insurance companies can seek to put a lien on the settlement amount because they are seeking reimbursement. If this happens, a personal injury lawyer needs to determine if the lien is valid. This can add some time to reaching that final settlement amount.
Accidents and injuries happen on a regular basis in the United States, and some of them are serious enough to warrant a personal injury claim. The first step in moving forward with a claim is to hire a personal injury lawyer. There are many factors that will determine the amount of money awarded in a settlement, and how long that process will take. The expertise and guidance of a lawyer will help navigate the process and reach an acceptable conclusion.