How long a personal injury settlement takes depends on several factors, including the strength of the evidence, and the available insurance policies. In general, it can take a few weeks or months of back-and-forth between parties to reach a settlement. You will want to ensure the settlement you agree to addresses your damages, and the insurer may not view your case value the same way.
In some cases, the parties never reach a settlement, instead opting to try the case in court. A personal injury attorney knows how to keep this process moving forward and can mitigate any potential delays while fighting for a fair settlement.
Before You Can File a Personal Injury Claim
You must complete several steps before even getting to the negotiation stage of a personal injury case. For example, you will need time to:
- Seek medical treatment and receive a prognosis
- Choose a lawyer to represent you if you plan to hire legal representation
- Compile evidence of liability and your damages
- Calculate case value and determine the amount of compensation to request
- Build a claim against the liable party
- File the claim and supply any additional documentation the insurer requests
It’s important not to rush this phase of the claims process, as you want your case to be as solid as possible. You want to ensure all recoverable damages are listed in your claim and you have all the evidence to prove your right to compensation.
Filing a Claim With the Liable Party’s Insurer
You’ll need the other party’s insurance details to file a claim for your medical bills, lost wages, and other damages. Your lawyer can begin by sending a demand letter to their insurer to inform the company of the impending claim.
The demand letter will outline the following:
- Your recollection of the events and how the policyholder’s actions caused you bodily harm
- An outline of the harm and property damage you incurred
- The financial recovery you’re requesting from the insurance company
Once you file the claim, settlement negotiations can begin.
A personal injury claim involves discussions between the legal representatives of both sides. It could entail informal discussions, mediation, or arbitration, with the end goal of reaching a settlement agreement. Agreeing to a settlement releases the other party from further liability if your medical costs increase or you encounter any other damages in the future.
If things go smoothly and the at-fault party admits liability to their negligence, you can start negotiating a payout. When they’re ready to negotiate, they’ll present a settlement offer for your review and response. Generally, the negotiations timeframe varies based on questions like these:
- How strong is your case?
- What is the least amount you can accept?
- How soon do you need the financial recovery?
These back and forth negotiations can take several weeks to months, so having a personal injury lawyer can be invaluable. Moreover, when the other party is unwilling to reason and denies any blame for the accident, an attorney can prepare the court case.
Litigating in Court
Most personal injury cases don’t require a trial, as many parties choose to settle to avoid the additional time and money it takes to move through the court system. Even after a lawsuit is filed, our lawyers may continue negotiating with the other party in the hopes of closing the matter rather than dragging things out in court.
When these matters do go to court, they can involve several phases:
- Preliminary hearings
- Jury selection
Each of these can add time to how long it takes to receive your personal injury award.
Can You Negotiate With Insurance Adjusters Without a Lawyer?
Yes, but we highly discourage you from doing so. While this strategy has panned out in various situations, it could expose you to manipulation from the insurance adjusters of the at-fault party.
We have met clients who received lowball settlement offers because they lacked the foresight to consider additional medical expenses or what happens if they struggle to find work or their vehicle loses value. Hiring an attorney means you put your case in their hands, so you leave nothing to chance.
Moreover, some victims forgo legal counsel because they believe they can’t afford to pay legal fees. This is not the case when you choose our firm, as we have a contingency fee policy for all our personal injury cases. You pay nothing up front or out of pocket, and we charge nothing until we win compensation for you.*
Contact George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers for Expert Legal Counsel
The process of suing for personal injury is complex and best handled by attorneys who understand how the insurance and court systems work. Our legal team knows how to handle the insurance companies in South Carolina and Georgia to keep the claims process moving forward.
At George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers, we have helped many clients like you get restitution for their injuries. Contact us today to discuss your case at no cost.