No one can tell you exactly how long it will take to settle your personal injury claim, but a lawyer can help you understand the settlement process. Your lawyer can also help you determine how long each step in your settlement process might take. This process may include:
- Determining the value of your damages
- Investigating your accident
- Assigning liability to the at-fault party
- Accepting a settlement award
Determining each step in your anticipated settlement timeline might be challenging to do on your own. However, if you hire a personal injury attorney, they can help you understand the time your state allows the insurance company to respond to each step of the settlement process, which helps determine how long it takes to settle your personal injury claim.
Determining the Value of Your Personal Injury Claim
Calculating your recoverable expenses and losses is an important part of your injury claim’s timeline. The lawyer who represents you may help determine the monetary goal of your lawsuit. As the American Bar Association (ABA)’s guidelines explain, the damages you might be entitled to include are:
- Medical care until you recover
- Income loss until you can return to work
- Property damage or total loss
- Physical pain and suffering
- Mental and emotional stress
- Public embarrassment and humiliation
Valuing your lawsuit can take time because it means waiting for your medical records and bills to be finalized. Rushing this part of the settlement process could inadvertently omit expenses and losses that qualify for compensation. Your lawyer’s goal is to calculate your lawsuit’s value thoroughly and accurately before agreeing to the opposing party’s settlement offer. This step also ensures your personal injury claim or lawsuit is not undervalued or underpaid.
Start Investigating Your Accident Right at the Scene
Today’s smartphones let you take impromptu pictures and videos. If you were injured because of negligence, your smartphone is an ideal investigative tool.
According to how you were injured and the severity of your injuries, you may have photos like the types listed here, such as:
- The dog that bit you, its identification tags, and nearby street signs
- Slippery or debris-laden floors or steps where you slipped and fell
- Your car and the car that hit you
You also need to take pictures of your injuries in various stages of healing. In addition to photos and videos, insist on a written report of your accident that includes contact details for the at-fault party, their insurance company, and available accident witnesses, among other information.
Negotiate with the At-Fault Party
When settlement negotiations begin, representatives for you and for the at-fault party may explain their valuation of the accident. At this point, an offer might be presented for consideration. Once you receive an offer, you and your lawyer can:
- Weigh its pros and cons
- Consider your lawyer’s fee
- Reject or accept an offer
This progress might be repeated several times before you receive an offer you agree to accept. Per ABA guidelines, the final decision is yours, so you play a significant role in how long the settlement process lasts.
Understand the Finality of Your Settlement Agreement
When you agree to a settlement award, the at-fault party or their insurance company may ask you to sign a waiver that prevents you from seeking additional compensation in the future. The finality of your settlement agreement makes it important to get your valuation right.
A lawyer can determine an accurate value for your compensation that helps you recover from the financial aftermath of an injury. Avoid agreeing to a settlement or signing a waiver without talking to a member of your legal team first. They can help you understand how many days the insurer has to acknowledge receipt of your notification, make a settlement offer, and render payment after an agreement has been reached.
Let Us Help You Settle Your Personal Injury Case
If you or someone you love was injured by another person or entity, you might have the basis of a personal injury lawsuit. We can help you file your lawsuit on time, negotiate a financial settlement, and figure out how long it takes to settle a personal injury claim.
When you are ready to settle your claim, let our team help you handle the at-fault party’s insurance company or your own insurer. Contact the client intake team at Farmer & Morris Law, PLLC, by calling (828) 286-3866 today.