People who suffer personal injuries due to negligence are entitled to file personal injury claims to receive compensation from the at-fault party or parties. Compensation can be related to a number of causes—loss of income, employment, medical expenses, pain and suffering, loss of consortium, among other reasons. That is why it’s best to consult with a personal injury lawyer to ensure you receive just compensation for your injury in a timely manner. However, a “timely manner” is relative to each case. The length of time it takes to settle a personal injury claim relates to the case itself.
Not All Personal Injuries are Created Equal
Though the law defines the parameters for personal injury lawsuits, with settlement amounts comparative to similar types of injuries and circumstances, it’s important to understand that each personal injury claim is inherently unique and different from the one before or after it. Because of that, the length of time for settlement of each claim will vary. From the time a personal injury lawsuit is filed until it is settled may take anywhere from a few weeks to a few years. At a minimum, even with a clear case of negligence, the duration of the claim and settlement generally takes a few months.
Case Settlements Depend on the Injury, Recovery Period & Individual Circumstances
Broadly speaking, the length of time to settle a case is relative to the extent of your injuries and recovery time. If your injuries are extensive or complicated, leaving you partially or permanently disabled, the settlement may take a considerable time to reach. If the injuries you have suffered are minor, there is a good possibility your personal injury claim may be settled within a few months.
Don’t Settle For Less
However, there are a number of reasons that settlements may take time—even more time than anticipated. You should never rush through a personal injury claim. It’s better to have a mindset that it will take time to reach a settlement. The reason is that the first offers to settle are typically low offers. The amount may seem considerable, but it may not be enough. Your personal injury lawyer will advise you whether or not to accept any offer to settle that is not a legitimate one, and you would be well-advised to listen to him or her instead of jumping at the first offer. Your injury may lead to future complications. By accepting less than you justly deserve to settle a claim and be done with it, it may only end up costing you more over time in unforeseen related medical expenses and-or lost wages. Though it is obvious, it is also good to remember that insurance companies are for-profit corporations. The sooner a personal injury claim is settled, chances are it’s settled for less, and that benefits them not you.
Getting the Facts Straight
A personal injury claim may take time to settle if there are a number of factual conflicts that need to be resolved. Your personal injury lawyer will conduct a thorough investigation—gather supporting evidence, documents and files necessary to support your claim. Compiling accident reports, witness interviews, medical bills, treatment notes, photographs of injuries and the accident scene, the amount of lost income, wages or employment, and so on, is a lengthy process.
Consider Your Medical Treatment and Recovery Period
The time it takes to settle your personal injury claim may also be related to your medical treatment. It may very well be that the extent of injuries could lengthen the time it takes to reach a settlement. The time it takes to recover and get back to a “normal” life may be open-ended or your doctor may be proceeding cautiously to fully grasp how the injuries you have suffered will affect your quality of life. Complications may lead to referrals to specialists or additional surgeries.
Getting Tied Up in the Legal System
Settlements can also be tied up in the legal system when there is a large amount of money involved. It may be related to third party claims or costly medical bills. Typically, when large amounts of money are involved, insurance companies will often delay in an attempt to lower the settlement with a less than adequate amount. This may result in a drawn-out negotiation process to settle for a lower sum or having to go to court and undertake a lengthy trial to receive a fair amount.
Find an Attorney that Will Fight For You, Not Just Settle
Ultimately, the time it takes to settle a personal injury claim will depend on the claim itself. There are many variables to consider. The type of injury, the settlement offers, medical treatment, negotiations, or the real possibility of going to trial can all contribute to how long it takes to settle a claim. Although it may take a long time to settle, even more than reasonable, it is important to be patient in order to be awarded fair compensation for your injuries.
If you have been injured due to negligence in Maine, contact the law firm of Hardy, Wolf & Downing. With four decades of experience helping victims of personal injury, they can help you recover significant compensation no matter how long it takes.