How Long Does It Take to Settle a Personal Injury Case?August 21, 2017
The time it takes to settle a personal injury case will depend on the specifics of a particular case, as well as the plaintiff’s needs and goals.
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In the meantime, the following reveals some of the main factors that can affect how soon a personal injury case may be settled.
4 Factors that Can Impact How Long It Takes to Settle a Personal Injury Case
The opportunity to settle a personal injury claim can arise at various points, sometimes soon after the claim is initiated. A plaintiff, of course, has the right to settle at any of these points, including early on (though settling early may come with a risk of a lower settlement).
Here, it is important to point out that settling a claim involves negotiating with the defendant and/or the defendant’s insurance company. For the sake of simplicity, the following focuses on settling claims with insurers.
When a plaintiff is serious about obtaining the full financial recovery (s)he’s entitled to, the following are some of the factors that can impact how long it takes to settle the claim with an insurance company include:
- The nature of the liability – When one party is clearly and entirely at fault in a claim, liability is relatively simple and straightforward. In these cases, an insurance company may be more willing to offer a reasonable settlement to avoid trial, which can position a case for a relatively quick settlement.
In contrast, when multiple parties may be liable and/or the victim him- or herself may share some fault, liability can be more complicated. In these claims, insurance companies may be more resistant, if not unwilling, to settle, extending the time it ultimately takes to resolve the claim. If they are willing to settle claims involving complicated liability issues, the insurer may offer a fraction of what the claim is worth.
- The damages on the line – When a claim involves large sums of money (due to the scope of the injuries and damages involved), insurance companies may conduct more thorough investigations and due diligence. They may only be willing to settle when they are sure that they do not have a good defense and that the claim is valid. In these cases, it can take longer to settle a claim.
- The nature of your injuries – If the injuries associated with a claim are fully known, there is a clear picture of the required treatments and related costs. When, however, the extent or severity of injuries remains unclear, it may be advisable for plaintiffs to wait to settle a claim until the exact nature of the injuries is known. So, in cases of more complicated or elusive injuries, it can take longer to settle a claim.
- The strength of your claim – Strong claims, backed by sufficient, definitive evidence, can be associated with a faster settlement process. This is largely because insurance companies will not want to spend more time, money and resources investigating or negotiating claims they cannot effectively fight at trial.
If, however, there is little or questionable evidence associated with a claim – or if there are arguments that can undermine your evidence, insurance companies can be less willing to settle. This can be motivated by the fact that, if insurers have an effective defense against a claim, the more they fight it, the better their chances can be of paying little to nothing on it – especially if the plaintiff or claimant is not represented by an experienced lawyer.
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Settling a Personal Injury Claim: A Word about Insurance Companies
Regardless of the strength and viability of a claim, it is critical to understand that dealing with insurance companies can be an uphill battle, from start to settlement of a claim. This primarily stems from the facts that insurers are:
- Focused on protecting their interests and profits
- Commonly looking for ways to avoid paying the full amount (or anything) for a claim
- Experienced at fighting claims
- NOT on the plaintiff’s side.
This is why it is so important to have the representation and advocacy of an experienced attorney – like a Houston personal injury lawyer at the Amaro Law Firm. With former experience in insurance defense, we know exactly how the insurance business works, what strategies these companies employ and how to effectively combat them.
Tireless and dedicated, we are committed protecting our clients’ rights to fair and just compensation for their injury claims.
Discover More about Your Legal Recovery Options: Contact a Houston Personal Injury Lawyer at the Amaro Law Firm
A Houston personal injury lawyer at the Amaro Law Firm is ready to help you position your claim for a successful resolution.
Call (877) 892-2797, text (281) 612-8024 or email our firm for a free case evaluation.
During this meeting, you can get helpful answers regarding your potential claim and recovery options. We provide virtual consultations and can travel to meet you if you are unable to come to our office for this meeting.