How long does a personal injury claim take to settle?

Were you involved in a personal injury accident? If so, your first question may be – how long does a personal injury claim take to settle? To Personal Injury Claimdiscuss this and/or any other issues regarding your accident, contact our office for a free consultation at 312-848-9783.

How long does a personal injury claim take to settle?

If you’ve dealt with personal injury attorneys before, you’ll understand that it’s hard to get a definite answer out of them. That’s because there are many factors that go into a personal injury case. Anyone of them could delay your case. For that reason, the only honest answer to the question of how long does a personal injury claim take to settle is – “It Depends”.

Factors that affect how long it takes to settle your case

There are many factors that affect this answer. The most important being the severity of your injury. Instead of starting there, however, we will address this question by looking at the normal pattern a personal injury case takes.

Finding the defendant/insurance

Many times our clients were taken from the scene of an accident in an ambulance. If that’s the case, chances are you didn’t have a chance to get the defendant’s contact information let alone his/her auto insurance information. As such, you may have to wait until the police report is ready to identify the defendant or his insurance. That can take weeks in big cities like Chicago. The easiest way in Chicago to obtain a police report is on the CPD website. You can also obtain reports from the Illinois State Police, your local Sheriff’s department and/or your local city.

Liability

Once you find the defendant, you or your attorney will file a claim with their insurance company. Most insurance companies have websites with instructions or a phone number to file a claim, like this one from State Farm insurance.

Just because you filed a claim, however, does not mean that State Farm etc. will immediately compensate you for your damages. Normally the insurance company will investigate the matter first. This could include ordering the police report, interviewing their insured about the facts of the accident, interviewing witnesses, inspecting the scene of the accident and so forth. Then, they will either accept “liability,” meaning responsibility for the accident, or they can deny liability, or they might split responsibility between their insured and you the victim.

This can take a long time, especially if a serious injury or a death is involved. In the meantime, your car is damaged and you’re in pain. You may get frustrated and for good reason. However, aside from filing a lawsuit, there is little you can do to speed the insurance company’s investigation up. That’s one of the reasons why we recommend filing a claim with your own insurance company as well.

This is the quickest way to get your property damaged resolved. Yes you will have to pay your deductible in order to get your vehicle fixed, but you should get that money back shortly.

Severity of Injury

The one factor that most affects the question of how long does a personal injury claim take to settle, is the severity of your injuries. Why? Because this will (in many situations) dictate how long you obtain medical treatment for.

Once you sign a release from the insurance company accepting compensation for your damages, you waive away your right to recover anything else from the defendant/his insurance in the future. It doesn’t matter what happens. We just received a call from a woman who signed a release from an insurance company six months ago. She was just recently diagnosed with bulging discs in her neck and wanted to go back to the insurance cover to obtain additional compensation. We had to tell her that once she signed the release her case was over. There was no going back for more money. Consequently, you want to make sure your medical treatment is completely finished before you sign on the dotted line.

Ironically, the severity of your injuries may also mean that the amount of time it takes to settle your case is very short. For example, we had a case recently where our insured (a pedestrian) suffered a severe leg fracture when she was hit by a car while crossing the street. She underwent open reduction internal fixation surgery on her leg.

This is a severe injury for which she could have recovered significantly for. However, the driver of the car that hit her only had $50,000 in insurance and our client did not have any auto insurance. As such, she was limited in her recovery to $50,000. The insurance company offered the $50,000 within weeks of the accident occurring. Theoretically, we could have settled her case right then but for the time it took to negotiate her medical bills.

We will discuss that and other issues that effect how long it takes to settle a personal injury claim in part two of this blog article, which we will post next week. If you want a free consultation to discuss the question – how long does a personal injury claim take to settle? Contact our office at 312-848-9783.

How much is my case worth?

Glenview Injury Attorney

If you’re a Glenview injury attorney, the one question you hear from clients repeatedly is: how much is my case worth? The simple answer usually is – “it depends.”

In short, how much your case is worth depends on a variety of factors including:

  • Severity of injury
  • The type of medical treatment you underwent
  • The permanency (or lack thereof) of your injuries
  • The amount of your medical bills
  • The amount of your lost wages
  • How much insurance there is
  • What insurance company you are dealing with

Severity of injury: This is the tough one in that everyone who has been in a collision believes their case is worth $1M dollars – and a lot of attorneys will tell you that your case is (see below). The truth of the matter is that how much you recover is really a “sliding scale” with soft tissue injuries like sprains and strains or minor concussions on the left of the scale and catastrophic injuries like death on the right.

Type of medical treatment: If you undergo surgery, from an open reduction internal fixation (ORIF) to a minor arthroscopic procedure, your case will be worth significantly more than someone who had a single trip to an emergency room and some physical therapy.

Permanency: If you have a permanent disfigurement, for example, scarring from road rash, a bone that never healed right and sticks out or you will forever walk with a limp, your case may be valuable.

Amount of medical bills: In the 1990’s, you could count on getting 3 times your medical bills in a soft tissue crash. That model does NOT apply any longer regardless of what you find on the internet. But, significant medical bills can be and often are an indicator of severity of injury and in the state of Illinois you are entitled to recover for all your medical bills regardless whether your insurance company had a contract with the provider that required them to pay less than face price.

Amount of lost wages: you are entitled to recover for your verifiable lost wages. This is standard but again, must be verified for an insurance company to compensate you for them.

How much insurance there is: Fifteen percent of all drivers are uninsured, countless more are UNDERinsured meaning they have the minimum insurance policy limits of $25,000.00. If that’s all the insurance there is, then unfortunately, that may be all you can recover against the defendant regardless how severe your injuries are. I was recently contacted by a woman who had a potential exacerbation of a prior leg injury. The first lawyer she spoke to said she had a $1 million dollar case. I asked her, if the defendant only has a $25,000.00 policy, where is the other $975,000.00 coming from?

What insurance company you’re dealing with: If you’re dealing with Allstate, Esurance or State Farm, be prepared to be low-balled. Conversely, commercial policies often pay more for a standard claim

It’s difficult to determine how much your case is worth. If you want a consultation from a Glenview injury attorney, call Barry at 312-848-9783 for a free consultation.