“How long will it take to settle my case?” is one of the single hardest questions for a personal injury lawyer to answer, and often the answer is hard for a client to accept. A case is only over when one of two things happens: (1) A case goes to trial and a jury decides the outcome; or (2) a client decides to accept what the insurance company is offering them.
Sometimes the decision is easy, like when an insurance company offers a client a settlement that does not begin to cover their medical bills. If that happens, the case will take longer to settle and may often require a jury to decide. This often happens when the insurance company feels there was not a significant crash or where a client has a history of prior injuries. While a lawyer’s job is to argue your case to the insurance company, there are times when those companies simply do not believe the client, leaving them with no other option but to file a lawsuit.
There are other times when an insurance company makes a fair offer to a client who, after a review of all options, decides to settle the case. However, to know just how fair an offer is a client needs to have a complete understanding of what their past and future medical needs will be. It would be a tragedy for a client to settle their case for what they thought was a great amount only to learn several months later that they need an expensive surgical procedure they did not know about when they settled. In situations like that, they will be responsible for the bills, not the at-fault driver or their insurance company.
When you are considering how long your case will take to resolve or settle, remember that you should never consider any settlement until you have an understanding of your injuries and what future treatment your doctors are recommending. A skilled personal injury lawyer will be able to help you make the right decision for your case, but you should never rush to settle your case. At Michles & Booth, we make it a goal to never delay our clients’ cases, but we cannot advise our clients to rush into a settlement. Their injuries, and the rest of their life, demands that we be cautious, methodical, and correct when we advise them on whether or not they have been offered a fair settlement for their case.
Ultimately, a case will settle when the insurance company understands everything it can about the client’s medical condition, and when the client is satisfied that the offer he/she has received is fair. If this does not happen, then the client’s lawyer will look to a jury from the client’s community to award the client the amount that he/she believes he/she is entitled to have. It may just take longer to get there.
If you or a loved one have been injured as the result of another driver’s negligence, contact our firm today for a free consultation. We are here to answer your questions and help you understand your rights under the law. Do not sign away your claim without first making sure you know all of your options. And remember, as the client, you decide when you want to settle your case.