Clients often ask me: “How long will it take for my case to settle?” The answer is: It depends. I have written a previous article stating that a personal injury case should not be rushed. Most attorneys will work hard for their clients and want to obtain the best results. To do this, an attorney will often take his time and make sure all his bases are covered.
An attorney will want to make sure his client is seen by a qualified medical provider after the accident to obtain a diagnosis of injuries. If the client recovers quickly from the accident (like within 1 or 2 months), the case should not take too long to settle. The attorney will be able to send a settlement demand to the responsible insurance company once he receives all of the medical records and bills and obtains a claim number from the responsible insurance company. Most insurance companies will evaluate the settlement demand from the attorney within 30 days and make an offer to settle. After an attorney receives an offer to settle from the insurance company, the attorney should contact the client to inform the client of the offer and determine whether the client is willing to accept the offered amount. If the client wants more money, the attorney will contact the insurance company again and attempt to negotiate a higher offer. Additional negotiations can take days or even a few hours to reach the client’s desired result. Most soft tissue injury cases are settled within a year. Most soft tissue injury cases can be settled within three months after a client is released from his doctor’s care.
But in many cases, the client does not recover quickly. The client may need several months of treatment to recover from his injury. MRIs may need to be performed and consultations with specialists (like orthopedists and neurosurgeons) may need to be scheduled. In these cases, the client will be advised that his case should not be settled until he has returned to his pre-injury status or has reached maximum medical improvement. Thus, a good rule to follow when trying to determine how long it will take your case to settle is to ask your doctor how long you will need to go to the doctor to get better. For instance, if you are treating with a chiropractor who will need to see you for 6 months until you return to health, you should not settle your case until the 6 months is over and you are released from care. The sooner you recover from your injuries, the sooner it will be advisable to settle your case. Once you are released from care, your attorney will obtain your complete file from the chiropractor (including reports and bills) and submit the file to the insurance company.
How long any given case will take to settle, will vary and depend on several factors. An accident victim should speak with an experienced accident attorney to determine the best strategy to take in a given case. Clients should be patient and honest with their attorneys and doctors at all times. If it will take longer than a year to settle your case, a lawsuit will likely be filed because the statute of limitations in Louisiana car accident and slip and fall cases is one year from the date of accident.
The views expressed in this article are for information purposes only and are not intended as legal advice. An accident victim should consult with an attorney after suffering injury. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, contact Lawyer Don D’Aunoy today for a free case consultation. Although his office is in Metairie, Lawyer Don makes free house calls throughout southeast Louisiana.