The length of a personal injury claim is largely dependent on the gap between how much money you require to cover your damages and what the insurance company is willing to pay. While a victim can accept a settlement as soon as it is put forth, early settlements are likely to offer less money. You will have only one chance to claim monetary compensation for your damages and accepting an offer too early can leave needed funds on the table. Below, our blog reviews several factors which can influence the overall amount of time the personal injury claims process may take.
- Liability is disputed: In some cases, there may be overwhelming evidence in your favor and the responsibility for an accident is clear. Most cases, however, will not be straight forward and one or more conflicting stories will often exist. It may be difficult to get an insurance company to pay the full value of your claim if the responsibility for an accident remains unclear.
- Your damages are disputed: The opposing attorney or insurance company may claim that your injuries are not as severe as you claim. For example, if you did not visit the doctor immediately, or the treating physician does not conclusively link your injuries to an accident, your claim may be undervalued.
- Your damages are extensive: Typically, the larger the claim, the longer it will take to settle. At the end of the day, the insurance company is a business that must take profits into account. An insurer will investigate each aspect of your claim and may be looking for any area in which they can justify a reduction in payment.
- Medical injuries are not immediately apparent: One reason why it is critical to visit a doctor after any accident is that certain injuries can take days or even weeks to fully present symptoms. It can take even longer to get a complete picture of how injuries will affect you in the months and years after an accident. Will your potential income be affected? Will you have a reduced quality of life? These questions can be difficult to answer.
- A case goes to trial: Perhaps one of the largest factors in determining the length of your claim is whether your case goes to trial. When the negotiation process breaks down completely, litigation may be the next step. While a courtroom battle can add months to the length of your claim, it may be necessary when an insurance company is not willing to pay a fair amount for your claim.
Injured in an Accident? Call (800) 559-0593
Frustratingly, there is no universal formula to determine how long the negotiation process will take until a fair settlement is reached. However, if you have been injured in an accident through no fault of your own, the Adams Law Firm can help you to efficiently navigate the claims process and avoid common pitfalls. Our attorneys possess more than three decades of legal experience and are members of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum®. If you have questions about your case, get in touch with our Katy personal injury attorneys and discover what our firm can do for you.
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Nobody expects to be injured in a sudden accident. Depending on the circumstances, if it can be proven that your injuries were caused by another person’s negligence, you may have grounds to file a personal injury claim against the responsible party in pursuit of compensation for your losses. Unfortunately, seeking compensation is oftentimes much easier said than done, especially for those who have never dealt with the legal system before. If you are considering filing a civil lawsuit against a negligent party, it is important to be prepared for what is to come and avoid certain mistakes which can negatively impact your chances of recovering a fair settlement.
Common mistakes to avoid when filing a personal injury claim include:
- Leaving the accident scene too quickly: Be sure to gather as much information as you can at the scene of your accident and document all relevant facts that may have caused your accident. Take photographs and write down the names and contact information of any witnesses. Staying at the scene is especially important for car accident cases. Leaving before it is deemed appropriate to do so can potentially be seen as a “hit and run” and expose you to criminal consequences – even if the other driver was at fault.
- Not seeing a doctor promptly: No matter how severe or seemingly minor your injuries may be, seek a full medical evaluation as soon as you can after your accident. Some injuries, particularly those sustained in car accidents, can have delayed symptoms which may not surface until days or weeks later. Seeing a doctor will not only allow you to identify all injuries you have sustained, but it will also be crucial in allowing you to prove that your injuries were indeed the result of your accident and not some other cause. Likewise, it is also extremely important you follow your doctor’s orders and adhere to all prescribed treatments.
- Waiting too long to file a claim: Personal injury claims are subject to a “statute of limitations,” or a legal timeframe dictating how long injured parties have to file a claim. If this time limit expires, you could lose your ability to file altogether.
- Not documenting important information: As mentioned above, the more information you have related to your accident and the losses you sustain as a result, the better your chances are of securing the compensation you deserve. Keep records of all medical invoices, prescription drug receipts, lost wages, and correspondence with healthcare providers and insurance companies. It is also wise to keep a diary documenting your pain levels and the ways in which your injuries have impacted your life.
- Accepting the first offer: In many cases, a defendant’s or insurance company’s initial settlement offer will be far less than what you actually deserve to cover all of your damages. While you may feel pressured to settle as quickly as possible, in reality you have plenty of time to negotiate and wait for a better offer. Settling too quickly can be costly, as it can cause you to be financially responsible for any remaining expenses not covered by your settlement.
- Not hiring a personal injury lawyer: Individuals who attempt to handle their own personal injury claim are often taken advantage of by insurance companies and end up recovering far less than they would have with the assistance of an attorney. You need a personal injury lawyer on your side who can handle negotiations on your behalf and ensure your rights are protected.
Board Certified Katy Personal Injury Attorneys
Your chances of securing fair financial recovery after an accident are oftentimes only as strong as the attorney by your side. If you have been injured at the hands of a negligent party, the experienced Katy personal injury lawyers at Adams Law Firm can provide the steadfast and aggressive representation you need to help you get back on your feet as quickly as possible. Having represented the rights of injured clients for more than 25 years, your case is sure to be in excellent hands.
We proudly offer free initial consultations for all personal injury clients. Fill out an online form or call us today at (800) 559-0593 to schedule yours.