Settlements are a common legal option outside of going to trial. A settlement is reached when two parties come to an agreement. But before that happens, there is a period of negotiation. The total amount of time it takes to reach a settlement can depend on many factors that can lengthen or shorten the legal process.
If you have questions about the timeline of your individual case, it is best to contact an experienced injury attorney. They should be able to discuss what conditions may affect the date of your final case outcome.
How Long Does It Usually Take To Reach An Injury Settlement?
The short answer is ‘it depends.’ It depends on how long it takes for you to recover from your injuries (whether do to the extent of the injuries or the nature of the injuries) and how quickly the individual adjusters respond to our settlement offers.
If you were injured in an accident, you may be experiencing mental and emotional issues, physical pain, and stress from growing bills. If problems like these were caused by someone else’s negligence, then it is only right for you to want compensation!
After hiring an attorney, many victims choose to settle with the at-fault party to recover for the losses and injuries that came from the accident. Settlements are actually more popular than trials because they offer some important benefits, like being lower risk, speedier, and giving you more control over the outcome.
Usually, a settlement is finalized when the at-fault party or defendant pays the victim a certain amount that is agreed to by both sides. The amount of the settlement is paid to cover the ‘damages‘ or losses that were suffered because of the defendant’s negligence.
But how long does it take to reach this point? Unfortunately, there is no set amount of time that it takes to come to a settlement because the timeline depends on a lot of factors that are unique to you and your case.
Since your accident, injuries, and life situation may be totally different than someone else’s, the time it takes for you to reach a settlement will probably be different as well. Fortunately, asking a personal injury attorney about your case is your best chance of finding out the details of your settlement, including when it might be reached.
When Do Settlement Negotiations Begin?
If the victim has legal representation, their attorney will probably write up and send something called a demand letter to the defendant. In car accident cases, the demand letter may be sent to the defendant’s insurance company.
This is an important document that opens up negotiations by stating things like the amount that the victim would like to be paid and why. Once the demand letter it is sent, a response can take weeks. A longer wait time could be due to a claims adjuster’s workload or the insurance company’s review of your case.
Of course, with rejection being a part of negotiations, it is always possible for the insurance company to deliberately ignore demand letters. Once negotiations start, the period of time for trading offers can take weeks or even years, depending on your case.
Why Are Negotiations Important?
Before the parties can agree on how much the defendant should pay in compensation, they usually go through a period of negotiation. Negotiations involve numbers being offered and rejected back and forth. This stage of give-and-take can be difficult and strange for some people, but an attorney can help you decide if you want to accept an offer or keep holding out in case there is a better one.
Once a number is offered that both parties are happy with, it can be accepted. The act of accepting an offer shows that you are ready to settle, which can put an end to the legal matter.
Of course, there are times when two parties in the negotiation phase cannot agree on a number for how much the defendant should pay. If that happens, it is called an ‘impasse‘.
Reaching an impasse can push the date for when your settlement is finally reached. Otherwise, your attorney might discuss filing a lawsuit with you. Filing suit tells the other party that you are willing to go to trial. Even when lawsuits are filed, parties can still come to a settlement before the trial begins.
What Can Delay A Settlement?
Victims of car accidents should keep in mind that part of a claims adjuster’s job is to limit the amount their insurance company pays out in settlements. Insurance companies representing negligent defendants will use strategies during negotiations to settle for the lowest amount.
One strategy is to question parts of your injury claim, such as:
- the medical care you got for injuries
- the time it took you to treat
- how serious your injuries are
- if you have coverage under your insurance policy
- who was at fault
They may do this to get you to settle for less than you would otherwise. Especially if there are complicated answers to their requests for information.
This part can seem scary for some people, and it can push a settlement back, depending on how strong or weak your case is. This is where hiring an experienced injury attorney can make a big difference. They should be familiar with these tactics and can handle any fact disputes with the insurance company for you.
If you were hurt in an accident and do not have an attorney, you can meet with one of ours to ask questions about your case and talk about your legal options. Our office number is (813) 229-5353. Call us or contact us online to set up your free attorney case review. Hablamos español.
What Can I Do To Reach A Settlement Faster?
There is no magic number for the amount of time it takes for a settlement to be reached. That really depends on your case. But there are some things you can do to make the process easier on yourself, and possibly faster too. Understand that your auto accident attorney wants to resolve your case as fast as possible so that he or she can get paid.
Keep Your Emotions In Check
Any accident victim knows that suffering can come in many ways–emotional, physical, financial, and more. After some time, negotiations can really test a person when they seem to drag on or hit a sensitive subject for them. That is totally normal, but you should not allow it to take control of your case.
Lashing out or making fast decisions because your emotions got the best of you can actually interrupt or delay negotiations. The idea of a settlement is to come to an agreement, and for insurance adjusters, it is not personal. Doing your best to stay patient can go a long way in this process.
Should I Keep Records of the Accident?
The better the information you have to give to your attorney, the quicker you will be able to send it off during negotiations. If you were injured in some way from an accident, chances are you were given papers and documents along the way.
Any forms and papers that have to do with your accident, such as:
all help to make up a record of what happened and should not be lost. Keep your important documents in one place and organize them so you know how to find certain things when you need them.
Who Should I Call For Help to Settle my Auto Accident?
If you were hurt in an accident, you may want to ask an attorney about whether a settlement would cover your losses. Our attorney case reviews are 100% free and confidential. We can discuss your accident with you and what legal options you may have.
We work to get our clients the compensation they deserve from beginning to end–when filing their claim, through settlement negotiations, and even in trial. We are not afraid to stand up for our injured clients’ rights under the law. Call us at (813) 229-5353 or go online to contact us for your free case evaluation today.