The total time it will take to reach a personal injury settlement from the time you finish treatment until the time you settle your case, is roughly 5 months.
This article explains the timeline and steps along the way to your personal injury settlement. The goal is to prepare each client for the rather drawn out process involved in reaching the best personal injury settlement possible for their claim or case.
First, we should distinguish between a personal injury claim and a personal injury case. A personal injury claim generally refers to the action you are taking to attempt to collect for damages against an insurance company prior to filing a lawsuit. Your personal injury claim becomes a personal injury case or lawsuit, only when a lawsuit is filed. Fortunately for all parties, most claims settle without your personal injury lawyer ever having to file a lawsuit.
Your First Step Is To Finish Treatment
Before you finish treatment, your personal injury attorney can’t request medical records and medical billing from your treatment facilities. Prior to finishing treatment, your personal injury attorney can do the following:
- Set up the claim with the insurance company that represents the other party;
- Gather information from you regarding the circumstances surrounding your accident and injury;
- Keep track of the facilities where you are being treated, and the physicians who are treating you;
After Treatment Is Finished
Once treatment is finished, your personal injury attorney can order all of your medical records and medical billing that occurred between the date of the accident and the last date of treatment. These records generally take 45 to 60 days to be returned to the attorney’s office.
Reviewing Medical Records and Billing
After the billing and records have been received by your personal injury attorney’s office, the lawyer and paralegals can begin to review the billing and medical records and start the process of drafting your demand letter (The letter to be submitted to the insurance adjuster requesting a settlement). This process generally takes two weeks and once your demand letter and demand package are ready to be reviewed, you will be contacted by the office to review the letter together.
Reviewing the Demand Letter and Demand Package
Your personal injury attorney will ask you to review the draft of the demand letter to be sure there are no inconsistencies, to confirm the facts are correct, and to discuss the following elements of your demand:
- Medical Billing Including Medical Liens
- Medical Treatment
- Lost Wages, if applicable
- Special Damages
- Demand Amount
Submitting The Demand Package
By the time the demand package has been reviewed and is ready to be submitted, and based on the timeline above, typically roughly 2 to 3 months have passed since you completed your treatment. This again allowed for time for medical bills and records to arrive, for the attorney to review them, and for you to discuss your demand with your attorney.
Once the demand is submitted, the insurance adjuster typically takes 30 days to review it prior to making a determination as to whether they agree with your theory of liability and whether they are willing to make an offer of settlement. Your attorney will contact you at the 30 day mark after submitting the demand, to review the status of the demand package and any offers which have been made.
Negotiating To Settlement
Once the insurance adjuster has had time to review the demand package and make an offer, you and your personal injury attorney will discuss a counter-offer in hopes of moving closer to your personal injury settlement. The good news is that the series of counter-offers which follows does not require 30 days of review. The review process has already been completed and both sides can negotiate quickly toward a settlement. This process ideally takes 30 to 45 days to finalize and reach a settlement.
When Will I Receive A Check
Once a personal injury settlement agreement is reached, the insurance company will generally issue a check immediately and send it to the attorney’s office to be deposited into the attorney’s trust account. You’ll be asked to sign a release for the insurance company as well as a settlement statement for the attorney’s office, and you’ll pick up your check at that time.
What If We Don’t Reach A Personal Injury Settlement
If you don’t or can’t reach a settlement, you and your attorney will discuss filing a lawsuit in the matter. The decision to file a lawsuit is one you and your attorney will both need to make. The law firm must consider the chances of success, the good and bad facts surrounding your case, and the cost of litigation. Your attorney will discuss all of these factors with you and weigh them not only when considering a settlement offer, but also if a settlement can’t be reached at all.
Can You Summarize The Timeline
A summary of the timeline outlined above, is below. Keep in mind each claim is unique and some may settle more quickly than others, while some take longer.
Step 1: Finish Treatment
Step 2: Order Medical Bills and Medical Records (Takes 45-60 days)
Step 3: Review Bills/Records (Takes 2 weeks)
Step 4: Discuss Demand Draft (Included in Step 3 above)
Step 5: Submit Demand Package And Receive First Offer (Takes 30 days)
Step 6: Finalize Negotiation and Disburse Funds (Takes 45 days)
The total time it will take from the time you finish treatment until the time you settle your case, is roughly 5 months.
If you would like to speak with a Charlotte personal injury attorney about your personal injury claim, please call 704.749.7747 today. The call is free and we’re happy to help. Or, you can click HERE to request a call from us. We know you have choices, and we hope you will choose to Recover With Us.