Clients often ask us how long it will take to settle their accident claim. Whether your accident occurred in Orlando, Florida, somewhere else in Florida, South Carolina, or North Carolina, our answer is almost always the same: It depends. In this article, we’ll talk more about how long it takes to settle an accident claim and what factors come into play.
Every Orlando Personal Injury Case is Different
Every accident claim is different, and so it’s difficult to say how long a given personal injury case will take to settle. Some accident and injury claims may settle in a matter of weeks or months. Others could take a year or two to resolve, especially if the case has to go to trial.
Some people believe there is a formula, algorithm, or rule for how long it will take a car accident, semi-truck accident, slip and fall, trip and fall, or wrongful death case to settle. However, there is no such formula out there. Each case will be decided based on a number of factors, and those factors are the only constant in the equation.
Factors the Can Affect How Long it Will Take to Settle an Accident Claim
Although there is no formula or rule for how long an accident claim will take to settle, there are a number of factors that come into play in most cases. Below, we will discuss some of the more critical factors in determining how long an accident claim will take to settle.
The Complexity of Your Particular Accident Case
Some accident cases are more complex than others. The number of defendants, the evidence, and other unique facts about a case could make that case much more complex. As a result, that case could take much longer to settle.
For example, in a car accident, there may be multiple vehicles involved, and so there may be multiple people who are liable for your injuries. In a semi-truck accident, the driver may be liable, but the trucking company may also be liable. As the investigation unfolds, your attorney may uncover multiple layers of liability.
On the other hand, you may be involved in a rear-end car crash where liability is clear. In this situation, the other party probably would have no argument that you were partially at fault. After all, you were sitting at a red light when the driver ran into you. In this situation, the case is less complex, and so it may settle much more quickly.
In a more complex case where liability is unclear and where it’s unclear who caused your injuries, the case is likely to take much more time to settle than if it were a simple case. The insurance company does not want to settle the case without knowing the material facts and without understanding what happened. Thus, the insurance company and its attorneys may decide that it’s worth it to take the case to trial, which could take a lot of time and effort.
The Severity of Your Injuries
The severity of your injuries can greatly impact the time it takes to settle. It’s best to wait to settle a case until you fully understand your medical condition and what kind of treatment you will need in the future. Without understanding your medical prognosis, you can’t reasonably estimate what your future medical damages are, and so you can’t reasonably estimate the value of your case.
The best practice may be to wait until your medical providers let you know that you have reached your maximum level of medical improvement or until they can give a good estimate regarding what future medical treatment you will need. When you settle your claim, you will likely have to sign a release, releasing the at-fault party and the insurance company from all claims related to the accident that hurt you. After you sign that release, you can’t go back and get more money. In other words, you don’t get another bite at the apply. Therefore, before we demand a settlement, we want to be sure that we fully understand your damages. That way, we can be sure that we are getting you all the money you’re entitled to.
The Amount of Damages
A case with higher damages will likely take more time to settle because the insurance company will have to write a bigger check, assuming the at-fault party has insurance. The more money involved, the more hesitant the insurance company will be to write a check and settle the case. In other words, when the damages are high, the insurance company will do a more thorough investigation before settling.
There is an exception to this rule. Sometimes, the damages are so high that they greatly exceed the insurance policy limits. When this is the case and when the insured at-fault party was clearly at fault, the insurance company may want to settle the case more quickly. If the insurance company refuses to settle for policy limits and then gets hit at trial for an amount over the policy limits, then their insured may have a claim against them for insurance bad faith. Our law firm has no problem bringing a bad faith claim against an insurance company, and we know how to use the potential bad faith claim to pressure the insurance company into settling a claim.
The Court’s Schedule or Docket
After you file your lawsuit with the court, you’re at the mercy of the court’s scheduling. In many cases, the court will enter a scheduling order that sets out various dates for completing various stages of the case, like discovery. Additionally, the court will set a date for trial.
During litigation, the schedule of a case is subject to change. Things happen, and people need to reschedule. Additionally, the court may need to reschedule because of a conflict. Therefore, the scheduling order is not always set in stone.
Willingness of the Defendant to Settle the Accident Claim Before Trial
The reasonableness of the people involved in an injury claim can change everything. Some defendants are ready to admit they were wrong, pay the money they owe, and everyone can move on with their lives. This is the best possible scenario.
However, this isn’t always how things go. Some defendants and insurance companies refuse to negotiate and pay injury claims. Our attorneys are experienced at dealing with stubborn defendants and insurance companies. If they refuse to work with us, we will file a lawsuit and take them to court. Ultimately, it’s their choice about whether or not to be reasonable. However, at our law firm, we typically respond aggressively when they take a stubborn position.
Your Financial Needs and Your Timeline
Insurance companies know that people are hurting for money. They know that your injuries and your medical bills have you in a bad financial situation, and they use this to their advantage. Therefore, it’s not uncommon for the insurance companies to delay as much as they can. That way, they can get people to accept less money than they deserve. This is a sick strategy that hurts people and their families; however, it happens all the time.
Our Orlando personal injury attorneys will fight to make the insurance company pay you what you deserve. If they delay the case and use tactics that we don’t approve of, we have no problem filing a lawsuit and making them pay for their transgressions. We’re here to help our clients and their families. Ultimately, it’s your choice about whether to settle and whether to file a lawsuit. We can talk through all your options and help you to make the best decision for you and your family. That’s what we do.
Contact Us to Schedule Your FREE Consultation with an Orlando Personal Injury Attorney
If you still have questions about your accident claim or about how long it may take to settle your accident claim, we are here to help you, and you should consider speaking with an experienced Florida personal injury lawyer as soon as possible because you may be entitled to compensation. You can contact us online or you can call our Orlando, Florida law office at (321) 352-7588 to schedule your consultation.
If you need a South Carolina personal injury lawyer, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at (843) 638-6590. We have at least one lawyer licensed in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. So, if you've been injured in one of these states, we have you covered.
Sometimes, you just need to talk everything over with an attorney for the next steps to become clear. We are here to help people. We’re happy to talk with you about your claim, and we’re here when you’re ready to talk about it.