How long does it take to settle? Each personal injury case is unique, and the length of time it takes to resolve a case varies. Like you, we prefer cases to resolve as quickly as possible. However, a competent attorney will never settle a case before the full nature of the client’s injuries are known. This means that the client must have completed their medical treatment.
After completing your medical treatment, your lawyer will move forward with your case:
Step 1: Your attorney will request your medical records from all providers. Receiving the records may take anywhere from 3 to 6 months from the date of the request, depending on the responsiveness of your medical providers.
Step 2: After receiving all of your medical records, your lawyer will create something called a demand package, which is a letter summarizing your case, your injuries, and amount of damages being requested. To ensure that the demand package is thorough and accurate, this process will take approximately 30 days.
Step 3: The demand package is sent with your medical records to the insurance company. Unfortunately, the law does not require the insurance company to respond within a certain period of time, but it usually submits an offer within 3 to 6 months, depending on the adjuster’s caseload and the complexity of the medical records.
Step 4: After receiving the insurance company’s response, your lawyer can advise you whether the case can be resolved.
If the insurance company’s offer is acceptable to you and your lawyer, the case can usually be settled quickly. The insurance company often releases a check within a few weeks of the settlement agreement, and your lawyer disperses the funds to you and all parties owed; or
If the insurance company’s offer is unacceptable to you and your lawyer, the case may be litigated. Currently, in King County, it takes 12 months for a jury to hear your case if your case is filed today; or
If your case is under a certain value, there is a faster option called Civil Arbitration. Resolution is usually within 5 to 8 months. However, the decision is nonbinding. If either party is unhappy with the results, the arbitration decision can be appealed, and the case may go to trial.
What factors can delay how long it will take to settle a case?
Your injury needs medical care that is complex and/or lengthy in duration.
Your recovery is our priority, so we want to ensure that you receive all the medical care needed to recuperate from the physical and emotional impact of your injuries. The treatment from a serious injury can often be lengthy and ongoing. In order to establish and prove your medical treatment is reasonable, necessary, and related to your incident, you may need multiple doctors to validate and confirm the extent of the injuries through visits, tests, or even surgeries. Each of these appointments may take weeks to schedule, and afterward additional time for your attorney to request and obtain your results. This can delay your case. However, from a legal standpoint, it is in your best interest not to act too soon and possibly underestimate the extent of your medical needs: past, present, and/or future.
We understand that recovering from an injury can be exhausting, and we are committed to helping you throughout the legal process so you can focus on getting well.
Medical providers can cause delays.
To properly evaluate a case, we need to obtain your records from your treating medical providers such as the hospital/emergency room, surgery center, or physical therapy/rehabilitation facility. Usually, medical providers respond in a reasonable amount of time. However, in some cases, it can take multiple attempts and several months to obtain your records. This can prolong our ability to move the case forward.
The client can cause delays.
Timely communication between you and your attorney is important for swift and successful case completion. Sometimes, clients inadvertently delay their cases by not responding promptly to emails, phone calls, or letters from their lawyer. Although some items can move forward without a client’s feedback, most require input to continue moving forward. We understand that your time is valuable and priorities can shift, but to resolve your case successfully and in an expedient manner, it is important to respond to our information requests as quickly as possible.
You can’t control how long your personal injury case will take, but you can control who you hire.
Although the duration of the claims process is largely out of your control, you have the power to select an attorney from one of the law firms in Washington State that has the skills and experience necessary to master the intricacies of personal injury law. Choosing the most qualified and experienced attorney can make all the difference in the outcome of your case. At Premier Law Group, we have a proven track record of successful case results due to our expert litigation skills, passion for justice, and compassionate commitment to our clients.