One of the most frequently asked questions in a personal injury consultation is “How long will my lawsuit take to settle or go to trial?” When potential clients ask us this, we understand there is much more than curiosity about legal procedures behind this question. Car accident injuries affect people not just physically and emotionally, but financially. You want to put the accident behind you, and you want to recover as much money as possible. And more than likely, you need to recover as much money as possible.
We understand the stress you’re going through, because we’ve seen so many others experience the challenges of accidents, injuries, and waiting for a settlement.
The short answer to the “how long” question is that every case is different with unique circumstances.
Some cases can be resolved quickly, especially when liability is obvious, injuries are catastrophic, and insurance policy limits are low. This is never an ideal situation. When higher amounts of insurance are available, the insurance company is more likely to fight a claim, in the hopes of saving money. Although most cases do settle, if your case goes to trial, it could be delayed by the court calendar. Many civil court cases in 2020 were delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
How Our Miami Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help
You may be wondering whether you should “cut your losses” and accept a settlement for your injuries, or hire an attorney and take on the insurance company.
Ultimately, this is your decision to make, and it’s understandable that immediate financial need, and the length of time to settle a case must be considered. However, decisions to take an early settlement offer should be made carefully.
Many people feel like they do not have the energy to take on a lawsuit, or seriously doubt their case is worth much. They may have concerns about mitigating factors such as speeding, or preexisting conditions, previous injuries, or vulnerabilities.
If you are questioning what you should do, take the time to speak with Miami personal injury lawyer Boris Lavent at Lavent Law, P.A.
Your case may be worth far more than you expect, and your lawyer will do almost all of the work while you focus on resting and recovering. There is no risk in taking the time to talk to a lawyer and discuss your rights. We offer a free consultation, so call our law office in Miami today.
What If You Already Have a Settlement Offer?
You may think you’re already at the negotiation table if the insurance company has given you an offer for your car accident injuries. However, an initial offer from the insurance company does not mean much, because it is usually a very low offer made in the hopes you will take it, and the claim can go away.
It is very common for an insurance company to offer a quick settlement following an accident. If you report the accident to the insurance company, the adjuster may immediately say they accept responsibility, and either put you on a brief hold, or call you back shortly with an offer.
A few thousand dollars right after an accident may solve a problem today, but may leave you with far greater financial problems down the road.
If you are considering accepting a quick settlement offer from an insurance company, consider the following:
- Insurance companies offer settlements right after a crash because many people are desperate enough to take them.
- In order for an offer to fairly pay out a claim, the insurance company needs to know how much it costs to treat your injuries, and how much time your injuries will keep you away from work (or job searching).
- A quick settlement makes a claim go away quickly for the insurance company, saving the company thousands of dollars down the road.
- Once you settle your personal injury claim, you forfeit all rights to recover more compensation later. You must consider what will happen if your injuries worsen in the next few weeks or months, and you are unable to walk or go to work?
Before you accept any insurance settlement offer, you should talk to an experienced lawyer. An attorney who has many years of experience settling auto accident claims in Florida will be able to review your accident, the extent of your injuries, and the at-fault party’s liability to determine if an offer is in the realm of fairness.
Understanding What Must Happen Before You Have a Fair Car Accident Settlement Offer
Factor #1: Medical Treatment Completion
The term “maximum medical improvement” is the point in your treatment where you have recovered as much as you’re going to, or when further improvement is no longer possible, even with surgery, rehabilitation, therapy, and other treatments.
Another way of thinking of MMI is a treatment plateau. You must reach this point before requesting compensation. This can take weeks or months. For example, with a severe trimalleolar ankle fracture requiring surgery, it can take up to a year to determine if you will regain full range of motion in your ankle.
Injuries that are residual or permanent, such as traumatic brain injuries, back injuries, spinal cord injuries, burn injuries and other injuries that cause scars and disfigurement, can take a long time to stabilize. Some people need additional surgeries as their wounds heal, or cosmetic surgeries to cover intense scarring.
When injuries are permanent, you may be compensated for the permanent effects of your injury. Because you are arguing that you need compensation for the rest of your life, the potential compensation can be sizable. Your medical record is a critical element in recovering fair compensation.
Factor #2: Collecting Medical Records and Bills
In order to demand compensation for all of your medical bills, it is necessary to have medical records and bills, and estimates of future medical care needed. Gathering medical records and bills, and calculating treatment plans can be a lengthy process. People are largely at the mercy of health care providers and billing agencies.
Once you’ve reached maximum medical improvement and your attorney has requested copies of all your medical records, it can take several weeks to several months to gather everything and put together your demand package.
Factor #3: Getting a Response to Personal Injury Demand Package
A demand package is the request sent to the insurance company documenting your injuries, your medical expenses, and wage loss. This will include a plain English outline of the facts of your case, and will be an initial starting point for negotiations.
A demand package can be hundreds or even thousands of pages. The insurance company may request a longer examination period before they respond. The insurance company may also require additional information before they respond, which can take additional time.
It is possible to write a demand letter to an insurance company without a lawyer. However, an attorney who has handled many other cases similar to yours will know how to create the timeline of events, present evidence, and calculate damages. Your lawyer may also be able to identify other liable parties that you may not have considered and should be investigated.
For example, if you were injured in a car accident, you may assume that another driver was at fault. But if the driver lost control due to negligent maintenance at a local chain repair shop, the mechanic may be liable for your injuries.
The demand letter will offer a summary of your accident, so that any uninvolved observer reading the letter can follow what happened, how you were hurt, and how your injuries will affect you and your loved ones going forward. It will also state that if a fair agreement is not reached, you will promptly file a lawsuit.
In some cases, a lawsuit will be filed quickly, if the statute of limitations is looming.
Avoiding Common Mistakes in Miami Car Accident Claims
Making a mistake in your insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit can mean the insurance company will dispute your claim or injuries, and may even suggest you are acting fraudulently. This can lead to more delays in your case, and shift the burden on you to prove you were the victim.
Some of the critical mistakes people make following a Miami car accident include:
- Waiting too long to get medical attention
- Throwing away or deleting evidence
- Skipping or rescheduling doctor appointments
- Not following doctor’s orders, such as returning to work earlier than your doctor recommends
- Making statements to insurance companies about their injuries (especially in a recorded statement)
- Posting on social media after an accident (which can be taken out of context to imply they are not as injured as they claim).
One of the biggest mistakes you can take is to accept the first settlement check the insurance company offers you. Hiring a lawyer can mean you take actions to increase the value of your claim, not decrease. At Lavent Law, P.A., if you hire us, a Miami personal injury lawyer will give you guidance to avoid innocent missteps while we fight for fair compensation.
Consult a Miami Car Accident Lawyer Today
We have recovered millions of dollars for our clients – our case results and client reviews are a testament to our skills, service, and resources. If you have a question or need help, we are here 24/7 to take your call. As part of our no-fee guarantee, we will not charge any legal fees unless we recover money for you.
Contact us at (305) 440-0450 to discuss your case with a Miami car accident lawyer. If you already have an offer, we will review it. If your insurance company hasn’t given you an offer, we will discuss your rights and options to recover the maximum compensation allowable and available.