How Long Will My Personal Injury Claim Take to Settle?

Calendar Conveying TimeAs an Indianapolis personal injury lawyer, there's no question we receive more than "How long do you think it will take to settle my case?" And the quick answer to that question depends on whether or not you want to take the low-ball quick settlement from the insurance company, or if you're willing to hire a law firm to ensure your case is handled professionally.

First, we'll look at the major differences between the quick settlement and the professional settlement, their disadvantages, and advantages, and then we'll discuss the time involved if you choose to have your case handled by our personal injury law firm.

The Quick Personal Injury Settlement Is Always in the Insurance Company's Best Interest

Insurance companies are notorious for rushing injured people to settle their claims, and the reason they want you to settle quickly is that they know a "quick settlement" is almost always to their advantage. This is especially true for injured people who have suffered soft-tissue injuries that involve things such as nerve damage or neck and back pain. These injury types are often subjective and highly unpredictable, meaning they can have lingering effects and a doctor may require you to complete months of physical therapy before they adequately resolve the problem.

If you settle your car accident claim with the insurance company before a doctor declares you 100 percent, there's a strong possibility that some of your problems may return and require additional treatment. In this instance, assuming you signed a release with the insurance company, you'll be responsible for all the costs associated with any future treatment and therapy of the injuries you sustained in the car accident.

Quick settlements can also negatively affect a person with traumatic injuries, including broken bones, surgeries, long-term care, etc. In accident types such as these, it's possible that you may be entitled to what is known as "policy limits," or the maximum amount available on the insurance policy. However, it's also possible that more than one policy exists. If you or a family member decides to take the quick settlement without having a law firm first investigate on your behalf, there is the chance that you are leaving hundreds of thousands of dollars on the table.

The Professional Personal Injury Settlement Gives You the Advantage

Hiring a personal injury firm does not speed up the process of your personal injury claim. In fact, it can take a longer period of time for you to receive your money, but there's a reason for that.

Once the insurance company is aware that you have hired an attorney, their tactics will change. Instead of rushing to settle your claim with us, they will drag their feet hoping you become frustrated. The reason they do this is that they know that you're likely going to receive more money for your claim by hiring a lawyer.

Fortunately for you, the personal injury lawyers at Keller & Keller have been working against the insurance company's tactics since 1936. We know how to handle their ineffective strategies to ensure you receive the settlement you deserve and get the treatment you deserve.

Once you hire us, the amount of time it takes us to settle your injury claim will depend on the following:

  1. When the doctor releases you from treatment, or you have reached a maximum level of physical recovery. If anyone tells you that your personal injury claim should settle in "X" amount of days, be very suspicious. The fact is that no one can predict how long you will be in treatment for your injuries, or what medical conditions may arise that weren't immediately apparent. Your treatment is the most important factor for you and the value of your case, it's also the longest lag time in your case. It's something that cannot be hurried, nor should it be. (With regard to treatment, many clients will ask if they should go to specific doctors, or have specific treatments. Again, we always refer to your primary care doctor for answers to these types of questions.)
  2. The time it takes your paralegal to collect all of your medical records and bills. We work to maximize your settlement, and if your case is going to receive a top dollar offer, we MUST have a complete set of your medical records and bills. Car accident claims are fought and settled based on the evidence contained in your medical records. How long it takes to receive your records often depends on the speed in which the various providers and billing agencies respond to our requests. Gathering official records takes time, so this is yet another big factor that can affect the amount time it will take to settle your case.
  3. Waiting for the insurance company to respond to Keller & Keller's demand package. The demand package is the final step to resolving your claim—it includes all of your medical records, bills, and a demand letter written by your lawyer that clearly and expertly outlines your entire case. There is a large amount of information in a demand package, sometimes thousands of pages, so it's possible the insurance companies will require several weeks to examine our demand package. We closely monitor the time the insurance company has your demand, but depending on the complexity of the claim, it may require a longer period of examination as well as additional correspondence between Keller & Keller and the insurance company.

Once the claim is settled, we work as quickly as possible to make the insurance company issue a check and release for total payment. Insurance companies may sometimes stall in releasing the funds, so it's important to know that we maintain regular contact with them to request timeline updates.

Remember, every case is different, and it's never recommended that you judge the potential time your case may take to settle by comparing it to someone else's case. No law firm can guarantee a settlement date, but Keller & Keller's Indianapolis personal injury attorneys are extremely skilled at shortening this process by as much time as possible.

James R. Keller
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Partner at Keller & Keller