Frequently Asked Questions - How Long Will my Personal Injury Claim Take to Settle?
Personal injury claims are some of the most unpredictable claims out there as far as time frames are concerned. That being said in most states a personal injury claim has what is called a statue of limitation. Basically what this means is the claim has to be brought against another person within the time allotted. The statue of limitation in Florida for a typical personal injury claim is four years from the date the incident occurred. However, that does not mean that the case can only be settled within those four years.
At the start of your personal injury claim the most important thing to do is seek medical care for the injuries you have suffered. If you are hurt by a negligent party, you should receive care as soon as possible for the injuries you have suffered to really benefit your personal injury case. Prompt medical treatment demonstrates that your pain is significant enough to seek immediate medical care and proves to the insurance company that you’re not “faking” any injuries.
The most important part of a personal injury case is the medical care you receive. The nature and length of your medical treatment typically influence the amount of time your case takes to settle. For example, if a client is in a minor accident and receives only limited short-term medical care at an urgent care center and perhaps a chiropractor’s office, your attorney could then proceed with settlement negotiations on your behalf. In this instance the case could resolve quickly due to the limited medical care. In the unfortunate instance that your injuries are more severe and your treatment becomes ongoing, your claim could very well take longer to resolve.
Additionally, the type of personal injury claim you pursue can also determine the time it will take to settle your case. If you are involved in an automobile collision or slip and fall at a grocery store, these two types of personal injury claims have a similar execution process but both can drastically vary in time frames as well. In the event of an automobile collision the insurance company would first and foremost establish liability for the incident. Depending on the details of the incident this can be a quick and painless process or a more drawn out and intricate process. From there you would seek the necessary medical care required. As mentioned before, your medical care for these types of claims is the most important part of the claim. Bear in mind that whether or not you hire an attorney the claim will likely not proceed to settlement negotiations until you have fully finished with your required medical treatment.
For this reason we explained that the medical care required could make a case take longer to settle than one with minor medical care or injuries. The good thing about automobile collisions is that they typically tend to be a bit more straight forward with liability determinations. That is not always the case and there are instances that result in partial liability which will ultimately change the settlement outcome of the case. Your automobile claim will always be worked through a claim directly with the insurance company. One thing to note is that if the case ends up being a long process that requires extensive treatment it may not be resolvable directly with the insurance company. If your attorney or you cannot come to a settlement agreement with the insurance company the option then would be to file a lawsuit against the insurance company of the person at fault for the incident.
Filing a lawsuit would only be considered if all efforts to resolve the automobile claim directly with the insurance company fail. This could be due to settlement offers that are deemed insufficient for the damages you have suffered as a result of the collision. The important thing to understand is that if this occurs you must file a lawsuit before the four year statue of limitation comes around that your case holds. If the law suit is not filed before the 4 year statue of limitation it will have to be resolved with the insurance company directly within that time frame allotted.
The statue of limitation varies from state to state so be sure to remember that in Florida it is four years. In another state it could be different. The purpose of the statue is to be in a sense as fair as possible. It gives the plaintiff enough time to pursue a claim for compensation for damages such as lost wages, injuries and pain and suffering. It also gives the defendant a time frame so that they don’t have to be concerned with a civil matter that could last years and years with no foreseeable resolution in sight.
In the event that you are involved in a slip and fall incident the process tends to be a bit more drawn out than an automobile collision, the main reason being due to liability. When falling on the premise of lets say a shopping plaza or a grocery store the one thing that needs to be proven is weather whatever caused you to fall had either 1. been there long enough to where someone should have noticed it and attended to it or 2. someone was aware of the situation and did not take the necessary actions to rectify the situation.
For examples if you slip and fall on a puddle of water leaking from a freezer in the frozen food section, you or your attorney would have to prove without a doubt that the grocery store either knew about the water leaking and did not do anything to prevent someone from injuring themselves or that the water had been leaking long enough to where they should have noticed and taken precautionary measures. For obvious reason this ends up being much more extensive of a process as proving clear liability on these cases is often difficult.
In a similar way however the claim would still attempt to be resolved directly with the insurance company of the negligent party. However, if the case can not be resolved a lawsuit will have to then be filed against the negligent party much in the same way it would be filed in an automobile collision. Once a law suit is filed the statue of limitation is no longer taken into consideration. In these instances the time frames are not something that can be determined. Rest assured that if you hire a Trial Pro attorney they will do all that they can to make sure your case is handled appropriately. Just bear in mind that these things can take a few months or a few years to resolve. It all depends on the severity of the injuries, the incident itself and the willingness or fairness of the insurance company to resolve the claim for a reasonable amount.
We at Trial Pro understand that nobody wants the hassle of a drawn out, stressful lawsuit on their hands. For this reason we always recommend you consult with one of our experienced civil attorneys that can guide you and explain in depth the process that is to be expected in the unfortunate event that you are involved in an incident that results in personal injury. When in doubt call Trial Pro!