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How Long It Takes to Get an Injury Settlement Offer?

Published October 4, 2019 by Bruce Millar

This question gets lots of interest from people who call our office. Occasionally, the answer to this question has can lead some accident victims astray. The short answer is that settlement offers usually happen very soon after the accident. Whether the offer is viable and substantial enough to settle for is an entirely different matter. These things can take a long time when they are done correctly which can be unhappy news to worried people.

If you’ve been injured in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you may have other questions in addition to this one. You may be wondering whether or not settling early is a good idea. You may also be tempted to settle the claim quickly because you anticipate large medical bills. Perhaps you simply need your car fixed so you can go back and forth to work or school. All of these factors are important, but there are very good reasons to take your time before you settle.

In this article, we will point out some reasons that it’s very important to be sure you and your passengers are all well on the road to recovery before you even consider settlement. We will try to resolve other questions you have and give you solutions to the problems you face that DO NOT include taking the first settlement offer that comes your way.

How long before the insurance adjustor offers a settlement figure?

How can I pay the medical bills that are coming my way?

Do I have to wait until I’m fully recovered until I settle?

I can’t work and I have no money coming in – who will buy groceries?

I don’t know where to turn?

How long before the insurance adjustor offers a settlement figure?

We’ve seen cases when the insurance adjustor shows up at the hospital expecting to resolve an accident claim within hours of the accident – long before you’ve even been able to understand what’s happened to you or what it will mean for you and your future

You need to remember that the insurance company wants to settle your claim for the least amount of money possible. If they “strike while the iron is hot” and get to you before you’re fully aware of the damages, they can sometimes get by with settling for little or no money. They may offer to replace your car, and in the excitement of the moment, you may just accidentally say, “OK!”

The more serious your accident was, and the more injuries there are, the sooner you can expect to hear an initial offer. The insurance company, whose ultimate goal is to retain profits, not to take care of your needs, certainly wants to get to you before you ‘lawyer up.’ Once you’ve seen an attorney and better understand your rights, that understanding is sure to lead to you to expect more for your injuries. They desperately want to avoid that.

Whatever you do, do not sign any settlement agreement before you consult with an attorney.

How long before I have money to pay the medical bills that are coming my way?

When you suddenly see that you and your passengers are in need of medical attention – perhaps tests, surgeries, and other expensive treatments – it’s easy to panic. You are suddenly and undeniably trapped ‘under the circumstances.’ You will wonder if your own insurance will pay the hospital bills.  But try to take these crises one at a time.

Breathe.

As soon as you can, call a personal injury lawyer – even if you’re still in the hospital. (He’ll come to you if necessary.) The sooner you and your legal team get the wheels of justice turning in your favor, the sooner you can put the whole accident and its aftermath behind you.

The first order of business will be to get the paperwork gathering done. Your lawyer will need to do lots of groundwork before he can even begin to see what kind of settlement you need to cover all your damages. There will be accident reports, insurance policies, medical records, driving records, and other documents to gather. Each of these items will be important to get the bigger picture of your accident and more of the proof you’ll need to make your case.

If your accident was caused by someone who happened to be working at the moment of the wreck, the necessary documentation will include another layer of information. If your accident involves a tractor trailer and a professional driver, for example, there are additional and different documents necessary; log books, the truck’s black-box data, as well finding answers to more common questions like these:

  • Who insures the parent company and to what extent? 
  • Is the driver an employee or a contractor? 
  • Who trained the driver?
  • Was there a background check before the driver was hired?

Before your attorney can even imagine a settlement, these questions will have to be answered and the documentation in place. This can take 3 to 6 months.

Do I have to wait until I’m fully recovered until I settle?

Yes, you certainly should. It would be unwise to settle your claims until the total cost of the medical treatment for you and your passengers is known. You and your passengers should be fully recovered before you tally up the medical costs. 

Even when all the necessary testing and surgical procedures have been completed, there will be recovery time. The time it takes to regain your abilities is different from person to person and injury to injury. More importantly, there is always the chance of a setback or a complication that can change the medical costs radically and lead to other costs including lost wages and other expenses.

The healing and recovery process can add months or even years to the settlement process. If you’re the one who is waiting, this can seem like forever. Nevertheless, not capturing all the costs or taking the chance of not including all the medical care necessary is a far worse option because once you settle, there is no chance of going back to get extra money.

Once you and your passengers are out of the woods is the appropriate time for your lawyer to begin creating the settlement package.

I can’t work and I have no money coming in – who will buy groceries?

Of all the slippery slopes that make up an accident settlement, this one can be the most fearful. When you’re the one facing mounting monthly bills without a steady income, it can be awfully frightening. Fortunately, if you were wise enough to hire a solid law firm to help you, they will have a list of funding resources available to tide you over.

Hospitals and doctors are very good about accepting regular monthly payments. They don’t have to be large payments, just very regular. Understand that you are not going to jail if you can’t pay these bills right away.

Everyday living expenses can be more challenging. The local Piggly Wiggly probably doesn’t take payments on time. If you don’t have savings – and many people today do not – you may need to tap into a life insurance policy, for example, or think about other insurance coverage such as a temporary injury disability policy. (Insert talking duck here.) If you are disabled, it’s time to start the disability insurance ball rolling. If not, you may have to look to your family, your church, or, as a last resort, your Federal Government’s programs offering help with housing and groceries. 

In some cases, where the injuries are dire and the case is likely to drag on for months or years, there are companies that loan money to the victims against their final insurance settlement. Our point here is that there are assistance programs that can help while you wait for the ultimate settlement of your claim.

I don’t know where to turn?

Knowing that you may have to wait many months or even years before your settlement money comes can make settling quickly for less look like a good option.

Being overwhelmed by an accident and its associated burdens is not at all unusual. This happens in every case to some degree. You may feel as if you’re cornered by wolves. The pressure accident victims feel from money, more than anything, else can cause them to crumble. Very often it becomes nearly impossible to see the light at the end of the tunnel. We understand completely.

Please don’t lose sight of the fact that in order to win your case and recover completely from what you’ve lost, you’ll need to invest time in the process. As your mother probably told you – anything worth having takes time and effort. He may also have told you, “If you want it bad, you’ll get it bad.” Don’t go there.

The most important focus in an accident settlement has to be on getting everything you need to become ‘whole’ again. This means capturing every expense, and making sure you negotiate a full and fair settlement in the end. To settle for less means only that you went through the agonizing process for less than you deserve. 

Fortunately, having a team of legal professionals at your side will make a positive difference as the process unfolds can make all the difference. Your legal team handles these problems every day. You can count upon them to offer valuable advice and helpful suggestions along the way. Those victims who wait- with all the patience they can muster – are always glad they did.

Call the legal team at the Millar Law Firm for a free case evaluation today. 770-400-0000

 

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