In a personal injury case, determining a proper settlement amount is as much art as it is a science. The science part includes medical bills, the cost of damage done to a vehicle, lost wages, lost ability to earn, lost future income, and other tangible factors. The art component is assigning a value to pain and suffering. What is the value of what the person has undergone, or the value of what your loved one had to endure? Combining the two is how a personal injury lawyer puts together a total value for a case.
In this regard, a personal injury lawyers are in a better position to calculate all of the past and future losses that someone incurred. They can conduct research to determine what jury verdicts look like for a particular set of injuries for an individual to help the person understand the true value of their case, which allows the injured party to take the necessary time to recover from the injuries they have sustained.
Some accidents are settled relatively quickly; sometimes, within a week because the injuries and the liability are so substantial. However, the potential insurance to compensate somebody is very small. Sometimes, it can take months, and even years to identify the actual damages. Depending on the case specifically, it could take anywhere from weeks, to months, and sometimes even years for a person who is injured in an accident to receive their settlement.
With that said, personal injury attorneys are very good at determining legal causation. When insurance carriers recognize that a lawyer is on the case, they assign additional value to it, recognizing that lawyers are able to better calculate damages and are also better at determining the value. Usually, insurance companies settle with lawyers for appropriate value sooner rather than later.
Issues that determine the length of time in settlement negotiation include the extent of the injuries, determination of liability, future injuries, the length of time it takes for someone to reach their maximum medical improvement, and the time necessary to establish someone’s medical damages and their injuries. In addition, time is needed to determine the current financial losses for lost wages as well as lost future earnings because the person is now incapable of earning a living going forward. Calculating the value of those things may play a role in how long a case takes to settle.
One of the issues that may prolong the settlement process is that the liability is not clear. The insurance company slows down the process to conduct their internal investigation to determine whether they should be paying on a particular claim. Other issues include the length of necessary medical treatment and the willingness of the client to settle a claim.
The most important steps for an injured person to take to ensure that their case is not prolonged for years is to follow the advice of their personal injury lawyer, make sure that they maintain good records, and follow their doctor’s orders for treatment. Most people’s cases are extended for a long period of time because they are not following their lawyers’ advice and are not managing their medical treatment by following their doctors’ instructions.