The timeframe for a case to settle depends upon the severity of your injuries, the available insurance coverage, the legal deadlines by which you must file suit (statutes of limitation or statutes of repose), and the ease with which I can prove that the other person was at fault, that is, liable for your injuries and damages.
Your physical recovery is the first element of a case that dictates speed to settlement. You have a duty under the law to undertake actions to get better as quickly as possible.
And like most attorneys, Brendan hates settling a case before his client has recuperated to “maximum medical improvement” (“MMI”), which is fancy lawyer talk for “you’re as good as you’re gonna get.”
The reason for this is simple. If you settle before you reach MMI, you can’t get any more money for medical treatment you receive after the date of settlement.
If you suffer a minor injury or a soft-tissue injury with no broken bones, no cuts, no scars, no surgery needed, then the hope is that you will recover quickly to MMI.
If you suffer a major injury or an injury with broken bones, cuts, scars, or surgery needed, then your physical recuperation will take longer. If it starts getting close to the statute of limitations, Brendan may seek help from a medical expert to give an opinion as to the timeframe during which you should reach MMI and the future expenses you’ll likely incur.
In either case, Brendan must order medical records from each of your injury-related medical providers. So if you’ve finished treating with one doctor, Brendan may request medical records from that medical provider. There is an exception, though. Let’s say that you receive treatment from an emergency room doctor at the University of New Mexico and then continue treating for one year with other doctors at the University of New Mexico, then Brendan may postpone ordering medical records until after you’ve completed treatment with each and every medical provider at the University.
Brendan postpones collecting the medical records in such a circumstance because most providers charge a fee for EACH request they receive from a patient’s lawyer.
So, get better fast … move toward settlement fast.
If recovery takes longer, settlement takes longer.
Now, the available insurance coverage may also influence the speed with which your case settles. If you suffer a terrible injury, the other driver is uninsured, and you carry only $25,000 in Uninsured / Underinsured Motorist coverage, then your case will settle fast assuming we can prove that the other person caused your injury and that a motor vehicle was in some way related to the injuring event.
But if you suffer debilitating injuries and there is significant insurance coverage available from the other driver’s Bodily Injury liability (“BI”) policy or your UM / UIM policy, then we may be in for a long haul. You want to recover as much money as legally possible for your economic damages, injuries, and noneconomic injuries. Your recovery will take some time. And insurance companies can get very stingy when they know they face a large exposure on a claim.
The statute of limitations or statute of repose may compel Brendan to file suit instead of trying to settle the claim immediately. Once we file a lawsuit, the insurance company’s attorneys sink their teeth into the case, they propound discovery, they may seek your deposition, and they may hire expert witnesses. The litigation process is slow, although it sometimes results in settlements when the facts of a case suddenly look much better for the injured person or much worse for the injured person.
Finally, the ease with which Brendan can prove liability has a huge role in the speed at which your claim will settle. If four unbiased witnesses all say that Sally Seashell T-boned you after she ran a red light then your case should settle more quickly, all other things being equal, than it would if there were no witnesses and Sally claims you caused the collision.
So… How long does a personal injury case take to settle?
So…When you’re mendin’, Get BRENDNN! Call us TODAY (505) 591-0808.