One Of Hawaii's Top Auto Accident
Worked for U.S. Air Force JAG
Millions obtained for our Clients' Car Accident Injuries
How Long Does It Take To Settle An Injury Case?
This is one of the questions that we’re frequently asked. It’s understandable. If you’ve been injured in a car accident in Hawaii, no doubt you’ll want to know how long you’ll have to wait until you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Below is the timeline of an injury claim. As you’ll see, many of the timeframes are rough estimates. This is because many parts of the process are not within our control. The one thing that we can assure our clients is that we will always do everything we can to move cases along as quickly as possible. Remember, we are not paid for our work on your case until we get you a settlement for your injuries. Therefore, we have every motivation to move our clients’ cases along as fast as possible. Of course, we will also do everything we can to get you the maximum settlement amount as well.
The first thing to keep in mind is that the settlement will be based primarily on the severity of your injuries. Generally, the more treatment you receive, the higher the settlement will be. The more medical bills you have, the more you’re entitled to. As such, it is not wise to settle your claim until you have completed your treatment. The only way to ensure that the settlement includes all your injuries and medical bills is to wait until you’ve completed all of your treatment. It’s tempting to settle your case early, but quite often the clients who decide to settle early end up regretting it.
The greatest factor in determining how long it takes to settle an injury case is how long you receive your treatment. Because we don’t recommend settling until you’ve completed your treatment, we must wait to begin the settlement process until you’re completed your treatment. Some clients receive treatment for a couple of weeks, others a couple of months, and others a couple of years, or more. It all depends completely on how much treatment you need and how long it takes to recover. This is why some cases may take a few months to settle, and others may take a few years.
Once you’ve completed your treatment, we can order all of your medical records and bills. The medical records and bills are the evidence in an injury claim. An adjustor cannot evaluate your claim without them. We will order them as soon as we know that you’ve completed your treatment, but it will be up to your medical providers how quickly they send them. Some will send them right away, within a week. Others will take two or three weeks. Unfortunately, some medical providers will be very difficult, and won’t send them until we call and follow up many times. Hopefully, even with slow medical providers, we have them all within a month.
Once we have all of the records and bills, then we will quickly organize and summarize them and send them to the insurance adjuster. We usually drop everything we’re doing and get this done within a day or two. We understand that the process can take very long, so we will always do everything we can to move the cases along.
The adjuster will then have one month to review all the medical records and bills we send them. Yes, it can be frustrating that it takes this long. Keep in mind that adjustors have many many claims that they’re responsible for. The medical records for most claims are at least a few hundred pages long and some are closer to a thousand pages long. The adjustors are expected to go through every single page so that they know exactly what your medical providers have documented about your injuries. If the providers mention that you had a prior injury to that same area, then the adjustor is expected to know about it. As mentioned above, the settlement value is based on the severity of your injuries. Therefore, the adjustors need to know exactly what your injuries are and how serious they are.
Once the adjustor has reviewed everything; they’ll make their initial settlement offer. Their first offer will never be their maximum offer. As a general rule, I tell most clients that the first offer is about 30% below their final offer. Of course, this will be different for every adjustor. This last phase of the process is the negotiation phase. This is when we negotiate back and forth to try to get the adjustor to raise her offer to her final offer. If we immediately responded each time an adjustor made an offer, the adjustor would think that we were desperate the settle. You never want to appear desperate in a negotiation or the adjustor won’t budge. The length of time of negotiation process usually takes a couple of months. This is the time period that we leave up to the client. If the client is eager to settle, even though it will be less than their maximum offer, then we can get it settled within a couple of weeks. If the clients want us to negotiate for as long as possible until we get the adjustor up to their final offer, then that could take a few months.
In summary, it usually takes about two to four months to settle a claim once the client has completed all of their treatment.
THE LAW OFFICES OF DAVID W. BARLOW
Honolulu, HI 96813
Big Island Office