The personal injury claims process takes time. It’s not uncommon for personal injury cases in California to take over a year before they are resolved. It can be stressful and frustrating when you have to wait this long for your case to settle, especially when you need financial compensation to cover medical bills, lost wages, and other damages.
While no two personal injury clients are exactly alike, many injured victims want their claims to be resolved as quickly as possible. While the timeline for a personal injury claim can vary widely depending on the facts and circumstances, there are strategies for speeding up the personal injury claim process to get the money you are owed more quickly. However, it’s important to note that a fast resolution isn’t always the best option and sometimes it’s best to wait so that you can secure the evidence you need to obtain the maximum compensation available in your situation. An experienced personal injury lawyer can advise you on the potential timeline involved in your claim and whether a settlement offer is acceptable or if you would be better off waiting.
If you have suffered an injury in an accident in Los Angeles, contact the personal injury attorneys at Custodio & Dubey LLP right away. We can help you get your life back on track and fight for the compensation you deserve. Call now for a free initial consultation.
How Can I Help My Attorney During the Process?
Taking the following steps can help your attorney during the personal injury claims process:
Seek Prompt Medical Care
Delaying medical care following your accident gives the insurance company the opportunity to deny or minimize your claim. Getting prompt medical care is vital if you want to speed up your claim. Visit a doctor or hospital right after the accident. Be sure to get copies of your medical records and provide them to your attorney. Do not sign authorizations for the insurance company to obtain your medical records themselves, since this is often a ploy to try to deny your claim based on some pre-existing condition.
Being prepared with evidence can also help speed up the personal injury claims process. Collect as much evidence associated with the accident and your injuries as you can. The more evidence you have, the easier it will be to provide the insurance company with the documentation it requests. Obtaining copies of your police report and your medical bills and records ahead of time can make the claims process go much smoother.
Get Insurance Information
Have a copy of your insurance policy at hand. If you are filing a claim with another party’s insurer, get a copy of their policy. Your attorney can review these documents and help you understand the insurance policy’s terms, which can help you avoid complications like filing a claim for a type of coverage that is not available. Understanding your health and car insurance policies can help you and your attorney reduce the negotiating time with the insurance company.
Pinpoint Your Goals
Identify what it is you want from your injury claim. Although you may want the process to end as quickly as possible, a swift settlement may not be best for you. Typically, the first settlement offered by an insurance adjuster is far less than what you deserve for your injuries and other losses.
Which Evidence Will Help Me Speed Up the Process?
An experienced Los Angeles personal injury lawyer will likely launch an immediate investigation into the accident. Although your lawyer will seek out this evidence during an investigation, you can help speed up the process by bringing the following when you meet with them during your free initial consultation:
- Police Report – Having a record of the accident will help your attorney learn the facts and process your personal injury claim faster.
- Pictures – Give your lawyer photos of the accident scene, your injuries, and anything else that could be beneficial to your claim.
- Written Summary of Facts – Your personal account is helpful. A lawyer will ask about your experience during the consultation. Having a written summary of the facts saves them time.
- Medical Bills and Records – Bringing your medical bills will help your lawyer estimate the value of your claim. This will also cut down the time it will take the lawyer to gather all your medical bills and records. Many personal injury attorneys will recommend waiting until you reach maximum medical improvement before settling your claim in order to maximize your potential settlement. You may accumulate many medical bills and records during this time.
How Can My Attorney Influence the Negotiation and Litigation Process?
Negotiations can be complex and challenging. Having an experienced Los Angeles personal injury attorney represent you can give you advantages that help you recover a full and fair settlement. By using a lawyer, you can benefit from their knowledge, skills, and resources, which can help you reach your negotiation goals.
If you have never been involved in a settlement before, you might be tempted to accept the first offer that comes from the insurance company. Personal injury lawyers understand that the initial offer in any settlement will almost always be too low. They will know to hold out for more compensation. Working with a skilled lawyer throughout settlement negotiations helps increase the odds that you will receive a fair personal injury case settlement.
Sometimes an acceptable settlement cannot be obtained through negotiations. The insurance company may not see the value of the claim as your attorney does, or they may think you will settle for less. When the insurance company does not make an acceptable offer through negotiations alone, your lawyer may have to initiate litigation.
If your lawyer files a lawsuit, this does not always mean the case will go to trial. The vast majority of claims are still settled before trial. Thus, litigation can be a step in the negotiation process. An attorney generally will not want to file a lawsuit if they can settle the claim without litigation. However, if the insurance company refuses to offer the maximum compensation, trying the case in court may be the only option to fight for the compensation you are owed.
When to Consider a Case Settlement
There are several key reasons why you should consider a case settlement. For one, settlements are faster than trials. A settlement might take six months to finish, whereas a trial generally takes at least twice as long. You might need the funds to pay off medical bills or other bills that mounted while you were recovering.
Settlements are generally more efficient, less expensive, and less stressful than a trial. It may be better for your health to accept a fair offer and avoid the stress of a prolonged legal battle.
You and your lawyer may accept or deny any offer, and you can negotiate for a better settlement. If your case goes to trial, you must accept what the judge or jury awards.
Your personal injury lawyer can recommend when you should consider accepting a settlement, based on your particular needs and the circumstances surrounding your claim.
What Can Make a Case Take Longer to Settle?
There are a number of factors that affect the length of the settlement process. Here are three common factors:
- Amount of Compensation – Your settlement may be delayed because your personal injury case involves a lot of money. Insurance companies will investigate and analyze every detail of the liability and damages involved in the case, especially when large awards are potentially at stake. Sometimes insurance companies will keep delaying the settlement in hopes that the plaintiff will give up and accept less than the full amount they deserve.
- Legal Problems – In some cases, there may be legal issues, such as multiple parties involved. The insurance company may try to deny liability, potentially forcing your lawyer to have to sue to seek the compensation you deserve.
- Maximum Medical Improvement – Your case may be taking more time to settle because you are still in treatment for the injuries you sustained from the accident. It is best to reach a point of maximum medical improvement because it is usually hard to assess the value of a claim without knowing if you will fully recover. Waiting to know the maximum medical improvement will lead to a more accurate valuation of your claim.
Hire an Experienced Lawyer
An experienced Los Angeles personal injury attorney can help speed up every aspect of your claim, from investigation to negotiations. With an attorney in your corner, the insurance company will likely take the claim more seriously. A skilled lawyer knows what your claim is worth and will be able to support this with evidence. If your attorney sees that negotiations will not bring about a full and fair settlement, they will be able to identify this and move toward litigation.
Your lawyer will also be able to speed things up during the litigation process. Experienced personal injury lawyers understand how to obtain the necessary evidence through the discovery process. They also know how to present your case in the most effective manner possible.
Contact Custodio & Dubey LLP for Help with Your Personal Injury Case
If you have sustained an injury in an accident caused by someone else, the Los Angeles personal injury attorneys at Custodio & Dubey LLP are ready to assist you with every aspect of your claim. We will demand fair payment for your medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and other losses. Our aim is to achieve the maximum settlement you need and deserve.
With decades of legal experience, our highly skilled Los Angeles personal injury attorneys have recovered over $25 million for people just like you who were injured in accidents caused by others’ negligence. You don’t have to face the insurance company alone. Allow us to fight for your best interests. Call Custodio & Dubey LLP now for a free, no-obligation consultation or contact us online. Our bilingual attorneys and staff speak English and Spanish and are ready to help.