I was in a hit and run accident a year and 2 months ago. The police caught up with driver and was arrested. I filed a lawsuit in May of 2013. My Lawyer is yet to finish settling case. He says they are waiting on Insurance to make an offer. Does this process usually take this long to complete?
Sorry you've been introduced to our accident-injury legal system in this way!
But the short answer to your question is: Yes, the process can, and often does, take this long to reach a settlement after a suit has been filed - or within a year & 2 months of the accident.
So many different factors can make a big difference with each case, including:
- Is liability (fault) being disputed by the other driver?
- How serious are the injuries? Are you still in treatment? All better after just a few months of treatment?
- Is your attorney doing his/her "due diligence" to make sure your claim is being pursued, with appropriate steps (doing investigation, taking depositions, filing motions, etc.) taken?
- Also - it can also make a big difference how agreeable or disagreeable the insurance adjuster and/or insurance attorney are in cooperating with your attorney, and in what sum(s) he/she/they are willing to offer, and when they offer it. This last item is often what determines if your case is going to take long or not, assuming it's not your attorney letting your file "gather dust," as we say. ;-)
The best way to get your question(s) answered, considering the above, is to ask your attorney to sit with you, and your file, and to walk you through what's been done (not in any great detail) to explain so you understand where you've been, then explain next steps, and then ask about whether any deadlines or court date has been set. If not, don't panic - that's not uncommon (especially in "young" cases, like yours). Ideally, your attorney will appreciate that you are interested to know (without overdoing it, and becoming a pest. Don't call every other day, please!). And you can feel educated and empowered! ;-)
I hope this helped!
You do not say whether or not you are still treating and if you are even able to accurately predict the future course of any problems or limitations that the injuries may cause. If your condition is uncertain, the attorney should not even be trying to settle the case yet. This is not unusual, just make sure that if the case doesn't settle that a lawsuit is timely filed.
As mentioned above, there is no set time-frame from accident to settlement. There could be any number of reasons for a delayed settlement, including your treatment, further discovery, difference in evaluations. You can always request a status update from your attorney on settlement negotiations and process, a client has the right to be fully informed. However, typically it is best to let the attorney work with the insurance company to reach resolution.
The amount of time it takes to settle your case is typically based on the amount and length of your treatment; although there are many factors that prolong the settlement phase. 14 months is not an abnormal amount of time. It seems very likely that your attorney could be waiting for an offer (assuming he/she sent in a demand for you).
As answered by several others, it is quite possible the process could take this long, and maybe longer. I also believe you should have a sit down/face to face meeting with your attorney to discuss what has been happening and what the strategy is for the future. Your attorney is surely doing the best for you but you should be informed. Good luck!
Your attorney may be gathering information like additional or prior medical records, impact statements, or updated bills from your healthcare providers. Often times, we send the insurance company what we think is a complete demand package only to find out that the insurance company needs more information.
If you're this concerned, simply ask your attorney. He or she should be able to give you a status update on your case. If the answer is vague, ambiguous, or you receive no answer at all, it may be time to consider whether you have the right person handling your case. I would start by requesting a meeting with your attorney to address your timing concerns.
There are many types of personal injuries for which financial damages can be awarded, including physical, emotional, and psychological injuries.
If you're faced with a dispute that can't be resolved by negotiation, a lawsuit may be necessary. It will allow you to seek a legally binding solution in court.
Written by attorney Erin Ann Levine
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