Skip to main content

How long does it take to settle an auto accident claim by self? How long will it take if handled by a lawyer?

Orlando, FL |

Two months ago in an accident. Other driver 100% responsible and with Progressive with $100k PI. My MRIs show 6 herniated discs (lumbar and cervical) and nerve impingement and /encroachment. Visited ER visit and did 6 weeks therapy. Schedule to see a neurosurgeon and/or orthopedic surgeon. What is my case worth and how long will it take to settle if by self? How long if an Attoney is involved? Is it necessary to hire an attorney?

Attorney Answers 16

  1. Your injuries seem very serious. I would encourage you to hire local counsel. Settlements take time. An attorney would help expedite the process. Best of luck.

    This answer is provided by California Accident Attorney Manuel A. Juarez, Esq., 510-206-4492. Abogado de Accidentes de Autos de California: 510-206-4492. Abogado de Lesiones de Accidentes de Autos, provides answers of a general context. These answers are not intended to form an attorney client relationship. Oakland Abogado Accidentes Autos, Abogado de Lesiones Personales, Abogado de Accidentes de carros, Abogado de accidentes de Peatones, practices in Antioch, Berkeley, Concord, Oakland, Hayward, Martinez, Newark, Richmond, San Francisco and San Rafael. El abogado de lesiones y heridos en accidentes de autos, is licensed only in California. This information is good only in California and it is not to be taken as legal advice on car accidents, personal injury, divorce, bankruptcy or in any other type of situation. Esta respuesta es del Abogado de Accidentes de Autos, Abogado de Lesiones Personales, Abogado de Heridos en Accidentes de carros, Manuel A. Juárez, 510-206-4492. Abogado Hispano de Accidentes, Abogado de Divorcios, Abogado Latino de Accidentes, Abogado de Accidentes de Oakland, Hayward, San Francisco, California. Estas respuesta son solo para información general y no consisten en consejo legal sobre divorcios, mantención de esposas, mantención de hijos o bancarrotas. Las respuestas son comentarios legales que no forman una relación de abogado y cliente. Manuel Juarez, Esq., esta licenciado solo en el Estado de California.

  2. Cases can be settled very quickly if handled without an attorney, however they are very rarely maximized in value. That is the most important thing an experienced Personal Injury attorney can do for you. Every case has different factual and legal issues. The insurance company will try to minimize the value of your case every chance they get. Your case sounds great based on the information provided, however I would highly recommed you consult with an attorney ASAP. Feel free to contact my office and I will be more than happy to discuss everything in more detail with you. We are capable of handling matters in your area.

  3. It could take years if you want the entire policy amount. You shoudl definitely hire a lawyer as studies have shown the recovery with lawyers is 2-3X higher. Your case is worth either what they will pay and what you accept OR what a jury ssays is is worth. An experience lawyer will maximize your recovery. Would you sell your own house?
    The reason insurance companies are every other TV ad is that they collect premiums, they do not focus on making payments - exactly the opposite. Do not count on the insurance companies on being fair. If they actually were, we would be out of a job.

  4. There are countless studies which indicate that unrepresented parties receive offers that are substantially less (often 60% less) than those represented by legal counsel. Keep in mind, the insurance carriers are well aware of the fact that an unrepresented party can make all the threats he/she wants but has little means to carry through on such.

    Further, the insurance carriers keep detailed information on which attorneys litigate and their counterparts who tend to settle for pennies on the dollar. When selecting at attorney for your case it is essential you thoroughly research the lawyer/law firm and learn of their reputation within the community and whether they have received recognition from their peers for results.

    Keep in mind that it is difficult to determine the value of your case just off the limited information provided. Please consult with a licensed Florida injury law attorney. I would be happy to provide more information upon request.

    Best of luck,

    Matthew A. Dolman

    This advice should not be construed as forming an attorney-client relationship. Please contact a licensed attorney in your jurisdiction for a consultation and evaluation of your potential claim. Matthew Dolman was selected a 2013 Florida Superlawyer by Thompson Reuters. He can be contacted at (727)451-6900

  5. Although it is not necessary to hire an attorney, I believe it would be beneficial to do so in your case. If you choose not to, be careful what you say to the adjuster or insurance company. They will use everything and anything against you including previous unrelated injuries, if applicable. As other attorneys have pointed out, studies show that individuals with counsel general get better results/ settlements in their case. Most firms provided a free consultation regarding automobile accidents. For that reason, I would speak to a number of law offices to find the best option for you. Lastly, be advised that there is no set contingency fee in the State of Florida, it is negotiable. Considering your serious injuries, an attorney will likely lower the rate for their services in your best interest. If you have any further question feel free to contact our office at your convenience. Best of Luck!

    Calvin Robinson, Esq.

  6. Without an attorney, you'd get a tiny fraction of the true value.

  7. The old adage is true in this case--a person who represents themselves has a fool for an attorney. That goes for attorney's who rep themselves too. With serious disc injuries you may discover you need surgery. The $100K policy might not seem enormous once the medical bills come in from a hospital or surgeon etc.. An attorney can assist in a couple of ways. First, a surgical recommendation from a ortho/neuro surgeon and a strong demand letter by the attorney may pry loose the policy. Then if you do need surgery you can possibly seek health insurance to pay health if ins co. pays your pre- existing. Or If the demand is not met and you choose surgery and the policy is not tendered you may discover that a jury awards you i excess of the policy limits and you may have a bad faith claim against the ins. co. If this sounds too complicated hire an attorney.

  8. You don't hire an injury attorney to get a case resolved quickly. You hire an injury attorney to maximize the value of your case.

  9. As a former Claims Operations TeamLeader who used to review, negotiate and settle these types of cases ( attorney represented & non represented) for Progressive; I strongly urge you to hire an experienced personal injuries lawyer immediately.

    There are many variables that determine the value of your case; and only experienced personal injuries lawyers can navigate to achieve the best outcome for your case. Although the facts pattern suggests that you may have suffered significant injuries, but be mindful that Progressive will come forth with defenses in order to undermine the value of your case. At this juncture, this case is not quite ready for settlement if you wish for Progressive to tender its policy limits. I now handle these types of cases all over the state of Florida and you may contact my office for free consultation.

    Best of luck

    Fesner Petion, Esq.
    Law Office of Fesner Petion, P.A.
    3600 Red Road, Suite 402
    Miramar. FL 33025
    Phone: 954.404.7496
    Fax: 954.342.9208

    The information contained in this e-mail is attorney privileged and confidential information intended only for the use of the individual or entity named above. If the reader of this message is not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution or copy of this communication is strictly prohibited and will be considered as a tortuous interference in our confidential business relationships. If you have received this communication in error, please immediately notify us by telephone at (954) 404-7496 and return the original message to us at the above address via the U.S. Postal Service. Thank you.

  10. Not sure why you would want to negotiate this yourself! I'm sure if you get charged with a crime you will seek the best criminal defense attorney to represent you. A personal injury case is no different unless you don't care to maximize your recovery. I recently settled a case for a large amount where my client had serious injuries, yet one of the major and most respected insurance companies sent him a check for $1,000.00 within a week of the accident. The check said "full and final satisfaction of personal injury claim", my client truly believed that it was for repairs to his automobile and cashed it. When he attempted to get an attorney to negotiate his personal injury claim, no one would touch it because of the "release". I filed a notice of civil remedy with the Insurance Commissioner and sent the insurance company a demand letter with the civil remedy notice attached. They quickly settled in spite of the "release". That's what you can expect if you attempt to negotiate by yourself. If you don't want to pay the attorney's percentage, let me just remind of that Billy Preston song, "nothing from nothing leaves nothing". Good luck.

  11. Your case cannot be evaluated with the info you have provided. Progressive will argue that your positive MRI findings could have been pre-existing. Your prior claims history, work history, and medical history all come into play as do the forces involved in the car collision. This is where a lawyer's experience and advocacy come into play. Personal injury fees are variable and negotiable. I don't practice in Florida so I am not fishing for your business but here in Nevada where I do practice, my firm of Reed & Mansfield charges only a 25% contingency fee for cases such as yours rather than the more common one-third or higher.

  12. Thanks for the question. While you can "go it alone" and settle your claim, from my experience unless it was a very minor accident with no serious injuries you should almost always retain an attorney. Why? Because insurance adjusters rarely take "go it aloners" seriously and I have yet to see a genuinely fair offer to the claimant unless the claim is less than 10k. I once had a client that wrote up an extremely fair, articulate settlement demand to an insurance company for around 80k. The insurance company dug its heels into the sand at around 18k. He ultimately had to hire my former firm and without divulging any actual case history with you, it was obvious from the beginning that the insurance company would end up paying much more than the initial 80k it should have accepted. The client would probably have accepted half of that to just get it done quickly. That's not how insurance companies death with these types of situations, unfortunately. Good luck.

  13. Well couple more factors we have to look at before you can decided value of the claim. HOw much in property damage? Do you have any priors? Have you missed any time from work? If you are scehduled to see a surgeon, I would hold off on valuing your claim. Value of your claim will depend on whether your surgicial or not. It sounds like you have a good case, make sure to at least speak to an attorney after you see the surgeon. If you try to settle with Progressive with them directly they may low ball you.

  14. First - you are cutting your nose to spite your face - if you are thinking of handling a case like this yourself. Insurance companies LOVE when the injured negotiate without counsel.

    Your case will be settled (or suit filed) after you have reached maximum-medical improvement (MMI) - but without seeing your medical records directly, it would be foolish to guess how long that will take. Ask your doctor. After you reach MMI, you (or your lawyer) can begin the negotiation process with Progressive. The amount of time it can take to negotiate depends, again, on the medical records.

    What is the value of your case? Many factors are involved: Were any of the 6 herniated discs preexisting (likely)? How much to you weigh? Do you smoke? Do you have diabetes? Have you been in prior accidents? Is there any comparative negligence on your part? Are you a candidate for a more aggressive form of treatment? Did you treat consistently? Did you go to a quality doctor or one that is known to only treat plaintiffs? What kind of pain are you in now? What kind of pain can you expected to be in for the foreseeable future? How has that pain affected your life? Has this been adequately documented? What kind of job did you have at the time of the accident? Did you lose your job or do you have any job restrictions as a result of the accident?, etc....

    To circle back - you need an experienced personal injury lawyer to evaluate all these factors, address and minimize your claim's weaknesses, and put your best foot forward.

    Good luck to you.

  15. If you want a cheap, inadequate settlement, you could settle it quickly. I'm sure Progressive would love to settle it directly with you. Do yourself, not Progressive, a favor. Talk to a lawyer . A lawyer will make sure your case is properly evaluated and that you get what your deserve.

    This answer is for general education purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship nor is it intended to provide legal advice. The answer is based on the limited information provided and the answer might be different had additional information been provided. You should consult an attorney.

  16. Call the adjustor and just ask how much they will pay if you want to settle immediately and you will get the answer to part of your question. I bet you could settle the case for $5,000 and have your check within a week.

    Otherwise, an attorney will need to develop proof that your injuries were caused by the crash. You will need to complete most of your treatment. Then the damages can be evaluated and a claim made. It could be for the policy limits, or more, if the potential defendant(s) has/have assets that can be reached with a judgment.

    Typically, cases like yours would take six months to a year for treatment, plus another six months to resolve by settlement, or two years by trial.

    This is a summary based on incomplete facts. You should not rely on it as legal advise. No attorney-client relationship is intended to be formed. You may call me 772-562-4570; email me, or visit my website

Personal injury topics

Top tips from attorneys

What others are asking

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer

Browse all legal topics