I was rear ended from a driver then she tried to escape. Another person got in his car and stopped the driver 2 blocks from where she hit me. She could not provide the proper identification and the car was registered to another person who had insurance. I retained a lawyer to file a lawsuit for the injuries I sustained. The other insurance company already accepted the loss and deemed their driver is at fault and offered a settlement. My medical was completed after 4 months. It took another 4 months to get an update on the case in which I learned the offer was $9k but with the medical cost of $8k and the repairs to my car was $3500.00 (paid from the other insurance company) My attorney says he is trying to have the other insurance cover the medical expense and has advised me that it would take 6 months to 1 year and 6 months for my case to end and receive a decent settlement. The accident occurred on November of 2017 and is taking a considerable amount of time. The last email to update me was sent 3 months ago. I do not believe my attorney because I heard from other people that it takes 6 months to a year to settle.
You would listen to non-lawyers and not your lawyer? All cases are different. These cases can take 3 months to 2 years plus to resolve. Your lawyer should not take 3 months to respond to you, but there is no way to force a defendant to settle a case with you absent suing them and getting a judgement against them. I would consult with another lawyer.
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Cases take as long as they take. Yours can be over today if you want to accept the $9k offer.
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There is no set time. Each case is handled on its own merits. So long as the statute of limitations does not run before a lawsuit has to be filed, there should be no issues.
You are free to obtain another personal injury attorney with no issues for the most part unless your case is already in suit. You would have to do so in writing (certified mail is probably best) and ask in the letter for your attorney to forward you a copy of your complete file. If the case is in fact in suit, generally, in some states, you would need leave of court to dismiss your attorney and be granted leave of court to obtain a new one, so you need to check your jurisdiction regarding this.
You will have to understand, however, that your first attorney will probably have a lien against whatever settlement or judgment you obtain (you will need to read the retainer agreement you signed, which is a binding contract between you and your attorney, to see exactly what you may owe your first attorney) for any work he or she has already done and for any costs fronted such as mailings, obtaining medical bills, etc. The legal term for this type of attorney lien is called a lien for “quantum meruit,” and your new attorney would be bound to honor the first attorney’s lien if notified by the prior attorney.
Because of this, I would be cautious about changing attorneys willy-nilly. I would contact your current attorney and ask for a face-to-face meeting to go over all of the issues, why he or she has handled your case in such a way, etc., that make you want to change attorneys.
However, any new attorney will not take on your case until you officially dismiss your attorney in writing.
Please do not message me for further advice. If you are in need of an attorney to assist you, please search for another attorney in the jurisdiction involved in your case, as I am now retired, and my former law firm is no longer handling personal injury cases. I am active on AVVO and answer questions only as a public service at this point.
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Good luck in however you choose to proceed!
Do not give any credence to what you “heard from other people”.
There is no “average” because each one is different. They have their own facts and different insurance adjusters. They have their own different medical providers which may or may not drag their butt with providing everything to the attorney. Your attorney cannot wave a magic wand and make the other side offer what you guys want. While it should not take three months for an update, it’s unclear whether there was even any new information to report. If you have to file suit to recover the amount you want, it will take even longer.
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Contrary to the opinions of non-lawyers, there is actually no formula on how long a case takes to settle. Mr. McGowan's comprehensive answer covered all the most important points to consider based on the information you provided. But here in California, I would also add that if you meet with a new attorney who you decide you want to hire, and you sign a contract with that attorney, then the new attorney will give notice to the first attorney of the substitution into the case. The new attorney will then obtain your file from the first attorney after a reasonable amount of time that will permit the first attorney to prepare his quantum meruit lien and make copies of the file at his own expense.
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