How Long Does It Take to Receive Insurance Money or Trial Awards?
If you’re facing any type of lawsuit, it’s vital to acknowledge you may have to wait quite a long time to see results from your case. Most personal injury lawsuits last for months or years in some cases, and various other factors can increase the time you have to wait for insurance settlements or trial awards. The nature of your case will also affect the timeline. Obviously, more complex cases are going to take much longer to reach results. Additionally, documentation issues, motions by the opposition, and countless other eventualities can hamstring even the most straightforward personal injury cases.
Personal Injury: Trial vs. Settlement
Depending on the nature of your case, you may have the opportunity to settle outside of court and avoid a lengthy trial process. Generally, settlement is preferable to lengthy litigation for everyone involved. By reaching a settlement agreement quickly, both sides can save a tremendous amount of time and money and put the situation behind them. However, if a defendant believes he or she did no wrong or either side is unwilling to compromise, settlement may be off the table and the case will go to trial.
Heed the advice of your attorneys in these situations. In some cases, you may be better off settling for less than you expected and going on your way. A good attorney will encourage you to pursue whichever solution works toward your best interests. However, if you insist on proceeding to trial, you need to expect and prepare for a lengthy process.
Mediation and Arbitration
In some cases, both sides may be amenable to settlement but want to have an official presence help facilitate the negotiations. Mediation is non-binding negotiation that involves a neutral third party, usually a retired judge, who will act as a mediator and help the two sides of a settlement negotiation reach a mutually agreeable conclusion. This usually happens in cases involving bad blood or hostility. Arbitration, on the other hand, produces a binding result. Arbitration can be risky, so speak with your attorney about whether this would be a viable option for your case.
Most personal injury cases involve at least one insurance company. For example, if another driver runs a red light and hits your car, you would file a claim against the other driver’s insurance company for the injuries and damages you sustained. If the other driver does not carry insurance, you may have to file a claim against your own policy for uninsured driver coverage. Whatever the case may be, dealing with insurance companies can be incredibly stressful.
Most insurance companies will offer the lowest possible amount for claims within a few weeks or months after an incident. Typically, they want to tempt you with a fast payout and avoid a more costly claim. Consult with your attorney about your dealings with insurance companies to ensure you receive an appropriate amount. Insurance companies are in business to make money, and paying out on claims loses money. Be extremely careful in the words you use when speaking with claims adjusters and other representatives of insurance companies. Your attorney should be able to offer guidance about dealing with insurance claim issues.
Ultimately, if you cannot succeed in your settlement negotiations, your case will proceed to trial. This is a lengthy process, but sometimes new developments during the trial spur the opposition into agreeing to settlement. It’s very difficult to provide an accurate estimate of how long it will take to receive your trial award or settlement money as every case is unique. The specifics of your case typically determine how long you’ll have to wait. Consult with a reliable personal injury attorney about your situation; he or she may be able to provide a reasonable estimate.