Q How long will it take to settle my premises liability claim?
The aftermath of a premises liability accident can be just as traumatic as the incident itself. You may have to cope with injuries, numerous medical bills and living expenses, and perhaps even lost wages if you're unable to work while recovering. You may hope that your claim against the negligent party settles quickly so that you can move past the ordeal. However, even an experienced premises liability attorney can't guarantee a quick settlement, and a number of factors can influence the length of time that it takes to resolve your claim.
Factors That Affect a Premises Liability Case
With many claims, you can resolve your case in a short period of time if you're willing to accept less than what you deserve, which isn't in your best interests. While no attorney can tell you exactly how long your case will take to complete, he can provide guidance based on your situation.
Here are some of the factors that influence the length of time it takes to settle these claims:
- Disputes. If there are serious disputes as to the negligent party’s liability or the seriousness of your injuries, it will take longer for an attorney to negotiate your settlement. He may need to conduct a more thorough investigation, obtain additional medical records, or hire an expert witness in order to convince the insurance company to settle. When the disputes are more minor, your claim can be resolved more quickly.
- Your medical treatment. You don't want to settle your claim until you've reached your maximum medical recovery—which may not be a full recovery—or you have a final prognosis. Waiting until this occurs is important so that you include any future medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages you could be entitled to. In some cases, it can take a year or longer for you to reach this point in your medical care.
- Higher value claim. If you suffered more severe injuries, the value of your claim could be larger. Insurance adjusters have a duty to investigate claims before agreeing to a settlement. When a claim is worth more money, they could conduct a more thorough investigation and more vigorously fight to deny or reduce your claim to fulfill these duties. The result could be that your claim takes longer and may require litigation before a settlement can be reached.
- Demand package. Your attorney will need to prepare a demand letter, which includes a letter outlining your claim and the amount you're willing to settle and supporting documents. It could take your attorney time to put together this package, especially if your injuries were extensive and include many medical records. You want your lawyer to take the time he needs to prepare a strong demand package, as this increases the likelihood of reaching a favorable settlement.
- Insurance company. The insurance company for the negligent party could impact on the length of time it takes to resolve your case. Some insurance companies have a reputation of fighting harder and longer before resolving claims.
If you or a family member was injured in a premises liability accident, Alan Morton is ready to explain your legal options and how the settlement of your claim could work. Fill out our online form to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.