From our experience as Arizona personal injury attorneys, one thing is clear: No two personal injury claims are alike. Nonetheless, at Torgenson Law, our legal team always strives to resolve our clients’ claims in an efficient manner. However, our extensive experience in personal injury law informs us that personal injury settlements with insurance companies can be a lengthy and sometimes frustrating process. Furthermore, where one motor vehicle accident claim may take less than a month to settle, another may take years of fighting with an insurance adjuster or a defense attorney. For these reasons, we believe it is necessary that our clients know up front that there is no set time period for resolving a claim. Accordingly, when personal injury victims first request our legal representation skills, we ensure that our potential clients have a basic understanding of the claims process, so they are better prepared for the unpredictable settlement process that follows. Below, for the benefit of all Arizona residents, we have provided a basic outline of the stages of a typical personal injury claim and the factors that often dictate the settlement timeline.
The Injury & Initial Treatment
Often times, the severity of the injury is the greatest indicator of how quickly a resolution in your personal injury case will be reached. After an individual suffers an injury, he or she receives initial medical treatment. This may include medical attention at the accident scene, emergency transportation, ER treatment, or even several days in the hospital. At this time, you are more concerned with ensuring your health than seeking compensation for you injuries. Also, initial injuries may not immediately appear severe. It may be months before an injury victim seeks legal representation, as lasting effects of your injury begin to become problematic.
Hiring an Attorney
Now that the initial shock of your injury has passed, you seek legal representation to be made whole again. Unless a litigation filing deadline is approaching on your claim—In Arizona, the Statute of Limitations for most personal injury lawsuits is 2 years from the date of the injury—it is typical practice to allow an injury victim to finish treating before demanding compensation from the liable party’s insurance. This allows your attorney to obtain a clear picture on the full value of your personal injury claims. Depending on the severity of the injury, this continued treatment can last for months. During this time, your attorney gathers medical records, billing statements, and other relevant information necessary for your demand package.
The Demand Package
The demand is precisely what it sounds like: A letter demanding compensation for your personal injury claims. The goal of a demand package is to inform insurance adjusters about your injuries and their insured’s liability in the matter. As mentioned above, a demand package is usually sent at the end of your treatment. However, its release may occur earlier if a statute of limitations is approaching or if your injuries far surpass an insurance company’s coverage limits. Ideally, the adjuster will properly value your claim based on the demand’s details and make an offer that fully and fairly compensates you for your total damages.
Unfortunately, more often than not, insurance adjusters initially undervalue personal injury claims. Perhaps, they find weaknesses in your claims or question their insured’s degree of fault. Regardless of the reason, their unwillingness to make a fair offer can slow the settlement process. This is where the real fight begins. This negotiation period may truly depend on the reasonableness of the insurance adjuster. Nonetheless, at Torgenson Law, we are well versed in negotiating personal injury claims with adjusters. We are prepared to substantiate your claims and confirm the negligent party’s liability in your personal injury matter to ensure a fair settlement is reached. Whether the negotiation period requires a few emails to an insurance adjuster or months of offers and counteroffers, we will not be satisfied until your damages are fully compensated.
Litigation & Trial
On a related note, if the insurance adjuster remains unreasonable during the negotiation period, we, at Torgenson Law, will not hesitate to file a lawsuit against their insured. To be sure, negotiation does not end simply because litigation begins. In fact, litigation can prove useful in reaching a settlement agreement as more information becomes available to us through mandatory disclosures and discovery. However, we always advise our clients that litigation can involve more delays and increased expenses for their claims. It is true that if your lawsuit reaches trial, it may be years after your injury before your claim is totally resolved. Fortunately for you, we, as Arizona trial lawyers, are prepared to go the distance in any given personal injury case.
It is important for potential personal injury clients to understand that even after a settlement amount has been agreed to, they do not immediately receive their settlement check. Like every other stage in the personal injury settlement process, the settlement period varies depending on the circumstances. It often takes up to a month for the insurance company to issue the settlement check. Hopefully, the client will receive their settlement payment soon after. However, more time may be needed to resolve unpaid medical bills or liens against your settlement. This is why it is important for you to have legal representation that will see your claims through to the end.
The simple truth is that there is no set time period for reaching a personal injury settlement. It truly depends on the circumstances and parties involved in your case. Fortunately for our clients, at Torgenson Law, we do not rest until our clients’ money is in their pocket. If you or a loved one suffers a personal injury, call Torgenson Law at (602) 726-0747. We are prepared and determined to stand with you until your personal injury claim is resolved.