How long do pedestrian accident claims take to settle?

How long do pedestrian accident claims take to settle?

If you are a pedestrian accident victim, one of the questions that may come to mind is how long it will take to settle your case. While every case is unique and the timeline can vary, many factors can influence the duration of a pedestrian accident case.

The timing of your settlement is a definite concern. Unfortunately, you may have to deal with the legal process while facing financial constraints and challenges due to your injuries. However, getting a check deposited into your account will take time. It can take many months or years before you receive any compensation for your injuries, and there is a chance you will not get anything. In many cases, there is nothing that you can do other than to put the maximum amount of pressure on the insurance company. An experienced pedestrian accident lawyer in Vero Beach can fight for your interests and let insurance companies know they cannot push you around or put up barriers that make your life harder.

There are numerous steps to the legal process, and you must go through most or all of them before receiving any settlement. Each one of these steps can take time, and you must be patient to develop the most solid case possible. Before you can even approach the insurance company, you must do considerable work to lay the legwork for your case.

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How long do pedestrian accident claims take to settle

Your legal process begins when you hire an experienced pedestrian accident lawyer. You must retain counsel quickly because waiting too long can jeopardize your case. Insurance companies may actively work against you, trying to subvert your claim before you can file it. They can try to speak to you and pressure you into giving a statement or making an admission against your interests.

A pedestrian accident lawyer will handle all communication with insurance companies and other parties involved in the case. Insurance adjusters are notorious for trying to downplay the severity of injuries and offer low settlement amounts. Having an attorney on your side ensures that they protect your rights and that you receive fair compensation for medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering.

You also need a lawyer quickly because they must thoroughly investigate your pedestrian accident. The evidence you can use to prove your case may only be available for a limited time. Your lawyer may need to talk to witnesses or work with accident reconstruction experts to gather the proof you must include with your claim.

Furthermore, a pedestrian accident lawyer will have the experience and knowledge to negotiate with insurance companies to reach a favorable settlement. They understand insurers' tactics to minimize payouts and will fight to ensure you receive the maximum compensation possible.

You Must Understand Your Medical Condition Before You File a Claim or Lawsuit 

In the meantime, you are also getting medical treatment, and it may take some time before you know the severity of your injuries to quantify your damages. It can even take months to reach the point of maximum medical improvement, defined as the time when further treatment will not improve your condition. Now, you can fully understand how your life will look moving forward. Either way, you need to be proactive about your medical treatment because it can impact when you file a claim or lawsuit. You cannot prove your damages when you still need to recover.

Insurance Companies Drag Out the Claims Process

Insurance Companies Drag Out the Claims Process

Then, you will need to file the actual claim or lawsuit, and that is where time can begin to seem like it is standing still. First, your lawyer will advise you to go through the insurance company in the claims process or move directly into court to file a lawsuit. The correct result may depend on the circumstance and the insurance company involved. Your lawyer's style and experience may also help counsel their advice.

If you choose to file an insurance claim, the fact that the process is more informal will not do anything to speed up the claims process. Insurance companies will delay and drag out the process to make you more desperate. They think that if your financial circumstances deteriorate, you will be more likely to accept a settlement that pays you less than you deserve.

Insurance companies may take weeks, or even months, to respond to your claim. Even though the law of bad faith binds them, they may take considerable time to evaluate your claim. This delay can be because they are taking more time to be thorough or because their adjusters have far more caseloads than they can handle.

The Insurance Company's Response to Your Claim Will Not Move the Ball Forward

The insurance company's initial response is not likely to please you. If it does not deny your claim or try to partially blame you for the accident, it will make you a settlement offer that tells you how far you need to go. The initial offer is just the beginning of a lengthy process because it will likely be for far less than you deserve.

You will begin the negotiation process if the settlement offer is paltry and low. The first step will be to reject the offer that pays too little. Putting your counteroffer on the table automatically constitutes rejection, and the offer is no longer available.

The Claims Negotiation Process Takes a Considerable Amount of Time

Every time that you submit your counteroffer to the insurance companies, they will take their time to evaluate it before responding to you. They may reject your offer entirely or make their own offer to you. Each of these steps can add weeks or months to the process. Insurance companies can easily make you their best offer, which they know will settle your case quickly.

However, it is not in their best interest to do so, and it can take many months to close in on an agreement. In the meantime, you will need to keep an eye on the statute of limitations so you do not run out of time to file a lawsuit.

There are some times when dealing with insurance companies may go more quickly. For example, if liability is not in question and you have suffered severe injuries, they may soon offer you the policy limits to settle the case. Suppose the insurance company refuses to settle, the case goes to trial, and its policyholder is liable. In this case, the driver can sue the insurance company for not reaching a settlement.

You May Have to File a Lawsuit Against the Responsible Driver

You May Have to File a Lawsuit Against the Responsible Driver

Things will not proceed quicker if you file a lawsuit against the responsible driver, and they can be even slower if you file a court case after failed negotiations with the insurance company. The court process can move at a glacial pace, depending on the court's docket and the number of motions the insurance companies file (they will be your adversary in court since they must defend their policyholder).

At the outset, it is hard to tell how long a court case will take. If your case goes to trial, you can expect it will take at least a year from start to finish. If the insurance company loses and appeals the verdict, it can take even longer, perhaps even two years.

Most Cases Will Settle at Some Point in the Process

Most lawsuits will reach a settlement agreement before they end up before a jury. Both sides have too much to lose to go all the way to a hearing. However, insurance companies may not be in any hurry to settle your case at the beginning of the trial. They may sit back and see whether they can get your case dismissed or what type of evidence you can build in the discovery process. Only then may they raise their offer and settle your case. Insurance companies have the power to settle by making you a reasonable offer that fully compensates you for your injuries. Regardless, you can be looking at up to a year before you can reach a settlement agreement through the litigation process.

You Should Never Settle Too Quickly to Get a Check

You Should Never Settle Too Quickly to Get a Check

While you may be unhappy with the time it takes to settle your case, remember that you should take as long as necessary to get the total amount of money you legally deserve. Insurance companies have made enormous amounts of money off plaintiffs who throw in the towel and take something less, whether because of fatigue or because they think they cannot get more. You must fight back until the insurance company pays you what it owes you. Never let panic and desperation force you into accepting a settlement offer that does not make sense. If you are struggling with money, consider litigation financing for part of your case to give you some of the money you need until you can reach a settlement agreement. If the insurance company does not pay you what you deserve, you need to hold it accountable in court when a jury makes it pay you the total amount of your compensation.

Hiring a Lawyer Can Help Prevent Some Long Delays

Hiring an experienced lawyer may not remove all the delays built into the process, but it can put you in a stronger legal position when dealing with the insurance company. Your lawyer's job is to look out for your legal interests and fight to get you top dollar for your claim. Insurance companies may know they have someone who can hold them accountable by any means possible. They can be less likely to drag out your case if they see an aggressive lawyer across the table who is not afraid to litigate. At the same time, when your lawyer formally handles the claims process, insurance companies may need more time to respond, as they often do when they receive demand letters.

You Do Not Want Insurance Companies Dictating Anything to You

Regardless, you end up in a stronger legal position when you have a knowledgeable pedestrian accident lawyer handling your case. Without an attorney, you can end up at the mercy of the insurance companies, and they are known for showing none of it. They know that you do not understand the legal process, and they will take full advantage of it, denying your claim entirely or trying to blame you for the accident. Insurance companies will undoubtedly offer you a paltry settlement and expect you to be grateful. A pedestrian accident lawyer can help you fight back, standing up for your rights during settlement negotiations and litigation if it becomes necessary for you to file a lawsuit.

You Do Not Have to Pay a Lawyer from Your Own Pocket

There is very little in the legal process that you can control, but the timing of hiring a lawyer is one of the few things you direct. Money should never be a barrier between you and getting the legal help you need. Thankfully, personal injury lawyers work for you on a contingency basis. You do not have to pay anything upfront or out of pocket to get your lawyer working for you. 

All you need to do is sign a representation agreement that promises to pay your lawyer a certain percentage of your settlement or jury award if you receive one. You only pay your lawyer if you win your case; thus, hiring a lawyer is risk-free. The alternative is that you can end up with the short end of the stick in the legal process when the insurance company takes full advantage of you.

If you are a victim of a pedestrian accident, never wait to seek the assistance of a skilled pedestrian accident lawyer. Working with an experienced personal injury attorney can help ensure your case is handled efficiently and effectively, potentially leading to a quicker settlement. They will work tirelessly to investigate the accident, communicate with insurance companies, and fight for the fair compensation you deserve.