If you’ve sustained injuries from a car accident, a bicycle accident, a slip-and-fall incident, or any other event, you deserve compensation. However, when filing a lawsuit in Sacramento, California, one of the most critical concerns is the timeline for the personal injury claim settlement.
There is no set answer as to how long a personal injury case takes to settle in Sacramento, as it depends. Yet, you will want to have some idea about the timeline when filing a lawsuit.
Personal injury lawsuits vary from case to case. Many different factors will either prolong the proceedings or allow for a quick settlement. Some elements can be influenced by you or your lawyer to expedite the case, while others are mostly out of your control. Many factors are associated with the insurance company involved. Let’s take a closer look at those underlying factors.
Factors Affecting the Timeline of a Personal Injury Claim
Your Injuries and the time to reach maximum medical improvement (MMI)
The most common factor that determines the length of your personal injury case is the extent of your injuries and how long it takes you to reach the Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI).
Following the accident, you’ll likely be receiving treatment for the injuries sustained. Reaching MMI means you’ve reached the point at which you’ve fully recovered from the injuries, and no further medical procedures are required. It is your doctor who will determine whether you’ve completely recovered from your injuries.
Serious accident injuries take much longer to heal, which extends the time to reach the MMI. Once you’ve reached this point, your damages can now be calculated, which will help determine the value of your personal injury lawsuit. Only after this calculation will you be able to file your claim.
Even if you managed to calculate the value of the lawsuit and filed the lawsuit quickly, the insurance company would not settle the claim unless all parties have recovered. If multiple parties are involved, the insurance company will not expedite the process until all medical record, including billing and other information, is received from all parties.
While the State of California requires medical providers to submit medical bills within 120 days from the date of service, it usually takes longer – perhaps a year.
This is the most common cause of a delay in a personal injury claim settlement. To speed up the process, some people decide on a quick settlement, giving up some of the compensatory money they could have received. If you can wait, it is never a good idea to go for a quick settlement.
You never know what medical condition suddenly arises or how much more you might need to recover from your injuries fully. The decision will mainly depend on the extent of your recovery and how much you’re willing to give up. So, it’s wise to think twice before going for a quick settlement.
The Value of Your Claim
If your injury claim amounts to only a few thousand dollars, the claim should settle relatively quickly, but when tens of thousands of dollars or more money is involved, the settlement takes much longer. The higher the value of your claim, the greater the stakes for the insurer, and the longer they will need to negotiate on the value of your claim.
The negotiation process that occurs during the settlement can take considerably longer, which, in turn, prolongs the case. While negotiations may begin even before you file the claim, the insurance company won’t take them seriously until the lawsuit is filed.
Under the State of California law, once you file your personal claim, the defendant is given 30 to 60 days and an additional 30 to 45 days to file a response. Thus, it takes around three months from the date you file the lawsuit to get the first response from the insurance company. Then follows the pre-trial process, which can be rather lengthy.
Whether You Go for a Trial or an Alternative Dispute Resolution
Going to trial is not the only way to settle your personal injury claim. If you opt for an alternative dispute resolution, the amount of time can vary significantly. For instance, if you agreed to settle the claim through mediation, the event will take place anywhere between 9 to 18 months, and the proceedings itself will take one or two days.
On the other hand, if you decided to for a trial, it can take longer. While the trial will last a few days to a few weeks, the first appearance at the trial court usually occurs after one year from the time of the accident.
On top of that, if the liability is hard to prove, or the defendant thinks that you have no legal rights to sue them, the insurance company will take even longer to make a reasonable settlement. Complications such as determining whether or not it was the defendant’s negligence that caused your injury can significantly hamper the settlement process. Not until your lawyer presents a doctor who can prove that the defendant’s actions caused your injuries will the insurer be satisfied and be willing to settle the case.
Seeking Legal Consultation and Help
Filing and following up with your personal injury claim is like a stressful mission, which may involve persistent negotiations with the insurance company on top of receiving the necessary medical treatments.
As far as the timeline is concerned, no one can precisely determine how long their personal injury claim can take to settle. While the reality will differ for every case, you may still get some idea about the length of settlement time.
If you didn’t sustain too many injuries, the value of your claim is minimal, or if you decide to settle the claim through mediation, the settlement can take as little as a few months.
However, in the case of severe injuries, even the fastest routes will usually take around a year or more. A rigorous and complicated personal injury claim that involves a lot of money could take around two years to settle.
If you’re injured in an accident in Sacramento, California, and looking to claim the damages, get in touch with an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. A specialized attorney will not only help you receive maximum compensation for the injuries but also suggest ways to expedite the process.
The legal team of Phoong Law has successfully won millions of dollars in settlements for victims injured in accidents. We are experienced aggressive attorneys in Sacramento and will fight for your rights to get the compensation you deserve. Schedule a free, no obligation consultation to evaluate your case. We also provide a zero fee warranty so you pay nothing unless we win. We have an office in Stockton, California as well.
If your injuries are severe, the insurers may try to take advantage of you, which makes it even more critical to hire a specialized personal injury lawyer. Knowingly how much you’re hurting for money, our lawyer will push the insurance company hard to expedite the process for you. Yet, do keep in mind that it pays to remain patient is certain situations and let the case progress normally.