Being injured in an accident can be one of the most stressful and difficult things to experience in life. Depending on the extent of your trauma, you may require long-lasting and expensive medical care and be out of work for some time. Medical costs and living expenses quickly start to pile up, and most of us can’t afford to pay these bills on our own.
Naturally, to overcome financial burdens, victims are eager to know how long their personal injury claims will take to resolve—and insurance companies know this. Your desperation for funds is one reason why adjusters are instructed to issue lowball offers. Partnering with a skilled Kansas City personal injury attorney helps you understand all the required steps in your case so you know what to expect, and place your trust in someone who will handle those details as quickly as possible so you can focus on recovery.
How Long Does It Take to Recover Compensation in a Personal Injury Case?
Every personal injury case is unique, so there’s not really a typical resolution timeline for a settlement. Some personal injury claims are resolved in a matter of months—and unfortunately, others can drag on for years.
There are three primary factors in these cases that dictate the course of litigation:
- Is liability disputed
- How severe are your injuries
- How much insurance is available
Let’s take a closer look at each one.
Is There a Dispute Over Liability?
The insurance company won’t award compensation unless evidence proves its policyholder is legally liable for your injuries and other damages. Sometimes, the evidence is blatant, and the victim and the insurance adjuster agree on the at-fault party. While it might still take a few months to reach a resolution, these cases typically move more quickly.
However, if there’s a dispute over who’s responsible for your accident injuries and each side blames the other, this directly impacts the time to settle your claim. Missouri has a comparative fault negligence system, which means each party could bear some responsibility. So your attorney may need extra time and resources to strengthen your case and prove the other party’s liability. An insurance adjuster may change their mind after reviewing additional evidence and decide to offer you reasonable compensation.
But if an adjuster refuses to settle your case due to a liability dispute, your only other option is to take your case to court to have a judge or jury decide. This could potentially add months or even years to the resolution timeline. Every case has the potential to go to court, although most don’t. So, when choosing a Kansas City law firm to handle your personal injury case, make certain its professionals have trial experience and a track record of success.
How Severe Are Your Injuries?
Understanding how long your personal injury claim will take involves the intensity of your injuries. Here are some reasons why:
- Critical injuries increase the value of your settlement—sometimes as high as seven figures. But this also makes it harder to reach a fair resolution. After all, an insurance company wants to protect its bottom line, and won’t hand out large compensation awards very easily.
- You might be undergoing various types of surgical procedures, treatments, and therapies for many months. As a result, it’s impossible to accurately calculate the value of your claim during this process, so you won’t know how much you are entitled to from the insurance company.
It takes considerable time to recover from devastating injuries, and there’s often no way of fully knowing when you’ll reach maximum medical improvement (MMI). This doesn’t mean you’ve achieved a full recovery, only that your health care team believes you’ve recovered as best as possible, given the circumstances. Once MMI is determined, your attorney will use these facts to assign value to your claim.
How Much Insurance Is Available?
If there’s not much insurance coverage to fully reimburse your damages, settling the case will likely take less time, as your attorney will have to mediate within those parameters. However, the higher the policy limit, the more compensation victims can demand. This can lead to tough negotiations that drag on for extended periods of time—as little as six months or more than two years to reach a fair resolution.
Your Personal Injury Attorney Eases the Process
When recovering from an accident, the last thing you want to worry about is the multitude of details involved in a lawsuit. Choosing an experienced lawyer who specializes in these cases alleviates this burden. A qualified legal team will, among other things:
- File the lawsuit promptly to adhere to different statutes of limitations for personal injury claims. This timeline matters to the length of case resolution as well. For example, in Kansas, it’s two years, but in Missouri, it’s five.
- Collect and preserve evidence right away to support your claim.
- Track proper documentation for all medical expenses.
- Evaluate lost wages, vacation and sick time, and other income factors.
- Handle all communication and negotiations with the insurance carrier and other parties.
- Prepare the case for trial, if necessary.
Your attorney works diligently to follow through on all aspects of your personal injury claim so it can be processed quickly and you can return to a more normal life.