One of the top questions slip and fall accident victims ask is: How long will it take to settle my claim? It can be frustrating if your attorney tells you that it depends on many factors. Unfortunately, this is true, and hiring an attorney right away does not necessarily mean that your claim will settle quickly. In some cases, it is actually beneficial to wait to settle your claim.
Why It Can Take a Long Time to Settle Your Claim
While it is true that some slip and fall claims are settled within a matter of a few months, many can take much longer for even an experienced slip and fall attorney to resolve. Here are reasons why your claim could take longer to settle:
- Your medical treatment. To ensure you receive the full compensation you are entitled to, your attorney will want to wait to try to settle your claim until your treatment has been completed or your doctor gives you a final prognosis. This ensures that all the medical bills to date and your possible future ones are included in your settlement. Unfortunately, it could be months or more than a year after you begin conservative treatments like physical therapy before your doctor decides that they are not working and that you need surgery.
- Disputes with the insurance company. In most cases, even when liability of the business or property owner is clear, its insurance adjuster will dispute some issue in your case, such as the severity of your injuries, in an effort to deny or reduce your claim. Depending on the reasonableness of the adjuster, it could take your attorney months or longer to negotiate a fair settlement for you.
- Pre-existing injuries. If you have pre-existing injuries to the same part of the body that was injured in your slip and fall accident, the insurance adjuster will most likely argue that this pre-existing injury caused your current one. This could make settling your case more time-consuming for your attorney, and he may need to hire a medical expert, such as your treating physician, to issue an opinion on this to convince the adjuster that he is wrong.
- Serious injuries. If you suffered more serious injuries in your slip and fall accident that will cause you chronic pain or to become disabled, the value of your claim could be higher. Whenever the settlement amount will be high, it is more likely that the insurance company will fight harder to deny your claim.
- Negotiations. Any negotiations of a slip and fall accident claim involve some negotiations with the insurance company. Rarely will the adjuster agree to the first amount your attorney demands in settlement. This back-and-forth process takes time, even in a fairly straightforward case.
- Litigation. In some cases, the insurance company refuses to settle for a fair amount. In this situation, your attorney may need to file a civil lawsuit against the business or property owner and litigate your case. While your case most likely will be resolved before your trial, it could take months of litigation before this happens.
It is best not to settle your case quickly if it is for less than what you deserve. If you were hurt in a slip and fall accident, let our experienced slip and fall attorneys handle the investigation of your claim and settlement negotiations with the owner’s insurance company. Fill out our online form to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.