Another question we frequently get is “how long does it take to negotiate a settlement?”
As you saw in last week’s topic, very seldom do we start our demand process until your medical treatment has ended. Why do we do this?
We do not know what your damages are until after we have the final bills from all your medical providers. We use these bills to show the insurance company what your damages are. Your damages help to determine the value of your claim.
Negotiate the Claim
Once you have completed your medical treatment, we send over a demand packet to the insurance company. The demand packet will contain basic information about the accident and some of the evidence supporting your claim. It will contain your medical expenses, any expected future expenses. If you have missed work, we will claim lost earnings. We will request compensation for any permanent injuries or limitations and a claim for your pain and suffering. Finally, the packet will have a demand for a specific amount of money or the defendant’s policy limits.
The insurance adjuster will generally respond to us in one to two weeks. The response will be an agreement to our demand, a counter offer, or a denial of liability.
If it is a denial of liability, your claim is ready to move to the litigation stage. If they accept our demand, the settlement paperwork will be prepared. The settlement paperwork will be completed and signed by you, your attorney will negotiate your bills, prepare checks for the legal and medical providers and give you a check.
However, if an counter offer is make, we will begin to negotiate with the insurance company. The offers may go back and forth until an amount is agreed upon by you and the insurance company. If we are unable to reach an agreement, your claim is ready for litigation.
How long does it take to negotiate a settlement? As you can see it depends upon the information provided to the insurance company and their attitude towards settlement. Some insurance companies try and do what is right. But some insurance companies have forgotten why they are in business. They attempt to pay as little as possible. Don’t let them do this, have your attorney require them to pay what is owed.