How Long Does a Personal Injury Case Take in Los Angeles?633 West Fifth Street, Suite 2200
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How Long Does a Personal Injury Case Take in Los Angeles?
If you ask many people who have ever had a personal injury case how long the process took, the answer would likely be that it was far too long. Unfortunately, when insurance companies are involved, that is often the case. But if you are represented by a skilled personal injury lawyer, the same doesn’t have to be true for your case.
The time a personal injury case takes depends on several factors. Your personal injury lawyer will work to mitigate these factors as much as possible. Before your case begins, it can be helpful to understand what kind of timeline to expect for your personal injury case and what elements can potentially influence that timeline.
At Morgan & Morgan, we understand how important it is that you get your money as quickly as possible, and we do everything in our power to get you a fair settlement fast. If you need a personal injury lawyer, contact us today to schedule a free case evaluation.
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Why Case Durations Vary?
The key reason that case durations vary is that no two personal injury cases are the same. Even seemingly small differences can change a timeline by months or years.
Another significant influence on the length of case durations is the opposing party’s response. If an opposing party chooses to fight a claim, for example, the case can take longer.
There are a variety of more specific reasons that contribute to how long a personal injury case takes as well.
What Makes a Personal Injury Case Take Longer?
There is one major culprit that often extends the length of personal injury cases: insurance companies. Most insurance companies delay the process as much as possible. They know that the longer it takes, the more likely you are to drop your case or accept a lower settlement.
And even if the insurer has to pay you the full value you deserve, the longer it waits to pay you, the longer it can keep the money. That is like getting an interest-free loan from you throughout the claims process.
Other factors that increase the length of your case are:
- Severe wounds that require long-term treatment
- A defendant that refuses to accept liability for your injuries
- When you have a large claim
- More than two parties being involved in the case
Before an insurance company pays you, it needs to verify every fact, especially those related to expenses. Thus, if you have more expenses or more complicated injuries, it can take longer for the insurer to verify your case. And that is true even when the insurance company isn’t intentionally delaying the process.
What a Typical Timeline Looks Like?
The timeline for your case starts the moment you are injured. However, it doesn’t become possible to receive compensation until you advise the insurance company of your claim.
Once you file your claim, the insurance company will start to investigate your case. There is no set timeline for this step, though the insurance company can’t intentionally delay the investigation for no good reason. However, if its investigators are busy, this could easily take weeks or months.
Sending a Letter of Demand
Your personal injury lawyer from Morgan and Morgan can speed up this step. Our attorneys can investigate independently. Once we have gathered all relevant evidence, we can write a letter of demand and send it to the insurance company.
A letter of demand asks for a specific amount of money based on the evidence collected and the terms of the insurance policy. Once an insurance company receives this letter, it typically has 30 days to respond. It can deny the claim, accept the request, or make a counteroffer.
If it accepts the request, you will receive a check within a few weeks of acceptance. This is the best-case scenario, where you get paid just a few months after you were injured.
The Negotiation Stage
Unfortunately, most insurance companies are greedy. Rather than pay you what you deserve, often, an insurer will try to make a lowball offer. This can significantly delay your case.
While the insurance company only has 30 days to respond to the initial demand letter, once it responds, the deadline resets. Even if your lawyer counters the counteroffer the very same day they receive it, the insurance company has another 30 days to respond to that.
And if an insurer is intentionally trying to delay your case, it will use the majority of those 30 days with every single communication. This can easily add months to what should be a relatively speedy process.
How a Lawyer Can Reduce This Delay
However, just because the insurance company can do this doesn’t mean it is legal. Insurance companies are specifically prohibited from delaying a claim just for the purpose of delay. And if the insurer isn’t responding in a timely fashion, your attorney may take legal action to speed it up or get you compensation for those delays.
Negotiation can end in one of two ways. Either the insurance company eventually makes a fair offer, or you get tired of unreasonable offers and file a lawsuit. Sometimes the latter will force the hand of the insurer, and the insurance company will make a reasonable offer to avoid the cost of a trial.
Assuming negotiation doesn’t end in a trial, this back-and-forth can take anywhere from a few months to the better part of a year. It will almost always take less time than a trial.
The Trial Stage
Even experienced attorneys with an excellent record of winning at trial, like those at Morgan and Morgan, prefer for most cases to end in a settlement.
The reason an attorney may prefer not to go to trial is that trials can take a long time, and the results are not guaranteed. If you have suffered a serious injury, you need money to pay your medical bills as soon as possible. You can’t afford to wait a year or longer to get paid, and we know that.
Because of this, we typically recommend a trial when it’s the most viable option to get you the money you need to recover from your injuries. That doesn’t mean we won’t represent you if you want a trial, even after receiving a fair settlement offer. It just means we will recommend your most sure path to maximum compensation.
However, if your case does go to trial, you can rest assured that we have an excellent record of success in the courtroom. Our personal injury lawyers will fight both to get you the maximum compensation and to get that money quickly.
Even while working to keep the case short, you can expect a trial to take over a year or more. The length of time a trial takes depends on several factors, such as the unique details of the case and how hard the opposing side fights.
Why Do You Need a Personal Injury Lawyer?
One of the first questions many potential clients ask us is if they even need an attorney. Often, they have already been in touch with an insurance company, and they may even have received a settlement offer by the time they walk into our office.
Watch Out for This Tactic
We are quick to explain that they should never accept an insurance offer without consulting with a lawyer first. While it may seem like the insurance company is making a fair offer, the initial offer is typically well below what the client deserves.
Insurance companies have a huge advantage. They have dealt with thousands of similar cases in the past. They know, almost to the penny, what your claim is worth when you file it. And just as importantly, they know that you don’t know the full value of your claim.
Additionally, based on past cases, insurers know approximately how much most claimants are willing to accept, either because that is all they think their case is worth or because they don’t understand the details of the insurance policy. That is how much an insurance company will try to offer you at first.
The Advantage of Having a Personal Injury Lawyer on Your Side
Even if a client is suspicious of the amount they are being offered, they likely don’t know how to prove that it should be more. Most people have almost no familiarity with the insurance process. This is where the advantage of being represented by an experienced personal injury attorney comes in.
Your attorney from Morgan & Morgan can accurately determine the value of your case by comparing your injuries to those suffered by past clients with similar cases. We are so familiar with personal injury cases that most of our lawyers can determine the precise value of your claim during the initial meeting.
That knowledge is critical to ensuring that you don’t get ripped off by the insurance company. If it tries to undervalue your claim, we will demand a higher settlement offer or take it to court.
When you hire an attorney to represent you, your chances of getting the maximum compensation you are entitled to can greatly increase.
What Happens if an Insurance Company Denies My Claim?
Typically, if an insurance company denies your claim, you will file an appeal. Your attorney can represent you during the appeals process, and we know the best way to get insurance companies to reverse previous decisions. If the appeal fails, you can file a lawsuit to make your claim in court.
Should I Accept a Lower Offer if I Need Money Quickly?
No. If you are desperate for money, our attorneys can help you access resources designed to help people in your position. We can also send a letter of intent to your creditors that should get them to stop sending you bills until your case is done.
If you accept a bad offer just to get money quickly, you will likely find yourself in more debt in the long run. And the resources that are designed to help you may not be available after you get compensation.
How Much Will a Personal Injury Lawyer Cost Me?
That depends on how much money you get. Our law firm only gets paid if we get you money. We will then take a percentage of that money as our fee.
Get Money Quickly With an Attorney From Morgan & Morgan
If you have been injured in Los Angeles due to the negligence of another, you deserve to receive the money you’re entitled to quickly to pay for your medical bills. Contact our law firm today to schedule a free case evaluation and get started on your case today.