How Long Will My Case Take From Start To Finish?
As before, this is one of the most common questions I get during my initial consultations with clients. While every case is different, and while there are unforeseen circumstances that can throw off any estimate, there is a rough ‘roadmap’ that I give to clients. While it doesn’t give actual timeframes, this roadmap is how I personally predict out the various ‘phases’ of a personal injury claim or case.
Let’s assume your accident happens today. For the sake of making things simple, we’ll say that you pulled out your wallet, saw that you had one of Cohen, Feeley, Altemose & Rambo’s fancy new attorney cards (with the updated logo, even!), and you give us a call. After a consultation, we take your day on the same day. What now?
While we, as your personal injury attorneys, handle some setup matters between the insurance companies, your primary focus will be on your medical treatment. This usually is the longest stretch of time in a case, as it’s very unwise to try to settle any case while the client is still treating. (You don’t know the full extent of the injuries, and therefore, any binding settlement you enter into will fail to consider injuries beyond the date of settlement.)
After you have reached maximum medical improvement, then your attorneys will order up any and all medical records that we still need. Technically, medical requests are supposed to be fulfilled by the provider within thirty days, but we know that real-world times can vary and often go longer.
Next, your attorneys will compile your case and write what’s known as a demand package. This is the comprehensive document explaining to the liable insurance company a number of things, including:
- Why they are legally liable to you;
- What kind of injuries you sustained;
- What kind of medical treatment you underwent;
- Any economic damages you sustained, such as out of pocket expenses and lost wages;
- Any liens that, for instance, a health insurance company is asking to be repaid out of your case;
- If applicable, your current condition and how any ongoing injuries have affected your life;
- Your total medical bills;
- And any other miscellaneous issues that may be relevant.
Every case’s demand will be different, of course. And there are often what I call ‘curveballs’ or ‘twists’ in the case ― in other words, the unexpected events or details that weren’t foreseeable. So, of course, this roadmap is subject to change and is only a very generalized framework.
Once the demand is ready, it’ll be sent to the liable insurance company. At that point, they usually take a minimum of one month to review it and come up with their response ― which, of course, is hopefully a settlement offer.
Once a settlement offer has been extended, it’s just a matter of communication and agreement.
So, our not-so-simple answer for “on average, how long will my case take from start to finish?” is “it depends on so many things that an attorney wrote a blog entry about it, and even then, there’s no set answer.”
Can this happen faster or differently? Absolutely. A smaller case with fewer records that come in faster could potentially progress faster. And, of course, a case can progress more slowly based on any number of factors ― such as delays in medical records coming in, insurance companies responding, things getting lost in the mail, global pandemics, or unforeseen settlement talk difficulties. And we haven’t even discussed the possibility of what one does if the liable insurance company doesn’t offer you enough or anything at all. That’s a whole other blog entry for another time.
Keep in mind, of course, that every case is different, and nothing above constitutes a guarantee as to the process. But, if nothing else, think of the above and realize that it’s probably how your attorney thinks about the progression of your case. It’s not about time as much as it is about doing what needs to be done. Only once everything is properly prepared can the claims be submitted for settlement negotiations. There’s no shortcut to a properly prepared case.
If you have been injured due to the fault of another, contact Cohen, Feeley, Altemose & Rambo at (610) 625-2100. Our consultations are always free ― and ‘free’ is a small price to pay for peace of mind.