Visitor Question

Average time to reach a settlement after medical treatment is completed?

Submitted By: Anonymous (USA)

I was in a rear end collision where a ticket was issued to other driver. I have completed 2.5 months in physical therapy and sought chiropractic care for the same duration. The settlement negotiations are about to begin in earnest and I would like to know what to expect.

Can you describe the process for reaching a settlement in this type of case? What is the average length of time to reach a settlement after medical treatment is completed? Thanks for any information you can give.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Anonymous,

If you are represented by an attorney be sure to follow his or her advice. If not, here’s a summary of the settlement process, the duration of which can vary dramatically from case to case…

First make sure the insurance company claims adjuster has the following:

-All of your medical bills and all medical and chiropractic records;

-Copies of all receipts for all of your “out of pocket” expenses such as prescription and over the counter medications, medical assist devices, parking receipts when you traveled to and from your medical and chiropractic treatments, and even an amount for the gasoline used traveling to and from treatment; and

-Documentation of your lost wages.

The adjuster will review all of the above. Once she does she’ll contact you in an attempt to minimize your damages, in effect “low-balling” your claim and settlement amount.

Consider the offer. Your job is to counter-offer with a higher multiple. For instance, if the adjuster offers you 1.5x your medical bills you might consider counter-offering at 4x to 5x. Be sure to send your counter-offer in writing.

The adjuster will call you back anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks after receiving your counter offer. She will again give you reasons your claim isn’t worth more than her original offer. The adjuster will raise her offer to a slightly higher amount. The adjuster may talk about her “authority.” That’s supposed to be the maximum amount she has prior approval to offer. That’s probably not true, and is a tactic often employed by adjusters to make the victims believe they have to settle for some amount less than the “approval” or “authority amount.”

Make sure you describe the pain and suffering you endured as a result of her insured’s negligence. It’s entirely up to you to convince the adjuster your pain and suffering is worth much more than she is offering. Don’t let her bully or provoke you. Stay calm and professional at all times. Make your next counter offer in writing.

Eventually you and the adjuster will come to an agreement. You probably won’t be happy with the adjuster’s last offer(s) – most victims never are.

Once your claim is settled you’ll receive the check along with a Release. Read the Release closely. If all is correct then sign and return it. The check is then yours.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: November 2, 2012

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