If you or a loved one sustained an injury because another person or party acted negligently, you may wish to recover compensation from him or her. Said compensation can be used to cover your medical expenses and costs of living while you recover and try to get back on your feet. However, while the law is generous in that it does provide the option to sue for remuneration, the judicial system is notorious for doling out justice in a painfully slow manner. That said, while we would love to tell you that your Oklahoma personal injury case will settle in a few weeks' time, the truth is that it may take months or even years. Just how long your case takes to settle depends on a number of factors, which we explore below.
Maximum Medical Improvement
How long your case will take to settle all depends on how long it takes you to reach the point of maximum medical improvement. MMI refers to the point at which your doctor determines that medical intervention can no longer benefit you. Sometimes MMI means you are fully recovered while other times it means you will be forced to live with some disability or condition which the accident caused.
It is essential that you wait to reach the point of maximum medical improvement before you settle because, if you never fully recover, you may require lifelong therapy, care, or treatment. Such services are costly, and the other party should have to pay for them. If you settle before you reach the point of MMI, you may forfeit your chance at compensation for future care.
Your Case Involves "Big Money"
If your injuries are severe, your claim is likely for a large sum of money. Insurers are unwilling to pay out large claims until they have done their due diligence. Due diligence involves investigating every aspect of the case, including the accounts from both the victim and defendant, medical records, witness testimony, police reports if applicable, and even property damage. In these cases, an insurer will not be prepared to settle until it has established the following:
● Your injuries are just as bad as you claim them to be;
● There is no good defense to the case; and
● Your credibility is solid.
If your case is solid, the insurer may try to toy with you to see if you will settle for less. The company may do this by delaying payment of your claim, being unavailable for communication, or convincing you your case is not as sound as your attorney led you to believe.
Your Case is Difficult to Prove
In many instances, claims take so long to settle because they are difficult to prove. Every case hinges on liability, and if either party has trouble proving this element, the insurer will be unlikely to make a reasonable offer.
Alternatively, there may be an issue regarding damages. For instance, if you seek compensation for pain and suffering but your social media accounts indicate you have been living your best life since the incident, the insurer will not only assume you are lying about living in pain and it will question the rest of your claim, as well.
Speeding Up Your Claim
Though you should never try to speed up the settlement of your claim by accepting the first reasonable offer you get, there are ways to keep your case on track and moving as swiftly as possible. An experienced Oklahoma personal injury attorney can help you explore your options and advise you on what and what not to do to settle your claim for a fair amount in as little time as possible. Contact BDIW Law today to learn more.