How Long Will My Injury Claim Take?
It’s Hard to Pay My Bills…How Long Does it Take to Get a Settlement?
When you first come in, the first step is to fill out a bunch of forms and answering a bunch of questions. And you’ll ask us a bunch of questions too which we will answer for you. Then we start the ball moving.
First, we send letters to insurance companies. We send a letter to your insurance company, to the all drivers’ insurance company, to health insurance companies, and we let everyone know that we’re your lawyers now and anything that they want to communicate they should communicate through us.
Once that initial flurry is done, then there is often a bunch of investigation that we have to do. We figure out what happened. Maybe we measure skid marks, take photos of things, then we talk to your doctors and help you through your medical treatment. But the question on the table here is: how long will my injury claim take?
And the truth is a lot of that is going to depend on how your medical treatment goes because the true legal part of the case doesn’t really start until you’re medically stationary. Medically stationary can mean one of two things. It hopefully its means you’re all better, back to 100 percent, back to where you were before you got injured. Often it doesn’t mean that unfortunately.
A lot of injuries never really completely heal so in that case medically stationary means when you’re medically stationary. When you’re about as good as you are going to get. For some people this might mean you’re now in a wheelchair for the rest of your life. For other people it might mean your back’s always going to hurt a little bit.
But once your medically stationary that’s typically when we send a demand letter. So the demand letter is a detailed letter that we write to the insurance company for the person who hurt you and it tells the insurance company what happened, whose fault it was, why it was their fault, and about your injuries and how this has affected your life and finally how much money they need to pay if they want to make this go away.
Once they get the demand letter, the negotiations starts. That can go quickly or it can be really drawn out and take a long time. Sometimes a negotiation will involve a disputed fact that we need to actually go and hire an expert to convince them all so it can drag out.
If we settle it at the demand stage, then a typical timeframe would be three to six months after you become medically stationary. It’s difficult to average. It can be quicker. It can be a lot longer. It really depends on circumstances.
If the case doesn’t settle at the demand stage then we file a lawsuit and then if it goes all the way through trial the time to trial here in Multnomah County in Portland is typically just about a year. In other counties it can be different and there are a whole host of tricks that the defense can use if they want to (and they often do) to delay the trial. So in bigger cases it can be a lot longer. It can be two years to trial.
Sometimes it can be three, four or five. Typically it’s a year, to a year and a half. That’s the typical timeframe to trial after the case is filed. So all told from the time you’re medically stationary it can be anywhere from three months to two years to settle your Portland personal injury case. That’s the typical time range.