When it comes to determining how long a settlement negotiation will take, the answer can vary. The average settlement negotiation takes one to three months once all relevant variables are presented. However, some settlements can take much longer to resolve.
By partnering with skilled legal counsel, you can speed up the negotiation process and secure compensation faster. A personal injury lawyer collects evidence to build a strong case and corresponds with insurance companies on your behalf. An attorney will navigate your settlement and pursue maximum compensation for your injuries.
Negotiations Start With a Demand Letter
The negotiating process starts with a written demand letter. The party filing the claim informs the liable party (or the liable party’s insurance provider) that they would like to reach a fair settlement. The demand letter will typically include:
- The amount of money the victim has incurred in damages
- The total compensation the victim is seeking
- Evidence or accident details that support their claim
Insurance companies may take weeks, and sometimes months, to respond to a demand letter. This could be due to a high volume of claims to process or the insurance company attempting to deny the claim altogether. If this happens to you, an experienced attorney will follow up with the insurance company to ensure you receive fair compensation.
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The Settlement Negotiation Timeline
In the majority of negotiations, there is a period of back-and-forth between the victim (or their legal representative) and the insurance company. If the insurance company responds to the demand letter, they usually include an offer lower than the original settlement.
You do not have to agree to the counteroffer. Instead, your lawyer will provide a counteroffer. An attorney may gather more documents (such as medical receipts and repair appraisals) to demonstrate why you deserve a higher settlement.
The more back-and-forth with an insurance company, the longer the settlement negotiations take. If the two parties cannot agree, then the negotiations will go to court.
Why Can Negotiations Take a Long Time?
Negotiating anything can take a long time. When it comes to accident claims, an insurance company will seek to pay as little as possible. If you are willing to accept less than what you deserve, the negotiation can end quickly. But a skilled lawyer will stand up for you and fight for fair compensation.
In addition to counteroffers, a settlement can take a long time due to stall tactics, medical treatment, difficulty finding qualified legal representation, and tedious court procedures.
Stall tactics, also known as hard-bargaining tactics, extend the negotiation timeline. For example, an insurance provider will use stall tactics to exhaust a victim and avoid paying a higher settlement for an accident claim. Examples of hard-bargaining tactics include:
- Commitment tactics: An insurance adjuster says their hands are tied or they are limited in what they can offer you for a settlement.
- Take-it-or-leave-it negotiation strategy: An insurance provider says their counteroffer is the only option available.
- Belittling your alternatives: An insurance representative talks down your damages and tells you that your settlement is not worth as much as you think.
Ongoing medical care can delay your ability to start negotiations. You never want to resolve your claim until you can calculate all of your medical expenses. If you settle your case too quickly, you will have to cover additional medical treatments out of your own pocket.
Courts Take a Long Time
Filing court cases is a long process. Therefore, if your negotiations resort to a lawsuit in court, expect delays. The courts are often very busy with a large caseload year-round. Your case may get bogged down by others, which lengthens the time it takes to receive compensation.
Finding a Qualified Lawyer to Represent You
Unless you already possess extensive legal knowledge, you want a skilled attorney on your side during the settlement negotiation process. Legal experts will assess your claim, gather evidence, and hold insurance companies accountable for the settlement you deserve.
Finding a skilled lawyer can be difficult, but not when you trust our team. We are the experienced legal professionals you can trust to fight for your rights. Our testimonials speak for themselves, and we have the bandwidth to take on your accident case.
How Can I Speed Up the Negotiations Process?
There are a few things you can do on your end to speed up the negotiation process. They include:
- Staying organized with receipts, medical reports, and other documents that serve as evidence for your claim
- Being consistent when giving statements
- Knowing how much you are seeking in financial compensation and then sticking to that number
- Being calm and resisting the urge to argue or give up
- Partnering with a qualified lawyer right away
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How to Proceed if Both Parties Cannot Agree on a Settlement
If a reasonable amount of time has passed and both parties continue to disagree on a fair settlement, they reach an impasse.
When this occurs, the victim’s attorney will file an official lawsuit with the local courts. From there, the settlement will be decided during trial. However, it is common for the parties to reach a settlement in the time before the trial.
Let Our Team Negotiate a Fair Settlement for You
The ASK LLP lawyers have years of experience negotiating settlements for clients, and we are ready to get to work on your claim. We are confident that we can reach your settlement quickly and help you get the justice you deserve. Contact us now to schedule a free case evaluation.