How Long Does it Take to Negotiate a Personal Injury Settlement?
An auto accident can happen in an instant, but it may take considerably longer to negotiate a personal injury settlement after the fact. It's important to remember that you don't have to accept the very first settlement offer you're given. You can instead spend time negotiating an amount that will be sufficient for lost wages, medical bills, and any other treatments that may be needed in the future.
The negotiation process involves first sending a demand letter to the insurance company with the amount you're seeking. You'll then wait to hear back from the insurance adjuster who evaluated your claim, received in the form of a counteroffer. Below, we'll provide a general timeline for negotiating a personal injury settlement, though keep in mind that your case may take longer if it is very complex.
What Does The Negotiation Process Look Like?
It can take weeks or even months for an insurance company to contact you regarding the settlement. There are a variety of reasons this can happen, including injuries keeping you in the hospital for long periods, or a needed investigation into the auto accident to determine who was at fault. This is especially common if multiple vehicles were involved in the accident.
You may also receive a reservation of rights letter from the insurance company at this time. This is no cause for concern and simply states that they are conducting a further investigation into the matter. Once you are officially offered a claim, you have the opportunity to refuse it. Should you refuse, this marks the start of the negotiation process.
To negotiate, you'll need to send a demand letter with the amount you're seeking to the insurance company. Be sure to include any details you want the adjuster to be aware of when reviewing the case. The adjuster will then confirm that they received your letter. When you're contacted with a counteroffer, you can either accept it or refuse and continue the negotiation process.
The Bottom Line
It's a good idea to be as prepared as possible to defend your position, what your injuries were, what medical treatments you had, and similar topics, as these may be called into question. Negotiation can also be applied to other types of personal injury claims, such as slip and fall accidents. In fact, a full 22% of slip/fall accidents result in over 31 days spent out of work, and so are a great candidate for negotiation.