After an accident, victims and their families usually feel incredible financial stress. Suddenly, you have mammoth medical bills, and other out-of-pocket expenses can strain your budget. Many accident victims are in too much pain to go back to work, so they are unable to bring home any money to contribute to their family’s bills. You need a financial settlement, but how long will you need to wait to receive one?
Correll Law Firm has negotiated favorable compensation for many clients injured in an accident. This is a complicated, detailed process, and the path isn’t the same for everyone. In some situations, you can settle your case in as little as six months. In others, you might wait a year or more to finally get the compensation and justice you deserve. Below, our Winchester personal injury lawyer highlights the different circumstances that go into determining how long you’ll wait. Please reach out if you have any questions.
Is Fault for the Accident Clear?
Under Virginia law, you can only receive compensation if you can prove the defendant was at fault for your injuries. In a slip and fall, fault exists when a business owner fails to use reasonable care to keep the property safe. In a car crash, a driver is at fault when they are the one responsible for the collision.
Fault is sometimes crystal clear. For example, surveillance video in a pharmacy might show that you slipped on some water spilled by a store clerk. The clerk spilled the liquid and is on notice that he should clean it up. But fault is often unclear, or stories conflict about what happened.
For example, you could have been rear-ended in a parking lot, but the driver behind claims you were brake-checking. Or a box truck might have clipped your car, but the driver claims you cut him off.
Determining fault can take months of compiling and sifting through evidence. We look at:
- Any video footage of the accident
- Physical evidence, such as damage to your car and the other vehicle
- Eyewitness testimony of what happened
Many personal injury cases involve some back-and-forth with the defendant’s insurance company about fault. Until we decide this issue, there is no settlement.
Do You Have Unusual Injuries?
Another factor that delays settlement is an unusual injury. You might have extreme pain, like complex regional pain syndrome, but the defense doesn’t believe you are in as much pain as you claim. Fully documenting your injuries—including pain and suffering or emotional distress—can take time. You might need to meet with other medical professionals to help us build the evidentiary basis of your claim.
How Long Does it Take to Reach Maximum Medical Improvement?
As part of a settlement, anyone injured in a Winchester personal injury case can seek money for medical bills to treat their injuries. It is vital to determine how much care you receive before negotiating. You want to receive as much compensation for medical care as possible.
Consider the following. You suffer a serious car accident which causes whiplash and neck pain. You quickly settle your case in 3 months. However, after 5 months, you realize you need surgery on your neck to fix a fracture. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to get the defendant to pay for the surgery since you already settled the case and released your claim.
This is one reason to wait. You want to see how much medical care you needed in total, so you can submit a reasonable request. Although it’s difficult to wait when finances are tight, it’s best to get a fair settlement all at once.
Does the Defendant Allege You Were Contributorily Negligent?
If you were negligent—even a little bit—you will not be able to bring a claim for compensation. This is the law of contributory negligence in Virginia. It is very severe. Even if someone else is 99% at fault, you are barred if your own negligence contributed to an accident. Other states have sensibly moved away from such an extreme rule, but Virginia has refused to budge.
The defendant might claim you were driving while distracted or ignored a sign telling you to be careful on property. Those facts, if proven, could result in no financial recovery. Your lawyer must fully understand the accident to argue authoritatively that you were not in any way responsible.
Correll Law Firm Can Speed Up Your Settlement
Someone trying to negotiate with a lawyer is at an extreme disadvantage. It might sound easy—fill out a couple of forms and wait for a check to arrive—but insurance companies have grown large over the past 30 years by fighting tooth and nail against most claims. The sad reality is that you could easily end up with little money if you do not hire a lawyer.
Our personal injury lawyer knows how to light a fire under insurance companies while advocating for your rights at the same time. We know that some insurers act in bad faith. When they do, we can hold them accountable and seek even more compensation. When an insurance adjuster sees that you have hired our law firm, they know that you mean business.
We do everything possible to obtain a fair settlement in a reasonable amount of time. And if settlement is impossible—usually because the defendant refuses to admit fault—then we can file a lawsuit for damages in court. Let our firm present your side of the story and fight for compensation for your injuries.
Call Correll Law
Our Winchester personal injury lawyer founded his own firm to protect the rights of those injured in terrible accidents. He understands Virginia law on car wrecks, slip and falls, and other accidents like few lawyers in our part of the state. Ready to find out more? Call the law firm today and schedule a free consultation to review the critical facts of your case. If you like what you hear, we can get to work on your case.