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How Long Does It Take to Settle A Personal Injury Claim?

Almost all victims of Chattanooga or Georgia car accidents want to know one thing.  How long will it take Dennis and King to get them a settlement check in the average Georgia or Chattanooga (Tennessee) car wreck case?

At Dennis and King, we understand why you need the answer to this question.  You want to put the trauma, pain and aggravation of your car crash behind you.  And, like most people, you want to get as much money as you can for your car accident injuries as quickly as you can.

What are the four steps to getting a good settlement offer for your car crash injuries?

  • You must have completed all of your medical treatment so that you have reached maximum medical improvement.  Treatment for your accident related injuries may be as short as one day or several years.  However, if you suffered something called “soft tissue injuries” from your Chattanooga car wreck, the usual treatment time is about six weeks to four months.
  • Dennis and King always orders your initial medical bills as soon as you hire us to represent you.  Once you have finished treatment, for your Georgia or Tennessee car wreck, Dennis and King will order the rest of your medical bills and medical records.  If you lost time from work, Dennis and King will verify in writing how much time you lost.  The final collection of medical records usually takes about four weeks.
  • Once we get all of your medical records, bills and lost wage report, we write a very detailed letter, describing your injury and the pain and inconvenience you suffered because of your Tennessee or Georgia car wreck.  This takes about a week. 
  • The insurance company responds to our demand for settlement for your car wreck case with a first offer in about two weeks to thirty days.

Let us take a closer look at these four factors determining how quickly a Tennessee or Georgia car wreck case to settle.

You Must Finish Treatment or Reach Maximum Medical Improvement 

This means one of two things:

  1. Either you have fully recovered from your car wreck injuries and need no more treatment; OR
  2. You have reached maximum medical improvement.  This means that you might need medical check-ups from time to time for your car wreck injuries, but there is nothing more doctors can do to improve your condition.

What If You Can’t Financially Wait to Finish Treatment or Reach Maximum Medical Improvement

Some clients simply cannot afford to “wait and see” whether or not their car wreck injuries will require more advanced treatment, like surgery.  Unfortunately, more advanced treatment like surgery can really slow down settlement of a car wreck or other personal injury claim.

The Tennessee and Georgia accident lawyers of Dennis and King have an alternative solution to this problem.  We simply ask the doctor to give us an estimate of the cost of the surgery or other recommended procedure.  This can really speed up the settlement process when we have a client facing surgery or more advanced treatment for their car wreck related injuries.  

The key to settling quickly even though surgery is involved is knowing the doctors treating your car wreck related injuries. Because Dennis and King are not based; in Atlanta or Alabama like some of the big TV “settlement mills”, We know many of the doctors in the Chattanooga area, and more importantly, we know how to reach the doctor to get a report that will convince the insurance company it needs to include these future expenses in the settlement amount.

Getting All of Your Medical Bills and Records

What is the key to getting your case to settle as quickly as possible?  Having an experienced Chattanooga accident lawyer like Tricia Dennis or Russell King personally working as hard as possible to collect your medical bills and records and getting them to the insurance company as quickly as possible.

If your Chattanooga car accident lawyer is going to settle your case quickly and for the most money your car wreck attorney must gather all of your wreck related medical bills and records.  Unlike some law firms, Dennis and King believe it is their personal responsibility to gather quickly your medical bills and records.

Your medical bills and records are one of the main keys to a fast and generous settlement.  The medical records must show in detail, every injury your Georgia or Tennessee car wreck caused.  The insurance company bases most of its evaluation of your car wreck case and how a doctor described your car wreck injuries.

Are the Records Always Enough to Persuade an Insurance Company to Pay Out a Generous Settlement?

Maybe.  In most cases, the doctor’s findings and injury diagnoses in his or her medical records are enough.  However, sometimes, we need the doctor to supplement his record, such as stating future surgery is more likely than not or emphasizing the cause of the injury is the car wreck.

How Long After Dennis and King Sends a Demand Letter/Package, Will the Insurance Company Make an Offer?

After Dennis and King sends the settlement demand with all of your medical bills and records and any other information highlighting your loss, the insurance company adjuster will take a few weeks to evaluate your claim.  For most claims, this will be about two to three weeks.  At Dennis and King, part of the personal service we offer is aggressively following up with the adjuster to keep your case front and center, and moving along.  

How long can the insurance company take to respond to our settlement demand?  Unfortunately, in Tennessee, there is no rule requiring the insurance company to respond.  In Georgia, the insurance company must respond to the demand within 30 days.

Keep in mind, in both Tennessee and Georgia, insurance companies owe very few duties to car accident victims that are not their own insureds.  The goal of all insurance companies is to pay you as little as possible.  They don’t have to be fair with you, no matter what their TV commercials say.

How Long Does Settlement Take If My Car Wreck Injury is Serious?

We realize that if you have read this much, you will wish to settle your case quickly.  But, if you have a very serious car wreck injury, you probably will need to sue the driver to get the most money for your case.

At Dennis and King, we never insist that a client file a lawsuit, even though we tend to get a bigger fee if you do sue.  (Remember, we work for you.)  We understand that sometimes a client needs to get their money quickly.  Just understand, generally, the quicker you settle your serious personal injury case, the more money you will leave on the table.  When Dennis and King files a lawsuit (and that is who you get, Tricia Dennis and Russell King—not some kid just out of law school like the ”settlement mills”)  we often get an offer that is many times more that the offer made by the insurance company before we filed suit.  Lawsuits in serious injury cases puts fear into an insurance company because they are afraid of what a jury may do.  This fear of the unknown can help persuade an insurance company to pay more settlement money for your car wreck case than they would have paid before filing suit.

What Should Happen When the Insurance Company Makes a Settlement Offer?

We first need to tell you what should not happen.

  • First: you should never take the insurance company’s first offer unless it is for policy limits.  
  • Second: you should never allow your lawyer to take any settlement without first getting your approval.

One of the worst practices of a big TV “settlement mill”  is accepting an offer without getting the client’s permission first.

When the insurance company tells us that an offer is the final offer and if we want more, we will have to sue in court, we bring our client in to discuss the settlement offer.  We explain, in detail, the pros and cons of settling your Tennessee or Georgia car wreck case with the insurance company.  Then, we do what you tell us to do, because, we work for you.

What If You Decide to Settle Your Case?  How Long Before You Get the Settlement Check?

Some insurance companies use every excuse to delay getting a check to the injured car wreck victim.  You need your Chattanooga car wreck lawyer to push the insurance company to get the check to you as quickly as possible.  We know you need your money quickly.  So we push the insurance company hard to get the check out as soon as we accept the settlement.

How Will Settlement Happen if You Filed Suit and Your Case Is In Court?

Once you file a lawsuit in your car wreck case, it can settle anytime. However, there are a few points on the road to court when settlement is most likely.

  • Right after you or your lawyer filed suit. Now the insurance company knows how serious you are with some insurers, this can lead to an immediate and meaningful increase in your offer.
  • A pre-trial conference right after the discovery phase is over. This is when your lawyer should propose mediating your case.
  • On the courthouse steps. Insurance companies are most reasonable when trial is about to take place.

Remember, a serious injury case can settle anytime. These are just the three most usual times for settlement.

How Long Does It Take to Settle a Personal Injury Claim Chattanooga

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