It can take anywhere from months to even years to settle with an insurance carrier after a pedestrian accident. One of the most important things to keep in mind in this situation is that Florida law limits the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit for personal injury compensation. If you miss the deadline, the insurance company does not have to pay you any money.
Sometimes an insurance claims adjuster will drag out the negotiation phase, making the injured person think that the insurer will pay a settlement. The plaintiff might not realize that the clock is ticking every day, beginning on the date of the pedestrian accident.
Once the deadline passes, the adjuster suddenly breaks off all contact and ignores your telephone calls and emails. People who try to handle their injury cases without a lawyer often fall into this trap. That’s why it’s also important to know how long it takes to settle with an insurance carrier after a pedestrian accident.
How a Lawyer Can Protect Your Right to Compensation
When you work with a lawyer on your injury claim, the lawyer will calendar the date of the accident and the deadline for filing a lawsuit on your behalf. If the statutes of limitations, or time limit, is nearing and there is no settlement with the insurance carrier, the lawyer can protect your case by filing a personal injury petition with the court. Then, the lawyer can continue negotiating with the insurer after filing the lawsuit.
Stages of Settlement
There is a wide range of time frames for the various stages of settlement in these types of cases, which influences how long it takes to settle with an insurance carrier after a pedestrian accident. Every case is different. After calling the police and seeking medical attention, some of the typical steps include:
- Initial contact with the insurer. After the pedestrian accident, the at-fault party’s insurance company will assign a claims adjuster who will likely contact you. The adjuster will ask about your injuries and medical treatment. Usually, this contact happens within a few days to a week of the accident. The adjuster will probably ask you to give a recorded statement. You should not provide a recorded statement without your lawyer’s involvement.
- Exchange of information. The adjuster will ask you to sign a release of medical records so that he can obtain your treatment information, including billing. This data gives the adjuster a ballpark idea of how much your claim might be. He will notify his supervisor and get instructions on whether to deny the claim or settle. If the insurer’s policyholder was at fault, the adjuster will receive authorization for settle for up to a certain amount. This stage can take a few weeks.
- Negotiation. After you complete your medical treatment, the adjuster might make a settlement offer. You should not settle your injury claim before you complete your medical treatment, so the length of your medical care will be a factor in how long this stage takes.
- Filing a lawsuit. Your lawyer can file a lawsuit for you if the case does not settle. The negotiations often continue after the filing of the case. Pre-trial discovery, with depositions, interrogatories, and exchange of documents, can take up to a year or longer.
- Trial. It can take a couple of years for a case to reach the point of trial. The lawyers can still settle the case before or during the trial, or before the judge makes a ruling.
All these factors influence how long it takes to settle with an insurance carrier after a pedestrian accident. It’s important to get started now in pursuing compensation.
At the Montero Law Center, we help people who get hurt because of the carelessness of others. Call us today at (954) 767-6500 for your free consultation.