Experienced Injury Attorneys Fighting on Behalf of Victims throughout Washington
You are severely injured in an accident.
Your sick leave has run dry, you do not have any form of income coming in, and more medical costs are around the corner. The recovery time for your injuries keeps extending, and you are unlikely ever to work as you did again. By this point, you are desperate for compensation.
You have taken all the necessary steps, filed your claim, and your attorney and the insurance company are starting negotiations. So, you might wonder how much longer you must wait before you have a financial reprieve.
Sadly, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all answer here. For some, negotiations are as quick as a week, while other times it could be months of endless negotiations.
To get a better idea of how long you might wait for compensation, you must consider what goes into the negotiation process — and what your attorney is up against.
Is There a Time Limit on Negotiations?
There is no time limit on the negotiations. The law does not say that you or the insurer has only so much time to reach a settlement. However, there is the statute of limitations that limits how long you have to file a personal injury lawsuit. Therefore, if your attorney feels negotiations are getting nowhere and the deadline is nearing, they may file a lawsuit to speed the process up.
The lawsuit, however, opens up time limits — but not necessarily in your favor. In this case, the law allows both sides a select number of days to respond to a complaint and summons, to schedule court dates, and so forth. So, the time for your case might extend — even though the lawsuit will eventually compel the insurer to offer a fair settlement.
The Insurance Company Preys on Desperate Victims
The insurance company wants you to take the first offer they give, and in that case, it would be a short process. However, they are banking on the fact that you are willing to take any offer tossed your wait, instead of waiting for a better deal in negotiations. They know you are low on funds, have more costs coming your way, and they hope that your financial distress compels you to take anything they offer — regardless if it is what you deserve.
Insurers Cannot Act in Bad Faith
While an insurance company can play the numbers, they cannot act in bad faith. In fact, Washington has laws that prevent insurers from unreasonably denying your claim or offering unreasonably low settlements with no reason for doing so.
Therefore, your attorney may need to file a bad faith claim against the insurer if he or she feels they are unnecessarily drawing out the negotiation and settlement process.
For an Accurate Estimate Have a Consult with an Attorney
To accurately determine how long you could wait for an agreement, meet with a personal injury attorney. Attorneys with years of experience can offer an educated estimate as to how long it will take so that you are better prepared.