Your finances may feel like they are in limbo when you are waiting for a premises liability settlement. As medical bills pile up and the time you spend away from work increases, you may get anxious about finalizing your case as soon as possible. A premises liability lawyer can help you get through the process as efficiently as possible, and may even be able to help you defer your medical bills if necessary.
Ask a Premises Liability Lawyer: How Long Does a Case Take to Settle?
There is no way to make a guess regarding exactly how long your case will take without knowing the details, however, most premises liability cases resolve in less than two years. If your case progresses smoothly without many delays, you may receive your payout in just a few months. On average, you can expect to get a settlement check within six weeks of accepting the amount being offered by the insurance company.
How Is a Premises Liability Case Finalized?
Securing a Settlement
A premises liability case is most likely to end with a settlement offer from the liable party’s insurance company. The steps you and your lawyer need to go through before achieving a settlement offer are:
- Assessing your eligibility for compensation
- Investigating your accident and gathering evidence
- Totaling the cost of your injury
- Filing a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company
- Negotiating for a fair settlement
Going to Trial
If the insurance company is unwilling to settle and your lawyer litigates successfully for you, you could receive a court-ordered payout instead of a settlement offer. In that event, your case will go through these additional steps:
- The court will notify the defendant that you intend to sue
- The defendant will acknowledge that he or she has been served
- Both side’s lawyers will go through a discovery phase that involves exchanging evidence
- The court will set a date for the trial
- The trial will progress until there is a verdict (usually less than one month from the start date)
The opportunity to resolve your case with a settlement does not end after the court has served the liable party with your intent to sue. At any time before the trial, the defendant may negotiate with you to accept an offer in exchange for dropping the case. Your lawyer can help facilitate this kind of arrangement during the discovery phase.
Deadlines and Delays
Some aspects of the timeline for your claim are under your control, while others are not. The length of time it takes to resolve your case is often determined by how quickly the insurance company, the court, and the other parties involved can fulfill their responsibilities.
If you have a complex case or lack readily available evidence, your lawyer may need to spend some extra time investigating the accident, interviewing witnesses, and preparing your arguments. Almost all claimants will need access to their medical records, and the hospital might not send them out immediately. Your schedule will also be partially contingent on the availability of witnesses, who will need to make an appointment to meet with your lawyer.
Getting a Response From the Insurance Company
In Texas, the insurance company has up to 15 days to acknowledge receipt of a claim, and another 15 days to determine whether or not they will issue a payout. With permission, they can extend their investigation period to a maximum of 45 days.
Going Through the Court Process
If your case goes to trial, further time will be spent allowing the defendant to respond to the documents they are served with and giving the lawyers an opportunity to complete the discovery phase. Once all parties are ready to proceed with the trial, getting a date will depend on the court’s availability. While unusual, unforeseen circumstances such as severe weather events can cause the date to be rescheduled.
Why Should You Hold Out for a Fair Settlement?
Private property owners have a legal responsibility to protect lawful visitors by taking reasonable safety precautions on their premises. If you were injured on someone else’s property, you should not have to pay for your medical expenses and other damages out of pocket. A successful settlement could yield thousands or even millions of dollars.
The first settlement offer you receive might not be the best. It is always advisable to review the terms and the amount of any offers you receive with a lawyer who can negotiate for more money, if necessary. If you are concerned about paying for your medical bills in the interim, a premises liability lawyer in Houston, TX can advise you on how to use your health insurance policy or offer to pay your provider out of the settlement.
While pursuing compensation in a premises liability case takes some time, the proceedings will not go on indefinitely. Working with a competent lawyer can help you maximize your payout in a minimal amount of time by tackling each step of the process thoroughly and efficiently.