Resolving a personal injury claim is often a long and difficult process. While you may be able to settle a minor claim within a matter of weeks, it is more common for a personal injury claim to take months or even years, especially in cases involving multiple parties and serious injuries. Therefore, in many situations, the responsible party’s insurance company has a significant amount of time to make even an initial settlement offer. On average, though, most claims are settled within one year to 18 months from the time of the accident.
Right after an accident, it is not unusual for a claims adjuster, or a representative of the insurance company, to contact you about the accident or your injuries. He or she may tell you that giving a recorded or written statement and submitting your medical bills and records to the insurance company will allow them to give you a settlement offer more quickly. However, you are not obligated to speak with the claims adjustor or give any information to the insurance company. In fact, in most cases, you should politely decline to speak with the insurance adjustor about the accident and speak to a qualified personal injury attorney instead.
You have three years from the date of the accident in which to file a lawsuit against the responsible party in order to seek compensation from your losses. If you do not receive an acceptable settlement offer from the insurance company during that three-year period, you must file a personal injury lawsuit with the court in order to preserve your right to pursue damages for your injuries. This is called a statute of limitations.
The vast majority of cases do end in settlement over time, even if three years has elapsed from the time of the accident and you have to file a lawsuit in order to meet the statute of limitations. All Wisconsin courts refer personal injury lawsuits to mediation, which is a type of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), or, more simply put, a way to settle your case outside of court. Both parties and their attorneys meet individually and together with a neutral third-party mediator, who tries to get both sides to compromise in order to reach a settlement.
When an accident causes serious injuries to you or a loved one, the impact can be devastating. Although some accidents are just that – accidents – others are caused by the negligence of another, such as an inattentive or distracted driver. Obtaining a settlement from the responsible driver can be more complex and take more time than you realize. If you are in this situation, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses. Contact Boller & Vaughan today and learn how our Wisconsin personal injury attorneys can advocate on your behalf.