Frequently, a claimant that is consulting with a possible attorney poses this question: How long must I want to hear about an agreement on a settlement?
Factors that need to be considered by the same claimant:
Do you plan to hire an attorney? An experienced lawyer realizes that negotiations with the insurance company should not begin until the injured claimant has reached a level of maximum medical improvement. Personal injury lawyers in Edmonton are not in a great rush to settle a case, unless the client has healed completely.
Is it clear which party is at-fault? A driver that was rear-ended, or one that witnessed another motorist making a left-hand turn, without signaling first could probably claim that the other driver was at-fault. Still, an insurance company will do its best to offer evidence that the injured driver was at least partly responsible for the collision.
Have you collected all of the necessary documents? Does there appear to be a need for highly detailed documentation? All relevant papers should be made available to the defendant’s insurance company. The absence of a single document, or the submission of an uncompleted document could prolong the amount of time that must pass, before the insurer has offered to settle at a fair price.
Has a court date been scheduled? If a claimant moves forward with a lawsuit, then that can push an insurance company to reach an out-of-court agreement with the claimant that has filed the lawsuit. Obviously, that would reduce the time that the claimant must wait for his or her settlement money.
The implications of an agreement to settle
Claimants should not assume that just because an insurance adjuster has agreed to settle the dispute with a claimant, that action does not always signal the arrival of a check in the near future. Insurers always ask a claimant to sign a release, before they make plans to mail the promised compensation.
Insurers want a signed release, because that shows that the claimant will not seek more money from the insurance company for the same accident-caused injury. Lawyers counsel against signing any release unless the client/claimant knows for sure that his or her injury has been treated satisfactorily, and is no longer a problem.
A patient that has learned from the treating physician that he or she might need further treatments in the future should think twice before signing the requested release. If the claimant has a strong case, it might pay to delay settlement by threatening to file a lawsuit against the insurance company. As indicated above, that can push an insurer to work more closely with a claimant, especially one that feels as though he or she was cheated by the insurer’s tactics.