How Long Does It Take To Get A Settlement?

So you've recently been in a slip-and-fall accident in St. Louis. If you are like most people, you will have already contacted one of Missouri and Illinois' leading personal injury attorneys (like the ones at Halvorsen Klote and begun to build a case against those responsible for your injuries. If your case is like the vast majority of personal injury cases, you will reach a settlement for your pain and suffering.

It's entirely natural for you to expect to leave the conference room after your settlement with a check in your hand and ready to go straight to the bank. However, that is rarely the case, and today our firm will hope to explain why you may not see your settlement money for several weeks. Contact us online if you have any other questions about getting a settlement, or if you have recently been in a personal injury accident and want to speak to an attorney.

Why Settlements Take Time

Arguably the single biggest factor that influences how long it takes for you to receive a personal injury settlement is how much you were hurt, and, if you were in a car accident, the extent of damage to your vehicle. Smaller accidents with little or no physical injuries, and only minor cosmetic or body damage to a car, usually get settled quickly because all parties can easily agree about the extent of the accident and any treatment or repairs required. The fact that many of these settlements are smaller is important as well: insurance firms are usually publically-traded companies, after all, and want to avoid paying out huge sums of money as much as they possibly can.

However, after accidents that resulted in larger amounts of damage or more severe injuries, settlements not only become bigger but also take more time to be agreed upon--and then paid out. This is due to a number of factors, including:

  • Many personal injury lawyers will not make a settlement demand until you reach what's called "maximum medical improvement". This only happens once you've finished all your treatment, rehab, and therapy, and doctors have determined that you have recovered as much as they deem possible. This gives you the chance at a better settlement (since your attorney knows the full extent of your injuries, and thus the full account of your medical bills) but naturally extends the time until settlement negotiations begin.
  • When a personal injury lawsuit is first filed, each party can fully investigate the other side's legal claims, defense, and all pertinent evidence. This is called the "discovery phase" of a trial and can easily last a year or longer, depending on court schedules and how complex your case is.
  • After the settlement has been agreed upon, it usually takes even more time for money to be in your pocket. The average settlement takes about six weeks to be processed, and then several standard deductions must be made. Usually, these are to reimburse your expenses (medical bills, auto repairs, etc.) and then to pay various legal costs. In addition, your personal injury lawyer will take a previously-agreed amount (usually a percentage of the total) from the settlement as payment. Only after all outstanding bills, costs, and expenses have been paid do you ever receive a settlement.

Talk To Experienced St. Louis Personal Injury Lawyers

At Halvorsen Klote, our top-rated St. Louis personal injury attorneys understand that every case we take is unique, and that just because one of our clients gets a settlement quickly doesn't mean that your case will end the same way. Call us today at 877-51-HKLAW for answers to any question related to settlements, personal injury cases, or what you should do if you are ever in a car accident.