I am often asked by clients how long it will take to complete their case. It is a tough question to answer and much of the time depends on how long it takes for an injury to heal.
For minor injuries such as sprains and strains, it may only take a month or two to heal; but for more serious automobile accident injuries such as fractures or herniated discs, treatment may last years.
Generally, the process is as follows:
- Client treats and either gets 100% better or reaches the point of maximum medical improvement. That can be a few weeks to over a year.
- We collect medical records and bills while the client is treating, and collect any outstanding records and bills when the client has completed treatment. This step is generally completed within 30 days, depending on the doctors’ offices.
- We review the records and write a demand letter to the appropriate insurance company. This takes one to two weeks.
- The insurer reviews the demand package and makes an offer. This step varies on the complexity of the medical records and the workload of the individual insurance adjustors. Usually, it takes the insurer 4-8 weeks to make an offer.
- If the client accepts, the insurer send a release and eventually a check. This usually takes 30 days to complete.
Considering the times above, if a client has a minor sprain or strain, then as case make take 6 months. If the medical providers are slow in providing records or if the insurer is slow in producing records, then a simple case could take close to a year to close.
Of course, if the insurer denies the claim or makes an offer that is not worth accepting, then we have to file a lawsuit. In district court, it takes around 3 months to get a trial date. In the circuit court, depending on the county, a trial date may be 12 to 18 months away.
By Craig I. Meyers, Esq.