How Long Does It Take To Get A Personal Injury Settlement Check in Missouri?
Ryan Bradley | November 25, 2022 | Personal Injury
It typically takes a few weeks to a few months to settle a Missouri personal injury claim. Nevertheless, personal injury claims do not resolve themselves—you must fight for them. Even then, progress can seem painfully slow unless you know how to pressure the opposing party (usually an insurance company).
What Are Some Potential Obstacles To Settlement?
You might face numerous obstacles to settling your case. These obstacles might delay settlement or threaten your ability to settle the case at all. Following is a description of some of the obstacles you might face.
The Size of Your Claim
People are much more reluctant to pay a seven-figure claim than a four-figure claim. They will fight hard to only pay a large claim if your case is airtight. Even then, you might experience unjustified delays. A large claim for pain and suffering, for example, can significantly increase the value of your claim while introducing ambiguity that the opposing party can exploit.
The Complexity of Your Claim
The sheer complexity of your claim can delay settlement. Establishing all of the facts you need to prove liability can take months. Additionally, complexity can give the opposing party more possible defenses and objections. Delays are particularly likely if you file against more than one defendant or if you need to rely on experts to establish your claim.
The Need for Expert Witnesses
Some claims, such as medical malpractice and product liability claims, are so complex that an expert must help resolve them. Although expert witnesses can be useful at trial, they can be even more useful at the settlement table. Your lawyer can hire an expert witness to study your claim and issue an opinion, which you can then present to the other side during settlement negotiations. However, they might counter with their own experts.
The Severity of Your Injuries
It is usually best to wait until you reach Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI) to begin negotiating your claim. MMI is the point in your recovery process where further medical treatment is unlikely to improve your condition.
Usually, it is best to wait until you reach MMI before calculating the value of your claim so that you will know how much money to demand for medical expenses. Any delay in reaching MMI will delay the resolution of your claim.
Insurance Company Bad Faith Practices
Insurance companies are in business to make money, not to pay claims. Paying claims is something they do because they have to, not because they want to. Unfortunately, some insurance companies rely on tactics to deny your claim or minimize its value. They might intentionally delay settlement, for example, while waiting for the statute of limitations deadline to arrive.
The Need for Litigation
One way of fighting back against insurance company tactics is to file a lawsuit (even if you still desire a settlement). This will call the insurance company’s bluff, beat the statute of limitations deadline, and get you access to the court-supervised pretrial discovery process. During the discovery process, you can demand evidence from the insurance company that they might have been withholding from you.
If the insurance company’s behavior has been outrageous, you might even want to file an additional claim for bad faith.
Personal Injury Settlement and Disbursement of Funds
Once you have drafted the settlement agreement, a few steps remain before any money goes into your pocket:
- Both parties review and sign the settlement agreement. There might be some last-minute negotiations over wording.
- The defendant or their insurance company issues your lawyer a check for the full settlement amount.
- Your lawyer deposits the settlement check into their client escrow account.
- Your lawyer deducts their legal fee, case expenses, and other appropriate deductions. You might need to pay off a medical lien, for example.
- Your lawyer distributes any remaining amount to you.
If the opposing party delays payment after you reach a settlement agreement, you can sue them for breach of contract.
A St. Louis Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help Expedite Your Claim and Reach a Favorable Settlement
Insurance companies love clients who represent themselves because they can easily take advantage of them. However, a skilled personal injury lawyer knows how to stand their ground against stingy insurance companies. They also know how to expedite the settlement process while maximizing the amount of your claim.
Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm For Help Today
For more information, please contact Bradley Law Personal Injury Lawyers at your nearest location to schedule a free case evaluation today.
St. Louis Office
1430 Washington Ave Suite #226 St. Louis, MO 63103
Kansas City Office
1509 NE Parvin Rd, Suite A., Kansas City, MO 64116
Or if you would prefer to reach out to us online, please visit our contact us page.