If someone caused your injury, how long will it take to settle your personal injury case?
In this article, I’m going to answer that question in detail. I also made a video that answers this question.
You can watch it here:
Currently, that video has 198 comments on Youtube. I encourage you to read some of the comments (and my replies). This is because they contain valuable information about how long and injury claim takes to settle.
Most personal injury cases in Florida settle.
What does this mean?
It means that the injury case (or lawsuit) does not go to trial. This saves the injured person from paying higher attorney’s fees and costs.
If the case settles, the injured person doesn’t have to deal with the stress associated with a trial. He or she also gets to avoid the uncertainty of a trial.
This is true for all types of personal injury claims. For example, this includes motorcycle accident claims, car accident claims and much more.
There are many factors that may affect how long it may take to settle your personal injury case in Florida against the responsible parties for a fair amount.
There is no guarantee that your case settles. After handling personal injury claims for 16 years, client have asked me many times:
How long does an injury claim take to settle?
Here, I am going to give several real examples that show how long it may take to settle a car accident claim (or other case).
$100K Settlement in Under 4 Months
Sara was driving her car in North Miami Beach, Florida. Another car was heading in the opposite direction. The other car made a left turn into Sara’s right of way.
Sara was driving car #1 in the crash diagram below:
Paramedics took her to the hospital.
At the emergency room (ER), she took this selfie:
Sara broke her nose. She contacted me to see if I could represent her.
Like many injured car accident victims, she asked me:
How long will my injury claim take to settle?
She said that the crash worsened her pre-existing bulging discs and herniated discs.
She had car insurance. Florida is a No Fault state. Therefore, her personal injury protection (PIP) paid her doctors $10,000 for her medical bills. Florida is one a few states that has No-Fault insurance.
Sara had a nerve block injection to her lower back. A neurosurgeon recommended lower back surgery.
GEICO Insured the At Fault Driver
When I make a claim against my client’s uninsured motorist insurance coverage, I send a different letter.
In most cases, I like to make sure that a claim has already been set up with GEICO before sending my request for their insurance limits.
My letter gets to the correct adjuster faster.
As you can see, 90% of this GEICO car accident settlement was for pain and suffering:
When a car insurance company makes you a settlement offer, they do not factor in your attorney fees.
The rest of this $100,000 GEICO car accident settlement paid for her out of pocket medical bills and health insurance lien. After my attorney’s fees, costs, and paying of Sara’s medical bills and health insurance liens, she got over $56,500 in her pocket.
She was happy with her settlement.
How I got a $25K Injury Settlement Check in Just 31 Days (in 2018)
On July 30, 2018, Shankeva was a passenger in her boyfriend’s (Ken) car. They were stopped at a red light in Holly Hill, Florida. In the diagram below, Shankeva was in V3.
Terry was driving vehicle 1. Terry crashed head on into vehicle 2. Vehicle 2 then hit Vehicle 3.
Paramedics arrived at the scene.
In the photo below, you can see them taking Shankeva out of the car:
Below, a photo shows the damage to the car within which Shankeva was a passenger.
The front of the car was demolished.
You can see this was a huge impact accident.
Here is a photo of Shankeva on a stretcher:
An ambulance took her to the hospital.
At the hospital, doctors took x-rays, a CT scan and a MRI of her hip.
The x-ray showed an acetabular fracture. The acetabulum is the socket of the hip bone.
Here is what the acetabulum looks like:
Since she had this fracture, they had her stay (inpatient) at the hospital.
They gave her a room.
While at the hospital, someone took a photo of her:
After she was released from the hospital, she had to use a walker to get around. Shankeva got a free consultation from me, and hired me.
Here is a photo of Shankeva using a walker:
The good news?
Shankeva made a great physical recovery. She was able to walk without needing any devices.
How long did this injury claim take to settle?
Like many car accident cases, there was limited insurance available. The at fault driver only had a $20,000 bodily injury liability (BIL) per accident policy.
My client was in her boyfriend’s (Ken’s) car. State Farm insured his car. Fortunately, he had $25,000 of uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM) motorist coverage per person.
Like many people, Shankeva asked me:
How long does a personal injury claim take to settle?
I put the pressure on State Farm to pay.
Within just 31 days of the accident, I got State Farm to issue a check for the $25,000 UIM policy limits. On August 30, 2018, they wrote the check. Shankeva was thrilled.
Take a look at the settlement check:
I also got the at fault driver’s insurance company to pay us $8,000 of the remaining $10,000 limit. The other $2,000 went to Shankeva’s boyfriend.
In total, I was able to get we were able to get Shankeva a $33,000 settlement. Approximately, $31,000 of the settlement was for her pain and suffering damages.
The rest of the settlement was for medical bills and her Molina Medicaid insurance lien. I was able to get Molina Medicaid to reduce its lien (payback amount). Without a lawyer, they would not have reduced their lien.
After my attorneys fees and costs, Shankeva got around $22,000 in her pocket.
Why did State Farm pay me in just 31 days?
They paid me because Shankeva had a bad objective injury, and the UIM coverage limit was low. (I use the term objective injury because the x-ray showed her hip socket fracture.)
This combination put pressure on State Farm to pay me. It gets an underinsured motorist insurance company to settle quickly.
Would State Farm had faced any negative consequences if they didn’t offer to settle so fast?
No, other than the fact that I may have filed a consumer complaint against them. Besides that, I would have needed to file a civil remedy notice of insurer violation (CRN) in order to make State Farm liable for more than the $25,000 limits.
After receiving the filed CRN, State Farm would have had 60 days to still pay me the limits. If they paid within that time, State Farm would not be on hook for any amount above the $25,000 UIM coverage limit.
This settlement was in 2018. However, the result would have be the same in 2020.
$25K Car Accident Settlement (In Just 31 Days!)
Odalys was a passenger was in a car accident in Hialeah, Miami-Dade County, Florida. Another car hit the back of the car that she was in.
In both the photos above (and below), you can see that there was big damage to the car that Odalys was in.
The crash report said that she was wearing a shoulder and lap belt at the time of the crash.
An ambulance took her to the hospital from the accident scene. However, the hospital medical record said that she was unrestrained (not wearing a seat belt) at the time of the accident.
Why does this matter?
If you’re not wearing a seat belt, and you’re injured, the insurance company may offer you less money to settle your personal injury case.
At the hospital, she complained of neck pain.
There, they took X-rays were taken of her nose, chest and pelvis. CT scans were taken of her head and brain, and her neck (cervical spine).
The x-rays and the CT scans didn’t reveal any injuries.
She had a few follow up medical visits with a doctor. She had soft tissue injuries.
Shortly after this rear end accident, Odalys got a free consultation with me. After we spoke, she hired me.
The driver of the car that Odalys was in – at the time of the crash – gave an Infinity Car Insurance card to the police officer.
I made a claim with Infinity, who said that the owner failed to add the car to the existing insurance policy. Thus, Infinity denied the claim.
This meant that the medical bills needed to be paid from the personal injury settlement, which I’ll discuss shortly.
Hospital Lowered Bill from $16,500 to $7,500
The hospital bill was over $16,500. We asked them to reduce it. They reduced it to $7,500.
Auto Club South Insurance Company insured the careless driver. He had a $25,000 per person/$50,000 per accident BIL policy. The Auto Club claims adjuster was Stephanie Schmitt.
I reminded her that she had a duty to act in good faith to her insured. I also pointed out to her that there was limited insurance coverage.
Auto Club hired attorney Andrew Stone of Stone, Glass & Connelly to decide how to divide up the $50,000 per accident BIL insurance limits.
They paid $25,000 to Odalys to settle. This is the maximum that any one person injured in the accident could get from Auto Club.
I got AAA to issue the settlement check within 31 days of the accident. You can see the check below:
There are 4 reasons why the time that it took to settle was under 31 days.
- There was major damage to the car that she was in.
- She had a big hospital bill.
- AAA is a decent car insurance company.
- There were 3 people in the car that Odalys was in.
Most of the settlement was for her pain and suffering.
High Insurance Limits May Delay Settlement Time
If your injuries are worth less than the available liability insurance limits, the insurer doesn’t face consequences if they don’t quickly settle.
Example – Injuries Worth Less than Limits; Took 11 Months to Settle for $445K
His injuries were big. However, his case was worth less than the truck’s liability limits of $1 Million dollars. Thus, the truck’s insurance company (now AIG) didn’t have much pressure to settle.
Injury Claim Settled Faster Because of Clear Liability
The truck driver received a ticket for failure to yield right of way. Liability was pretty good for my client. This usually helps cases settle faster.
If Insurance Company Has In-House Attorneys, Less Pressure to Settle
The insurance company for the truck had in-house attorneys that they paid on a salary (not by the hour). So, if they didn’t settle and we sued, they don’t “really” have to pay to hire attorneys because they already have attorneys on staff.
However, most insurance companies still like to settle claims.
Case Should Be Ready for Settlement After Your Last Medical Visit
Most cases aren’t usually ready to get settled until you have finished your medical treatment. (The exception is when there is a limited amount of available insurance to cover you for your injuries.)
If you settle before your medical treatment is completed, you don’t know the extent of your injuries. Thus, the insurance company offer may not pay you for your future “possible” medical care.
The negligent party’s insurance company will generally send you 1 check to settle your case. Once you settle your personal injury case with their insurance company, they will not pay you any more money.
Motorcycle Rider Treated for 10 Months (Settlement Was About 1 Month Later)
In the above case, the motorcyclist received treatment for about 10 months or so, and the case settled for $445,000 about a month after that.
Good Insurance Company May = Faster Settlement
The insurance company (now AIG) for the truck is an above average paying insurer.
It’s possible that if the truck’s insurer would’ve been a worse paying insurer, the case would’ve taken longer to settle for fair value. A few big insurers that pay worse than AIG are Progressive, Allstate, GEICO or State Farm.
How Long Does GEICO Take to Settle an Injury Case?
Three big factors that may affect the time it takes to settle your case with GEICO are:
- Seriousness of the injury
- BIL insurance limits
- Amount of property damage to the cars
For example, I settled a nose fracture and herniated disc case for $100,000 with GEICO. It was a left turn accident. In that case, the claimant had serious injuries.
I argued that her injuries were worth more than GEICO’s $100,000 BIL insurance limits.
As you can see from the photo above, her car was badly damaged badly in the crash. GEICO paid within three months, which is quick.
How Long Does it Take GEICO to Send the Settlement Check?
It will depend on the case. For example, I represented a nice man who was hit by a drunk driver. GEICO insured the drunk driver.
In this injury case, it took just GEICO 37 days from the date of accident to print the check. They quickly sent it. GEICO paid us the owner’s $10,000 BIL insurance limits. Here is the actual settlement check:
Most of the settlement was for pain and suffering.
You can read more about this $10,000 settlement.
How Long Does It Take for Uber and Lyft Accident Cases to Settle?
All things equal, it takes longer to get a fair injury settlement in an Uber or Lyft accident than most other car accidents. This is because Uber and Lyft cars have at a minimum $50,000 in bodily injury liability insurance.
If the Uber or Lyft is engaged in a ride, the limit goes up to $1 million.
GEICO insured the at fault driver. GEICO paid us the $25,000 bodily injury liability (BIL) insurance limits.
However, my client’s uninsured motorist insurance claim against Lyft’s insurance company took longer to settle. This is because Lyft has a big ($1 million) insurance limit for passengers. Thus, Lyft’s insurer, Zurich, wasn’t worried about paying above the insurance limits.
Zurich eventually paid us $45,000 for my client’s underinsured motorist insurance claim.
Cases May Settle Sooner if You Quickly Get Adjuster All Your Medical Bills/Records and More
If you want to try to get the fair value of how much your case is worth, as quickly as possible, then give the insurance company all of your medical bills and records as quickly as possible.
Adjuster Needs Records/Bills to Set Correct Reserve; May Settle Faster
Without records and bills, the adjuster can’t set the proper reserve, and get the settlement authority to pay you fair value for your case. I continuously requested my client’s medical records and bills from his doctors, and sent them to insurance company.
If Case is Worth More Than Available Insurance, May Settle Faster
In Florida, if your injuries are worth more than the available insurance coverage, your case may settle sooner.
Insurers May Have to Pay Above the Insurance Limits
Under Florida law, an insurance company has a duty to settle a case if it could and should in order to protect its insured from owing any money above their insured’s bodily injury liability (BIL) limits.
Example – Case Worth More Than Insurance Limit, Settled for $200K a Few Months Later
A car hit a pedestrian in Coconut Grove, Florida. The pedestrian had a hospital bill that was over $100,000. He fractured his tibia and had surgery to fix it.
The driver of the car had $100,000 of rental car insurance with Philadelphia Insurance Company. Since the pedestrian’s case was worth much more than the available $100,000 in rental car insurance, the case settled within a couple of months after the accident.
My client also had uninsured motorist insurance with Ace Insurance Company.
Filing Civil Remedy Notice May Make Uninsured Motorist Insurer Settle Faster
Since my client’s case was worth more than the $200,000 combined insurance limits, Ace quickly paid its $100,000 limits after I filed a civil remedy notice of insurer violation and sent it to Ace.
Lawsuit Against the Federal Government Took a Little Longer; Must Wait 6 Months to Sue
We also sued the federal government, but that took a little longer to settle. This is because you can’t sue them until 6 months passes after you send them your statement of claim.
Slip and Fall Cases May Take Longer To Settle; High Insurance Limits
Most slip and fall cases settle for under $1 Million dollars. Most business insurance policies have at least $1 Million in coverage.
Thus, the premises insurers aren’t worried about getting hit with an excess judgement above the policy limits.
Example (Slip and Fall Took 2+Years to Get $300K Settlement)
He had about $100,000 in medical bills and lost wages. The supermarket carried a $1 Million dollar insurance policy.
If a case is worth under the liable party’s limits, it takes longer to get a settlement (for fair value). Here, this case was worth much less than Sedano’s $1 Million dollar insurance limit.
Thus, the supermarket’s insurer (Crum & Forster) didn’t have much pressure to settle quickly. This is because they didn’t have fear of having to pay above the policy limit.
It may take longer to reach a settlement with big companies like Walmart, Disney, Publix and hundreds of others. This is because they likely have a self-insured retention (SIR). In other words, they will likely pay the settlement with their own money (not insurance money).
Cases Take Longer to Settle if Insurance Company Denies Liability
In the above slip and fall case, the supermarket denied liability. Thus, we sued them. This delayed the settlement of the case.
If an insurer denies liability, this usually forces you to sue to get fair value for your case. Having to sue can delay the case.
$210K Truck Accident Settlement (in Under 2 Years)
Took Longer to Settle Because High Insurance Limits
It took this long because the trucking company had a $2 Million dollar insurance limit, and the case was worth about $200,000.
Thus, the insurance company didn’t have to worry about bad faith exposure.
The combined settlement was for $210,000.
$210K Settlement (21 Months After Fall at Restaurant)
A man fell from a booth at a Denny’s restaurant in North Miami Beach, Florida.
Travelers Insurance Company insured the restaurant with $1 Million in liability coverage. The high limit delayed settlement since his case was worth $210,000, which is much less than $1 Million dollars.
Possibly Poor Restaurant Surveillance Video May Have Caused a Delayed Settlement
The surveillance video that captured the fall was very poor quality. It’s possible that if the video was excellent quality, the adjuster would’ve seen that the booth did tip up and cause the man’s fall.
The insurance company wouldn’t offer more than $20,000 to settle. We sued.
He had 2 surgeries over the course of 19 months or so. The case wasn’t ready to settle until he finished his medical treatment.
Trial in 1 Month May Have Helped Settle the Case Faster
The case settled about 1 month before trial. A trial date puts pressure on an insurance company to settle because the possibility of having to pay a judgment becomes more real as trial approaches.
$100K of a $200K Settlement Was Paid Within a Few Months
A car ran a red light and t-boned another car in Miami, Florida. A witness said that the driver ran a red light.
The driver who ran the red light got a ticket.
Here is what the injured driver’s car looked like after the accident:
At the hospital, doctors performed surgery on his wrist. Specifically, they put a plate and screws put in her wrist.
Here is what the plate and screws look like:
The injured driver was insured with United Automobile Insurance Company (UAIC). Though the names sound similar, United Auto is different from USAA.
She only had the minimum insurance coverage in Florida. Thus, she had personal injury protection (PIP) insurance with United Auto (UAIC). United Auto paid $10,000 to her medical providers.
USAA insured the careless driver with $100,000 in BI insurance.
The injured lady’s case was worth $200,000. Since USAA’s limits ($100,000) were less than the case was worth ($200,000), USAA paid the $100,000 limits within a 2 or so months after the crash.
The careless driver’s employer had a $1 Million dollar insurance policy. Old Dominion Insurance Company (Main Street America) insured them.
Old Dominion took longer to pay the additional $100,000 since they had no bad faith exposure.
$10K Settlement in Just 37 Days for Car Accident
Watch this video, where my client talks about his case that settled in just 37 days:
My client was in his car and stopped at a light in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. A drunk driver hit him. My client had neck and back pain. Here is the crash diagram:
This is a photo of my client’s car after the accident:
His cervical (neck) MRI said that he had three herniated discs. The MRI of his back showed 1 Herniated Disc and 2 Bulging Discs.
GEICO insured the car that the drunk driver was driving. Within 37 days of the accident, GEICO paid us the owner’s $10,000 BIL insurance limits.
Some of my favorite injury cases are when the at fault driver was drunk at the time of the accident. Car accident claims may settle faster if the drunk driver has low insurance limits.
This is because we can also make a claim for punitive damages. Here is a photo of my client and I after the settlement.
How Long Does It Take to Settle a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
All things equal, wrongful death cases settle faster than personal injury cases. This is because the value of a wrongful death case often is more than the available insurance.
Take for example, a “minor child” whose parent is killed in a car accident. Assume that another driver’s negligence caused the parent’s death. In this scenario, the child’s pain and suffering can be worth up to $5 million or so.
Let’s assume that the at fault driver has a $1 million (or smaller) dollar insurance policy. In this case, his or her insurance company should quickly pay the insurance limits. This is because the insurance company doesn’t want to expose their insured to a big verdict.
In the above example, I used a minor child whose parent was killed. However, the result would be the same if a parent’s minor child was killed. Similarly, the result is the same someone’s spouse was killed in an accident.
Cruise Accident Cases May Take Longer to Settle; No Bad Faith
Personal injury cases against cruise lines may take longer to settle because they’re self-insured and don’t have bad faith exposure.
Cruise lines have their own in house attorneys who are paid on salary. This puts less pressure on the cruise line to settle.
Cruise lines don’t usually hire outside lawyers unless the case isn’t settled at mediation.
They usually use in-house attorneys to defend their slip and fall and other injury cases.
That being said, I’ve settled injury cases with several cruise lines within a couple of months after my client finished treatment. Some have taken longer.
Getting Your Lien Information May Result in a Faster Settlement
Your health insurance company – or Medicaid, VA, Tricare – may be entitled to be repaid for medical bills that they paid in relation to your accident. The sooner that you request this lien, and give it to the insurance company, the sooner the case may settle.
If there is limited insurance, you may be better off settling your personal injury case sooner because you will have money in your pocket sooner, and you may cut off your health insurance company’s – or Medicaid, VA, Tricare, etc. – ability to get paid for additional medical bills that they may be related to your accident.
People injured in Florida (or on a cruise) should use caution when paying their health insurer from the settlement.
If the Accident Gets Major Media Attention, Case May Settle Faster
Although it’s not common, sometimes a media frenzy causes a quick settlement. There are two examples that quickly come to my mind. The first is incident where the alligator attacked and killed a child at a Disney hotel. The second example if the pedestrian who was killed by a an Uber self-driving car.
In both of these incidents, Disney and Uber desperately wanted these stories out of the news. Badly.
Those cases settled within months of each accident. Moreover, Disney and Uber likely paid more than the fair case value to get to settle (and get these cases out of the news).
But once again, cases where the potentially responsible party wants to quickly settle solely to get the case out of the news are rare.
For example, the Miami bridge collapse lawsuits haven’t settled. It is now many months after the accident. And those cases involved the death of several people who did nothing wrong.
Will Hiring a Lawyer Delay Your Personal Injury Settlement?
No. In fact, it may result in quicker settlement. Let me explain.
There is no guarantee that you will get compensation in any injury case. The injured person (or his/her lawyer) needs to properly handle his or her injury claim to have the best chance at getting fair compensation.
A lawyer will know what issues to look for in your case. Thus, the attorney should be able to get all the evidence ready so that the case can be ready for a possible settlement (or trial) as soon as possible.
On the other hand, let’s assume that someone is injured and doesn’t hire an attorney. He or she likely won’t know every issue to look for. The injured person likely will have little idea of how much a case is worth.
Did someone’s carelessness cause your injury in an accident in Florida, or on a cruise or boat?
See Our Settlements
Check out some of the many Florida injury cases that we have settled, including but not limited to car accidents, truck accidents, slip or trip and falls, motorcycle accidents, drunk driving (DUI) accidents, pedestrian accidents, drunk driving accidents, taxi accidents, bicycle accidents, store or supermarket accidents, cruise ship accidents, dog bites and much more.
We want to represent you
Our Miami law firm represents people anywhere in Florida if someone’s carelessness caused their injuries in car accidents, truck accidents, slip, trip and falls, motorcycle accidents, bike accidents, drunk driving crashes, pedestrian accidents, cruise ship or boat accidents, store or supermarket accidents, accidents at someone else’s home, condo or apartment, accidents involving a Uber or Lyft Driver, and many other types of accidents.
We want to represent you if you were injured in an accident in Florida, on a cruise ship or boat. If you live in Florida but were injured in another state we may also be able to represent you.
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