A Personal Injury Claim: "How Long Will It Take?"



One of the most frequently asked questions from our personal injury clients is, “How long is this going to take?"

Sadly, there is no guaranteed timeline because the process depends on a number of factors. The best way to answer this question is to explain the stages of a claim that must happen before that claim can be resolved. 

Stages of a Claim

There are several parts or stages of a personal injury claim leading to its conclusion. The first stage depends on the length of a client's recovery from their injuries. The end of this stage is reached either when the client has recovered and is discharged from medical treatment, or when the client has reached the point where, in the opinion of their…

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What is a personal injury settlement?

Author: Christopher B. Cloude, Claims Consultant

Before we can talk about what a personal injury settlement involves, we must first look at what makes a successful personal injury case that leads to a settlement.

In order to have a personal injury case for which you can make a recovery, there are three basic elements that must be present:

1. Liability 2. Damages 3. A source of recovery

Liability is when a person or entity (corporation, association, etc.) is negligent (1) and has caused another person to suffer injuries and losses. The person that is negligent is often referred to as the defendant and the person that suffered the injury is referred to as the plaintiff. For example,…

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Arbitration: Advantages and Disadvantages

R. Clayton Allen, Mechanicsville, Va Personal Injury Attorney

Author: R. Clayton Allen, Mechanicsville, Va Personal Injury Attorney

Arbitration is a method of resolving disputes without going to court, and it is often a preferred option to trial because it can provide a faster, more efficient claims process.

In arbitration, the dispute is submitted to a third party (the arbitrator) who resolves the dispute after hearing a presentation by both parties. The presentation may be just documents submitted to the arbitrator by each side. More often, in addition to the documents submitted, each side will make an oral argument in person. Usually each side will have an attorney to make the oral argument for them. Occasionally the presentation also includes witnesses…

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Deadlines in Personal Injury Cases

Author: Attorney Elizabeth M. Allen

Deadlines. They're a fact of life. We face deadlines for filing income tax returns, for filing health insurance claims, for submitting college applications, for renewing driver's licenses, and the list goes on.

Few deadlines are as important as those we encounter when we make a personal injury claim for damages against a negligent third party. Under Virginia law, if a plaintiff does not file his personal injury lawsuit and/or a required notice of claim within a prescribed time period, his claim for monetary damages will be barred forever. Period. End of case.

What are some of the most important deadlines you should remember?

• The Two Year Rule in a Personal…

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Don't Let The Insurance Company Pressure You Into Settling By Signing a Release Too Early

Article by Attorney Melinda H. South

Recently I received a call from a young man who had signed a Release to settle his personal injury claim. He wanted to know if he had any recourse. It turns out he had signed a Release only three weeks after his motor vehicle accident even though he was still in pain. He thought he would get better, so he accepted an offer of $750 cash plus $10,000 to pay for doctor visits incurred in the following 60 days only. Unfortunately, his pain worsened, and his doctor referred him to physical therapy. The young man completed therapy over the next two months, but he was still in pain. His doctor then referred him for an MRI of his shoulder which showed a full tear of the tendon that could only…

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Contributory Negligence: A Trap for the Unwary Claimant

It's often been said, and with good reason, that the contributory negligence defense is "an insurance company's dream" and plaintiff's "worst nightmare." Under the common law doctrine of contributory negligence, there is no comparison of fault between the wrongdoer and the injured person. If the injured person is even 1% at fault in a way that significantly contributes to cause the injury, the injured person loses. Technically, this prohibits an injured person from making a recovery from an accident claim even if the other person (the defendant) is 99% responsible for causing the accident.

For example, let's say that the defendant was driving on a one-way road the wrong way, and the plaintiff, a pedestrian, was walking…

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Virginia Boating Safety: New Required Operator Licenses and Education

Summary by: Robert L. Mertig

As summer approaches, it's important to be aware of recent changes in the boating laws in Virginia pertaining to the operation of personal water craft (PWC) such as Jet Skis and motorboats. These changes include a schedule of required licenses and boating safety instruction that begin to take effect this summer. Over the next few years, eventually all users of PWC will be required to have licenses and take courses to obtain these licenses.

By July 1, 2009, all operators younger than 21 and are operating a PWC of 10 horsepower or more will be required to have a license. If you have a PWC like this and are in this age group, you should sign up now for a class, so you get your license…

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Securing Witness Information After an Accident

Author: Chris Cloude

You are driving to the grocery store taking your time and following your normal route. As you approach an intersection, the stoplight is green and you proceed into the intersection. Out of the corner of your eye you see a flash, and your car is hit on the passenger side.

A few days later, an adjuster calls you from the insurance company for the person that hit you. The adjuster informs you that the insurance company is denying your claim from your auto accident because their insured says they had the green light, not you.

This story is one we hear almost every day. Without other witnesses, often there is not much that can be done to make a recovery. If the insurance company won't discuss…

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What Happened to Fair and Reasonable?

Author: Egena T. Younger

I worked on the defense side for insurance companies for over 17 years. I experienced many years of investigating, evaluating, and negotiating automobile and commercial claims. From the first day of work, I was told to settle cases for a fair and reasonable amount. I was proud to represent the insurance company and its investors by checking every bill and report, to ensure that only what was necessary, related and reasonable, would be considered in evaluating an appropriate settlement offer. I gave a lot of consideration to the amount of property damage, the amount of the bills, the duration of the treatment, and how credible a witness our insured would make in defending his/her actions. I was…

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What is My Personal Injury Case Worth?

By Attorney Charles L. Allen

"What is my case worth?" I am often asked this question by clients when I am first getting to know them. The simple answer is this; whatever a jury says it is worth.

Some people with personal injury claims are surprised to find out that they are not automatically entitled to a settlement from the insurance company. In fact, their only legal right is a trial to determine the amount of their recovery. The only way one can force an insurance company to pay is to successfully sue the person or company they insure. Cases involving very modest injuries are sometimes resolved by a judge in General District Court. However, more significant cases require Circuit Court trials which, in Virginia,…

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