When Should I Settle My Personal Injury Case?

should i settle my case

What you’ll learn reading this article:

  1. Patience can be important when it comes to settling your personal injury case as you only have one shot to settle and receive compensation. 
  2. Hiring an attorney to help you settle your case can lead to better compensation as well as faster settlements. 
  3. The statute of limitations in Indiana requires all personal injury cases (with a few exceptions) to be filed before two years have passed from the date of the accident. 

For a lot of people who’ve been injured in a car accident, knowing whether their case is moving at the right speed can be important. When it comes to determining if it’s time to settle your case, timelines can be different for each individual depending on the nature of the accident, the insurance company and the parties involved.

While it can be tempting to want to settle as quickly as possible, that is not always the best option. Those who are patient and compile strong evidence and fully understand the nature of their injury often are compensated much better as some factors that could affect your compensation, such as long-term effects of your injury, may not present themselves right away.

Factors to Consider Before Settling

Once you settle your case, that is usually it. This means that if your injury gets worse or is reaggravated after you’ve settled, that you won’t be able to go back to your insurance company and ask for more compensation.

Because of this, it is extremely important that you have all of the information and evidence needed before settling. These include:

  1. The full extent of your injury and how it affects your day-to-day life mentally, emotionally and physically.
  2. The ways you have suffered financially or will suffer financially because of the injury, including but not limited to property damage, medical bills, lost wages and future loss of wages.
  3. How your injury has affected your ability to enjoy life, maintain hobbies and uphold relationships with family and friends.
  4. Physical evidence, the accident report and any witness statements from the crash.

Additionally, it is important to be aware of the statute of limitations for your case. In Indiana, the statute of limitations for personal injuries such as those suffered from a car accident or a slip and fall case is two years. This means that you have two years from the date of the accident to settle your case except in special cases such as those involving minors. Failing to file a claim before this date means you may lose your right to compensation!

Consider Hiring an Attorney

If you haven’t retained a lawyer to help you with your case, you may want to consider it.

  1. Insurance companies have been proven to offer higher compensation when a lawyer approaches them rather than an unrepresented person.
  1. For claims worth more than several thousand dollars, insurance companies are much less likely to take you seriously without representation. They know you have no real bargaining power.
  1. Injuries that include future losses and medical costs can be tricky to handle on your own, whereas an attorney is skilled in effectively arguing your right to these claims.
  1. The threat of a lawsuit can help to speed up settlements as well as have your demands taken more seriously from the beginning.

In the end, something very serious and potentially life altering happened to you: You were injured due to someone else’s negligence. Because of this, it is important not to rush the process of getting compensated for your physical, mental and emotional suffering.

However, because of the statute of limitations, it is also important not to put off filing a claim too long after an accident occurs. Talking with an attorney can be a great first step toward seeing your claim through to settlement.

Poynter & Bucheri Accident Recovery—Indianapolis Personal Injury Attorneys

If you or a loved one has been injured physically or mentally by a person, product or company, you need to know your legal rights. Our personal injury attorneys are experienced with cases like yours and can evaluate what your case may be worth. We will ensure that you are protected and compensated for your injuries and losses.

Why pay up to 40% in attorney fees? Our fee is only 25%*, and we fight to win your case or you pay no attorney fees at all. Don’t hesitate—one of our experienced attorneys can assist you right away.

Call (800) 265-9881 for a free case review.

Video Transcript

Hi, I’m Richard Bucheri from Poynter & Bucheri Injury Attorneys. And today I want to answer the question, when should I settle my case?

So when we’re talking about settlement timelines, oftentimes people will call me and they will say, “Hey, it’s been several months. And the insurance company hasn’t talked to me about settlement, or what is taking so long?” And really when we’re talking about a settlement timeline, it’s not really a matter of how long it’s been since the accident. The question is, are you ready and do you have enough information to settle your case?

So the one thing that I always tell people is that it is very, very important to be patient because you only have one chance to settle your case. If you settle your case, then generally speaking, you don’t get any money afterwards. So if you are a hurt and then something reaggravates months after you have settled your case, you’re not going to be able to go back to the insurance company and say, “Hey, I’m still having problems. You need to give me more money.”

Because once they settle your case, they’re going to probably have you sign a release that says, “Hey, we’re done.” So you need to have a full understanding of the full extent of your injuries before you even begin to enter into negotiations.

So oftentimes when I’m dealing with my clients, I say, you need to be done treating. And the doctor says that you are back to normal. Or the doctor says we’ve done all we can, and this is as good as you’re going to get. Then at that point you know the full extent of your injuries, and then you can properly be able to evaluate your claim.

And so that’s when your settlement timeline would really start going into action is once you have an idea of getting your full medical bills, your full medical records and putting together a narrative. Then you’re in the position to make a demand, and then the negotiations begin.

Be wary of tort claim deadlines and statute of limitations, however. So while some people may be treating from an accident for years, you still need to observe certain deadlines that need to occur. If it’s a city or state entity that was involved, and there’s probably a tort claim, notice that needs to be filed fairly quickly. The statute of limitations in Indiana is two years to file against a defendant. So you’ll need to file the lawsuit or file the claim to preserve your claim within two years of the date of accident.

But that doesn’t mean that the case has to be settled in two years. And oftentimes in cases of serious injury, it takes much longer than that. The advice that I give everybody that I deal with in my practice is, be patient because you only have this one chance. Generally speaking, the people that are patient are more fairly compensated, and the people that are hurried and just want to get done don’t do as well as far as compensation.