I was in a car wreck about 6 months ago. The other driver admitted fault. My medical bills are about $35,000. I have been released by my doctor. My lost wages are $12,000. How quickly will my case settle?
At the outset you need to understand that your case may not settle at all. In Tennessee the insurance company does not have a duty to settle your case and in fact does not even owe you a duty to fairly evaluate your case. It can settle a case, or not settle a case, on whatever schedule it wants to put in place.
However, if the insurance company wants to settle the case it needs to have information from your lawyer. At an absolute minimum, the company needs the accident report, your medical records and bills, perhaps some of your previous medical records, proof of lost wages from your employer, and an understanding of how the injuries have impacted your life. To the extent you claim a permanent injury, future medical expenses, future loss of earning capacity, or other damages, the insurance company will need proof of that.
Lawyers communicate this information by way of a settlement demand. All of the relevant information is gathered and the important information is highlighted in a letter. In our office we attempt to gather all of this information before your are released from your doctor (except the final office note) and have a demand package ready to go to the insurance company within thirty days of when medical treatment is complete. Lack of cooperation from one of the providers of information will affects the lawyer’s ability to get the demand package out on time.
Insurance companies always ask for more time to evaluate the demand package. Then, the negotiations start and those can last several weeks even if everyone agrees that the case should be settled.
So, the short answer to your question is there are too many variables to say if your case will be settled and how quickly it will be settled. It is fair to say that a case cannot settle if your attorney does not promptly gather and exchange information with the insurance company. This is yet another reason to hire an experienced personal injury lawyer who will aggressively pursue your rights.