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When Is a Personal Injury Case Ready for Settlement?


“When Is a Personal Injury Case Ready For Settlement?” Attorneys from the law firm of Buchanan Williams & O’Brien can answer this and more. Contact us today.

We are personal injury experts who have achieved results for our clients in Joplin for over 40 years.

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When Can a Personal Injury Case Be Settled?


If you’ve suffered a personal or work-related injury, you might be entitled to get compensation from the liable party’s insurance company. Some of the benefits you can get may be paid every month depending on the level of your disability and cover medical bills, lost wages, rehabilitation, and other related expenses.

In some cases, the insurance company may make you a settlement offer after paying your disability benefits for a while. Before you accept that offer, there are many things you need to consider, including whether your personal injury case is ready for settlement.

Generally, a personal injury claim in Missouri is ready for settlement when the injured person reaches a state known as ‘maximum medical improvement’ or when the injured person decides to settle and makes a time-limited demand for settlement to the insurance company.

Before making or accepting a settlement offer, note that a settlement closes your case altogether. Once the settlement negotiations end and you reach an agreement with the insurance company, you will not receive any more benefits or payments beyond that stipulated in the settlement agreement. Your health insurance company may also refuse to pay for your medical treatment if the workers’ compensation insurance company should have borne the cost. If that happens, your health and finances could be severely affected.

To get the best out of the situation, you can consult a skilled personal injury lawyer for legal advice to help you determine whether a settlement is appropriate in your case. Read on to learn more about when to settle your personal injury claim and how personal injury lawyers from the firm of Buchanan, Williams & O’Brien can help you.


Who Can Initiate Settlement in Personal Injury Cases?


Settlement in personal injury claims can be initiated by either the injured party or the insurance company depending on the circumstances of the case as follows:


Maximum Medical Improvement: Settlement By the Insurance Company

A workers’ compensation insurance company can offer a settlement when an injured worker who is ordinarily entitled to disability benefits reaches maximum medical improvement. You reach maximum medical improvement when your medical condition has stabilized and can no longer improve, even with additional medical care.

A determination that an injured person has reached maximum medical improvement is usually made by a medical doctor who evaluates the person’s injury and medical records and issues a disability rating for either permanent total disability or permanent partial disability. The doctor’s assessment determines the amount the insurance company would offer as settlement and whether you receive a lump sum payment or weekly benefits for life.

If you feel ready to settle but disagree with the amount offered, you can contact skilled workers’ comp lawyers to help you negotiate a reasonable settlement. You can also contact medical malpractice lawyers if you suspect foul play by the doctor who issued the disability rating.


Time Limited Settlement Demand: Settlement By the Injured Party

Personal injury cases may be resolved by filing personal injury lawsuits, in which case the judge would determine whether the injured party gets compensation and how much compensation they can get.

However, the injured party may initiate settlement at any time by issuing a time-limited demand for settlement to the at-fault party or their liability insurance company. A time-limited demand for settlement may be used to settle any claim for personal injuries, serious injuries, and wrongful death. It usually gives the recipient a specific time within which the offer remains open, which by Missouri law should be at least 90 days.

If you intend to initiate settlement via a time-limited demand, there are specific legal requirements that you need to be aware of, including the following:

  • The demand must be in writing
  • It must be sent to the recipient by certified mail (return receipt requested)
  • It must state the section of Missouri law that allows such a demand
  • It must state the amount requested as a settlement
  • It must state the particulars of the known injuries suffered by the injured person.

There are other requirements that you need to comply with if you intend to settle your personal injury lawsuit or claim with this approach. You can approach a personal injury attorney for help with meeting the legal requirements.

How Long Does a Personal Injury Settlement Take?


Most personal injury cases could take months to settle, and the process requires lots of patience. Generally, the duration of your personal injury settlement would depend on several factors, including the extent of your injuries, the law in the state you live in, and the insurance company’s disposition.

Nevertheless, there are some steps that you can take to speed up the process, including contacting skilled personal injury lawyers as soon as possible. Your lawyers may need time to assess the case, and the sooner their services are retained, the more favorable the outcome may be.

How Can an Attorney Help With Your Personal Injury Settlement?

If the insurance company has offered you a settlement, your attorney can assess the settlement terms and determine their suitability. In cases where the insurance company tries to play on your desperation by offering you a meager amount, your experienced attorney can easily see through their strategy and help you negotiate a more reasonable amount or file a suit in court on your behalf if necessary.

If you intend to initiate a settlement, your lawyer can advise you on the pros and cons of your decision and help you organize the necessary paperwork if you decide to proceed.

Whatever direction you choose, it is important to have a legal professional by your side to support you during this difficult time and lighten your burden as much as possible.

If you have further questions about settling your personal injury case, you can contact experienced personal injury attorneys at the law firm of Buchanan, Williams & O’Brien. We are a reputable firm of personal injury and workers’ compensation lawyers, serving clients in several Missouri locations, including Joplin, Springfield, Springfield, and St. Louis. Get in touch with us, and we can answer your questions and fight for you to get the compensation you deserve.

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