– If someone else’s
carelessness caused your injury, you wanna know how long it’s
gonna take to settle your case. There are many factors that can affect the time it takes to settle. In this video, I’m gonna
show you real settlements, and I’m gonna show you
how many of these factors affected the time it took
to settle these cases. I’m also gonna show you
some things that may decrease the time it
takes to settle your case. Stay tuned and watch the entire video so you can see all of these settlements and all of these factors that affected the time it took to settle these cases. JZ Helps (a Florida injury law firm). Most personal injury cases settle, however there is no guarantee
that your case settles at all. So this entire video
assumes that your case actually has value that
would warrant a settlement. If there’s more insurance
coverage available than the value of your case, this could prolong and take
longer time to settle the case. This is because the insurance company has less pressure on
them to settle the case because they’ll likely
be able to settle it within the limits, as opposed to if your case is worth more than the insurance company limits. There’s the chance that if
you were to get a verdict for higher than the
insurance company limits they would have to pay
above the insurance limits, which they hate doing. This is an example of just that. Where the insurance
available limits in this case were a million dollars. This truck that a truck driver was driving hit my client who was on a motorcycle. Now, the value of my client’s
claim was about $445,000, and it took 11 months to settle. But one of the reasons why it took that time to settle was because the limits, million dollar limits, were a lot higher than the
$445,000 value of the case, so the insurance company did not have a lot of pressure to
quickly settle the case. The client treated for 11 months, and it settled right around that time. Another factor that allowed that claim to settle within 11 months, and not much longer was
the fact that the liability on the other driver was pretty good, meaning the other driver
was largely at fault. The other driver was driving a truck. My client was coming in
the opposite direction. The truck failed to yield the
right of way, made a left. They collided. My client flew off the motorcycle, he suffered a tibial plateau
fracture with surgery, he also fractured a finger, had a pin put in, the pin was
later removed from his finger. Now, one factor that can affect the time it takes to settle a case is if the insurance company, such as the insurer of
the truck in that case, now AIG, has in-house attorneys
meaning there’s attorneys already on their staff that
they’re already paying. That can prolong the time
it takes to settle a case because when you’re negotiating
with the insurance company, they know if settlement can’t be reached they don’t have to hire outside attorneys and pay them more money. Another factor that affects
the time that it takes to settle a case is the last
date of your medical treatment. In this case, I said the case settled around 11 months after the accident. One of the reasons why it took
that amount of time to settle in order to get fair
value for my client’s case was we needed to wait ’till
he was finished treating. If you don’t wait ’till
you’re finished treating and you settle the case, you’re not gonna get full value
in most cases, of the case. One thing that may be able to
help your case settle sooner is if you’re dealing with
a good insurance company. In that case, the insurance
company’s now AIG. They have a very good reputation
for fairly paying claims. So that case settled in, like
I said, in about 11 months however, had we drawn a
worse insurance company, such as Progressive, who pays claims worse than AIG, the time it took to settle and
get fair value for the case may have taken longer because they, around that same time, would
have likely offered less money. Another factor that can affect the time it takes to settle a case is whether the insurance adjuster has all of your medical records, bills and other
documentation that you need to get fair value for your case, or to try to get fair value for your case. What happens is the adjuster needs to have all of
this medical information, records, bills, MRI films, all that stuff, lost wage information, a lot more, so that they can evaluate the case, write down in their system how
much they think it’s worth. It gets sent up to their supervisor who has to sign off of it. The larger the case, the
more levels it has to go up. The smaller the case, sometimes adjusters have authority to settle
the case on their own. Usually about $10,000 or less. But if you wait to give
the insurance adjuster all of your bills and other documentation, all you’re doing is you’re gonna prolong the time it takes to settle to
get fair value in most cases. Now, remember when you go to the hospital you have a hospital bill, radiology bill, emergency physician’s bill,
all these bills are separate. You need to get the crash report, the fire/rescue report, you need to get all these documents otherwise there’s a good
chance you’re gonna get less money and the time it takes to settle your case is gonna take longer. Help the adjuster help you
get money for your case. Quickly. Also, the sooner you get the adjuster medical records and bills, the sooner they can set the reserve which is the amount of
money they’re setting aside to pay you for your case. Reserves take time to get changed so if there’s a new
development in your case it takes time for the insurance company to assign more money, to put
aside more money for your case. That’s another reason to get this adjuster all your records as soon as possible. On the other hand, if your case is worth more than the insurance company limits, that puts significant pressure on the insurance company to settle your case, at least in Florida. This is a MRI of a tibia fracture, the lower leg fracture. The tibia is this long
big bone right there. And the case value was worth
about $325,000 the total case but certain parts of the claim, which I’m gonna get into in a second, settled rather quickly
because the value of the case was a lot higher than the
available insurance limits. If the insurance company
doesn’t settle within the limits and your case is worth
more than the limits, they can face excess exposure and have to pay above the policy limit if they could’ve and should’ve settled within the policy limits. This is the car from the
case I was describing where my client fractured his tibia his lower leg, and had a rod put in it. In that case, the value of the claim was somewhere around $225,000, and the rental car driver had $100,000 of liability insurance. The fact that his claim was worth more than the $100,000 limits put pressure on Philadelphia
Insurance Company, who was the insurer for the rental car, to pay the case. They wanted to just pay the $100,000 and get out of the case. And that case settled
just within a few months of me representing the gentleman. But again, the main reason
it settled so quickly was because the value of the case was here and the insurance limits were less. In that same case where my client had rented the rental car, he purchased the $100,000 of
uninsured motorist insurance. Same scenario. My client’s case was worth $225,000, the uninsured motorist
limits were $100,000 they hesitated in paying, I filed a civil remedy notice, which is what you need to do in Florida in order to make the insurance company pay more than the limits if they could’ve and should’ve
settled within the limits and your case is worth above the limits. And it was only after I did that where they hired an attorney and they decided it was in
their best interest to pay. But that case also, that
part of the claim also settled within just a few
months of me representing him. The third part of that case
was against the United States, the Federal government. And the reason why that case
took several months to settle was because, against the United States, if you have a claim, you need to wait six
months for them to deny or offer to pay the
claim before you can sue. So they didn’t even make an offer within the first six months. We sued them. Just understand that if your case is against the Federal government or the state of Florida, or a city, the case may take longer to settle because they generally have six months to make an offer and you
cannot sue within that time. Slip and fall cases may
take longer to settle because most businesses, which is where most people slip and fall, and have a personal injury claim, have high insurance limits. Usually around a million dollars or more, and most cases are worth significantly under a million dollars. This is an actual photo that was taken in a slip and fall case at a supermarket that we settled for $300,000. But it took two years
or so to settle the case and again, the reason why it took so long was my client had not finished treating. So, he had a lot of treatment, and again, like I said earlier, you wanna wait until your
treatment is done in most cases before you settle the case. Unless the insurance limits are very low. But again, supermarket slip and fall cases or any accident case at a business can generally take longer to settle because they have that million
dollar insurance limit. His case was worth $300,000,
which is what we settled at it, and a lot less than a million. The insurance company did not face any bad-faith exposure
if they failed to pay. In this case, the gentleman
claimed that this fall aggravated a pre-existing achilles tendon, which is right there, tear, which became
worse from the accident. And he ended up needing two skin grafts. If you’re dealing with a large company like Publix, Winn Dixie, Disney, Costco, or any other large company, there’s a chance that the case is gonna take longer to settle because these companies
are likely self-insured, meaning they pay the money
out of their own pocket, which they don’t like doing, generally. And it may take longer to settle that case as opposed to insurance
companies are used to paying from the insurance premiums
they’ve been paid for, the premiums for the insurance, so they generally are more willing to pay out cases sooner, all things equal. In that supermarket case
that I was discussing, the supermarket denied liability, so we filed a lawsuit, which again, I mentioned that that generally delays settlement, although it’s generally
in your best interest in certain times to file a lawsuit. But regardless, my client still
had a lot of time treating. And you remember earlier
on I said you need to wait generally if there’s
high insurance limits, to complete your treatment before settling in order to get fair value. This is the truck that
rear-ended my client in a case that settled for $210,000. It took a little less
than two years to settle. One of the reasons why it took
under two years to settle, or close to two years to settle the case, was because the insurance
limits were two million or so, and my client’s injury was
worth about $200,000 or so. He claimed that the truck accident caused a tear in his labrum, which is right there. Or, it aggravated his
labrum pre-existing injury. He also claimed a herniated
disc from the accident. But another reason why
it took so long to settle was because his treatment was over a year. Now, in that case I said that the insurance policy limits were
two million dollars or so, but the company that
caused the accident had a, what’s called a self-insured retention, meaning they pay the first $250,000 or so. So my client had a
personal uninsured motorist insurance on his vehicle. We made a claim against
that uninsured motorist insurance for $10,000. Progressive was the insurer, they initially refused to pay, saying there’s plenty of
insurance from the truck. I said that the truck, due to the fact there was
a self-insured retention, is considered uninsured under Florida law. I demanded that they pay. I sent them a civil remedy notice which I filed after them first arguing and telling me that I had
no right to make the claim. They paid the $10,000 very quickly. I settled another case that took 21 months to settle for $210,000. When my client was eating at a restaurant, the booth tipped up and
he fell to the floor. We claimed that the booth
should have been secure. And he fractured his scaphiod, which is a bone in the wrist right there. He ultimately needed two surgeries, but one of the reasons why that case took 21 months to settle was, he treated for a very
long time, over a year. And also the fact that the
insurance limits were very high. They were a million dollars, and the value of this case was $210,000, which didn’t put any pressure on the insurance company to pay quickly. Another reason that it
may have taken 21 months or so to settle was because in any case where you’re injured, you need to prove that the
restaurant or any premises, or anyone who was
responsible for your injury, that they were negligent. That they were careless. And, we needed to establish
that the restaurant knew or should have known that the booth had a problem with it
prior to the incident. Now, although the
restaurant had surveillance, as you can see through the video, the yellow part that’s highlighted, that is my client on the floor. You can see that the surveillance was very, very poor. So before the insurance
company paid out $210,000, they wanted to get my
client’s testimony that, of what happened rather than
just paying out the money. Now, had the surveillance been very clear and showed exactly what happened, that may have resulted
in a sooner settlement. Another thing that may cause
a case to settle sooner is if you file a lawsuit, and you set the case for
trial and get a trial date. As the trial date approaches
closer and closer, the case becomes more real
to the insurance company, and they have a fear of getting a verdict against their client at
trial and having to pay it. This case settled for $210,000
one month before trial. And now, this is just a stock photo, but the bottom line is
the insurance company started to feel the heat because the trial date
was quickly approaching. This is a car that my client was driving in a case when another
car blew a red light and T-boned her. She fractured the larger
bone in her forearm and had to have surgery. The at-fault driver had a personal insurance policy of $100,000. Now, my client’s case was worth $200,000. The other driver had $100,000 policy. This put pressure on USAA, the other driver’s personal auto insurer, to settle the case. Now, the driver of the
other car was working at the time of the accident, so she had through her employer
a million dollar policy. And, like I said, the value of my client’s case was $200,000. So, to get that extra
$100,000 took several months because the limit was
so high of Old Dominion, who was the employer’s insurer. Old Dominion’s insurance
policy of a million dollars was so much higher than the
$200,000 value of the case, they faced very little
pressure to settle quickly. Cruise ship accident cases may take longer to settle because the cruise ship is paying out of its pocket for generally all of your claim, or most of your claim, and then they have large
insurance policies. So there’s no bad-faith
pressure that they experience. In cruise cases, they generally have their own lawyers that they’re already paying a salary to, so they don’t have the fear of, if you file a lawsuit, having to pay an outside attorney, and pay them by the hour. Although as cruise cases progress, they may hire outside
attorneys to represent them. When your health insurance
or Medicare/Medicaid pays money for your case, they’re entitled generally
to get the money back, or at least some of the money back. You need to know what that lien amount is so that you can a) provide
it to the insurance adjuster, who is ultimately going to be paying you; but also so you know how much you’re gonna receive in your pocket. If you don’t know that lien, you could settle the case, and the lien could eat
up the entire settlement, which is what you don’t want. So, not knowing the lien could delay the time it
takes to settle a case. I hope you enjoyed this video. Please subscribe to my channel. Please like the video. Please comment, let me know
what you liked about the video, what you don’t, if you
agree with what I said, if you disagree with what I said. Please watch our other videos. My name is Justin Ziegler of JZ Helps, a Florida injury lawfirm
with my office in Miami. Have a great day. (upbeat music)