The timeline for a personal injury case isn’t set in stone—it largely depends on your unique circumstances. You’re the central figure in your case, and the question of settlement should only come into play once you’ve reached maximum medical improvement (MMI), i.e., when you’ve completely recovered from your injuries.
In Louisiana, the minimum auto policy limits are $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident. So, if you’ve suffered a serious injury and the at-fault driver only carries the minimum coverage, you may not be able to secure full compensation, unless you have sufficient underinsured motorist limits.
For instance, if you’ve sustained a Mild Traumatic Brain Injury from an auto accident, your treatment could span months, or even years. If you’re properly diagnosed after three months and have racked up $5,000 in medical bills, and the at-fault driver’s policy only covers $15,000, your case should be settled immediately due to the lack of additional coverage. Your case’s value is evidently above the available $15,000, making uninsured motorist coverage crucial.
Now, imagine a scenario where the at-fault driver is an Uber or Lyft driver with a paying passenger at the time of the accident. This changes the game because there’s $1,000,000 in available insurance coverage. Rather than rushing to settlement, you can be referred to specialists who can nurse you back to health. Your case should not enter the settlement phase until it’s clearly worth more than $1,000,000, or you’ve followed your treating physicians’ advice and recovered, or reached MMI.
In Louisiana, you have one year to file suit, meaning if your case doesn’t settle within one year, you must file suit in a court of competent jurisdiction to keep your claim alive. More serious injury cases typically require filing a lawsuit, as they often take over a year to reach MMI.
Sometimes, cases never settle and proceed to trial. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing—if an insurance company undervalues your case, presenting your case to a judge or jury could be the best course of action.
Remember that you’re not alone in this journey. Whether you’re in New Orleans, Ruston, or Monroe/West Monroe, experienced lawyers from The Burrell Firm LLC are here to advise you and help you determine how much your case is worth. Contact us today at (504) 475-7578 to schedule a free initial consultation.