Why does your injury claim take so long?

Clients ask me all the time, “How long is this claim going to take?” And I have a cheeky answer: “How long is it going to take you to get better?” I think that’s informative, but my clients sometimes just think I’m a smart@$$.

I get it. Injury claim victims really want to know what they’re in for. Who wouldn’t? But the thing is, claims are so varied in so many aspects it’s really hard to tell how long each claim is going to take.

My cheeky answer above is informative in that the longest part of most claims is going to be the recovery. We can’t really evaluate your claim’s value until your treatment is done (or at least plateaued), which doesn’t happen until you reach maximum medical improvement.

I can’t tell you how long your claim is going to take. But I can tell you a much closer estimate after you’re done with treatment.

Of course, there are lots of different points of your claim process. The treatment stage is normally the longest bit. But as time goes on, the documentation stage is becoming more and more prolonged. That is the stage where we amass all of the documents we need to prove what you’ve lost as a result of your claim. For most claims this is mainly the collection of treatment records and bills from health care providers. The tricky bit about this is that EVERY facility has their own rules about how you request materials. Some places want you to get records from them but bills from somewhere else. Some places want you to get bills from them but records from somewhere else. Some places don’t want you to talk to them at all. Some times you go to a place and get billed by two or three different places. Some will tell you where they do want you to request stuff from. Some places will tell you to send them the request and then ignore it until you send it again and then CALL them. And the thing is, you don’t know this stuff until you deal with that particular health care provider. And even then, they change this stuff at whim, and have NO obligation to tell you about it.

If you’re reading this, it’s probably because you’re frustrated with the time it’s taking to get your claim done. Lots of things can make your claim take a long time, but I’ll be willing to bet that your documentation phase is going to be your main source of frustration here. It is NOT as easy as calling up your doc and saying, “Send me the stuff,” and then badda bing, badda boom you get it. Most of the time, it takes weeks, if not months, to get records and bills from all of the various facilities that have given you care or charged you for care related to your injury. I wish that was not the case, but it just is. I do my best to make all aspects of your claim move quickly, but I can’t control places I don’t run, and I don’t run the hospitals or doctor’s offices or PT places. And remember, I don’t get paid until I get your case resolved, so you know I have ZERO interest in delaying it, if for no other reason than that.

These things take time. More time than we like. But we do our best.

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Jeffrey Allen Howard, Attorney at Law, PLLC
1829 E. Franklin St. - Bldg 600
Chapel Hill, NC 27514

(P) 919-929-2992
(F) 919-636-4779

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