If you are filing a claim for compensation under New Mexico’s dog bite laws for injuries you suffered in a dog bite, you will want to know how long it will take to settle your claim. Unfortunately, an experienced personal injury lawyer cannot give you a precise answer on when your case will be settled because every claim is unique. However, understanding the factors that influence the length of time to resolve a claim can give you a sense of how long it will take to settle yours.
What Is the General Time Frame for Settling a Dog Bite Case?
There is a broad time range of how long it can take to settle a dog bite claim. Some cases will be settled within a few months, while others can take a year or more to be resolved, especially if the case is litigated and goes to trial.
What Factors Can Affect the Length of Time it Takes to Resolve a Dog Bite Claim?
There are a number of factors that can affect how long it will take to settle a claim with the insurance adjuster. Here are important ones that can impact on how long the process will take.
Seriousness of Your Injuries
If you suffered minor injuries and recover from them quickly, the value of your claim will be lower. The insurance adjuster for the dog owner may be willing to offer you a settlement quickly that fully compensates you.
However, if you suffer a long-term injury, such as scarring or disfigurement, nerve damage, an amputation, or organ damage, you will be entitled to more compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Even if you have a strong case, the insurance company could raise many defenses and fight for longer to deny your claim or pay you less money in your settlement.
How Long It Takes You to Recover
You might not realize that how long it takes you to recover can affect the length of time it takes to settle your claim. However, you should not try to resolve your claim until you fully recover from your injuries or recover as much as possible, and your doctor can give you a final prognosis. If you suffered severe or multiple injuries, it could take months, a year, or longer for this to happen.
You cannot know the amount of damages you are entitled to, especially your future medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering, or if you will fully recover until you reach this stage in your medical treatment. Once you settle your case with the insurance company, your settlement will be final. You cannot reopen your claim if you later discover your injuries were more serious than you thought.
Your Partial Fault
It could take longer to resolve your case if the insurance adjuster claims you were partially to blame for causing the dog to bite you. They could argue that you provoked the dog—even if it is not true. Your attorney may need to collect additional evidence or file a lawsuit to convince the insurance company of their liability to compensate you.
Your attorney will need to file a lawsuit if the statute of limitations, which is the deadline you have to sue the dog owner, will expire soon or if the insurance company refuses to offer you a fair settlement. It can take over a year to litigate a case, especially if it goes to a jury trial.
Most cases will be settled at some point in the litigation process. However, litigation significantly increases how long it can take to settle a claim.
Did a dog bite you or a family member in Roswell, Carlsbad, or Southeast New Mexico? Our skilled personal injury attorneys can help collect the evidence you need to win your case and go up against the insurance company for the compensation you deserve. Call our Roswell office at 575-300-4000 or fill out our online form to schedule your free initial consultation today to learn more about how we can help you.