Why is My Car Accident Settlement Taking So Long?
Car accident settlements can take many months to settle, sometimes surpassing a year. Waiting for a personal injury settlement can be incredibly frustrating, especially if you are dealing with mounting medical bills and lost wages.
There are many reasons why an accident settlement could take a long time. However, some of the most common are ongoing medical treatment, the collecting of evidence, establishing liability, negotiations with insurance companies, and court involvement.
While you may be anxious to move your case forward quickly, it is important that you do not accept less than what you deserve. Insurance adjusters know when clients are desperate for money and may draw out the process to encourage them to accept a low settlement.
When you have representation from Chris Morrow Law, PLLC, the Attorney That Works, we will fight to keep your case moving forward quickly without compromising your rights. We will keep you informed and engaged at every stage so that you have autonomy over when to settle and when to fight for more. We have a long list of happy clients behind us and are committed to helping personal injury victims in Texas.
The settlement process can be highly emotional, but one of our car accident attorneys will provide you with individualized support that takes into account both your needs and what a just settlement will be in your case.
Call us at 512-520-8100 to arrange a free consultation with an experienced car accident lawyer.
Why is my Car Accident Settlement Taking So Long?
Personal injury claims involving car accidents can be incredibly complex. They often involve serious and ongoing injuries, large insurance companies, and more than one liable party.
It is important to have the support of an attorney who can help your case move forward quickly while also fighting to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.
Some of the main reasons why car accidents can take a long time to settle include the following:
The Severity of Your Injuries
If your personal injury case involves serious injuries, then it is likely to take longer to settle. Your personal injury attorney will need to establish the cost of your medical care and what your future costs are likely to be. They may need to draw upon expert testimony to evidence the cost of ongoing treatment.
The cost of future treatment is not an exact science and could involve a lot of negotiations with insurance companies before you secure what you deserve. However, it is essential that your attorney is willing and able to fight for the cost of future treatment, or you may find yourself left out of pocket in the future.
If you were in a work accident and are claiming workers’ compensation, then you will need to have reached maximum medical improvement before you can make a claim. In some cases, this means waiting until you are fully recovered, or if a full recovery is not in sight, then reaching maximum medical improvement may only mean that treatment is no longer effective.
Gathering Evidence Relating to Your Expenses
In order to establish the value of your claim, your attorney will help you collect all medical bills and other records, such as those relating to lost wages and property damage.
Insurance companies will not take your word for it; they will require substantial evidence before they pay for your damages. That could include medical bills and records, information from your employer, tax returns, and eyewitness statements to establish the effect the accident has had on your life.
Gathering records can be a time-consuming and costly process. Many medical facilities require you to make a request which enters a queue and may not be dealt with for many weeks or months.
In order to make a claim for compensation, your attorney will need to establish who was at fault. In some cases, it can be quite clear who was at fault. For example, if you were driving sensibly and were hit by a drunk driver, then liability should be straightforward. However, in some situations, it is much more difficult to establish the facts of the case.
Texas operates under comparative negligence, which means that more than one party could be responsible for an accident. When this happens, your attorney will need to establish the degree to which each party was at fault.
Possible at-fault parties could include:
- Car parts manufacturer
- If you were in a truck accident, then liability could involve the trucking company or loading company
- Multiple drivers
- A mechanic
- The organization responsible for maintaining the road
- A dram shop that over served alcohol to a driver
You can also claim compensation if you were partially to blame for an accident. So long as you were less than 50% at fault, you could be compensated to the degree to which the other party is found to be at fault. For example, if the other party was driving under the influence, but you were speeding, then you could be found to be 10% at fault. In this case, your settlement will be reduced by 10%.
Comparative negligence can slow down the settlement process. The other party may try to increase the percentage of liability placed upon you in order to reduce the amount they have to pay out. In addition, if you are seeking compensation from multiple parties, then it increases the amount of evidence required and the number of negotiations.
After a serious accident, it is important that you have the support of an attorney who will explore all of your avenues to compensation. Your damages could quickly exceed the limits of someone’s insurance policy, but when there are multiple liable parties, it could help to ensure that you receive what you deserve. An experienced lawyer will also help ensure that blame is not placed upon you unfairly.
Most car accident claims require a substantial amount of back and forth between your attorney and the insurance companies involved in your case. How long negotiations take will depend on the complexity of your case and the willingness of the insurance company to accept a fair settlement.
Insurance companies are big businesses that are driven by profit. One way that they may try and encourage victims to accept a low settlement is by drawing out the negotiation process. They might do this by requesting additional information, such as your medical history. Your car accident lawyer will understand when to provide additional information on when to refuse.
At Chris Morrow Law, PLLC, we will keep you informed throughout the negotiation process so that you can decide whether to settle or keep fighting for more. We will give you advice so you can weigh up the pros and cons and determine what the right decision for you is.
Most personal injury cases settle outside of court. A car accident lawsuit is costly and time-consuming, and so it is not usually in either party’s best interest. You may set a court date but still settle in the weeks or days before the trial.
However, sometimes court proceedings are necessary to secure justice, and it is important that your attorney is prepared to go to trial. The threat of court proceedings can also contribute to the willingness of insurance companies to offer a fair settlement rather than risk losing more through court costs.
Paying Outstanding Bills
Once you have finally reached an agreement and you know what you will receive in a settlement, you could still be waiting to receive what you are owed.
If you are still waiting to receive your settlement, it could be because medical and other insurance providers have a right to repayment. If they have filed a lien on your case, meaning the deferred payment in exchange for being paid out of the settlement, then they may need to be paid first before you receive what you are owed.
If I am Offered a Quick Settlement, Should I Take it?
We always recommend that you seek advice from an attorney before you accept a settlement. If an insurance company is quick to offer you a settlement, then it is probably much less than what you deserve. They expect you to reject the first offer to begin the discovery process and negotiations.
Once you accept an offer, you give up your right to fight for more, even if your settlement turns out to be much less than you deserve.
Many law firms offer a free consultation so an experienced attorney can assess your case and let you know whether you are being offered a good settlement or whether you should fight for more.
Do I Need a Car Accident Attorney?
When it comes to securing compensation after a car accident, it is important that you have the best representation. Although you are within your rights to pursue compensation without a lawyer, those who do almost always end up with far less than they deserve.
Insurance companies are driven by profit, and when you try to claim compensation alone, they will use underhanded tactics such as delaying your claim and are unlikely to offer a fair settlement. However, when you have the help of a car accident lawyer with a stellar reputation, such as those found at Chris Morrow Law, PLLC, you level the playing field.
Our attorneys work on a no-win no-fee basis, which means that you can never be left out of pocket for securing representation from us. We get paid as a percentage of your eventual settlement, and if your case is unsuccessful, then we will not receive anything.
The Attorney That Works
If you need help with a car accident case, then do not hesitate to contact Chris Morrow Law, PLLC, for a fee consultation.
We will strive to move your case forward as quickly as possible without compromising your rights and accepting less than what you deserve. We take a personalized approach and will take the time to understand and adapt to your needs. We will keep you engaged and give you options at every stage.
Personal injury law is complex, and no one should have to face car accident negotiations alone.
Arrange a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer today at 512-520-8100.