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.
What is Texas Negligence Law?
If you suffered injuries in a car accident and are now trying to recover compensation for your injuries, you may have questions such as “how long does a car accident settlement take?” or “why is my car accident settlement taking so long?”.
In reality, there is no definite answer to this question because the amount of time it takes for a car accident settlement to settle depends entirely on the particular circumstances of your case. As such, the case could be settled by a Judge within a few months, or it could go on for more than one year.
The best way to speed up your car accident settlement and ensure that you recover compensation for your injuries is to contact a car accident attorney as soon as possible. An experienced car accident lawyer will take over the lawsuit on your behalf, negotiate with your insurance company, gather evidence to support your claim, and try to reach a fair settlement as soon as possible.
How Long Does a Car Accident Lawsuit Take?
The amount of time a car accident lawsuit takes depends entirely on the particular circumstances of your case. There are certain factors that can impact the time it takes, including liability issues, a high settlement amount, lack of evidence, or lowball offers by an insurance company. Also, you must recover from your injuries and gather medical records before filing a claim, in most cases, which can take some time.
Insurance companies do not want to pay out substantial amounts of money for personal injury claims. So, they may try to extend the process by offering you low settlement amounts or threatening to bring you to court. Unless you have a lawyer by your side, you may be inclined to accept a lower offer to speed up the process. However, an attorney can help ensure that you are awarded maximum compensation and that your case is not dragged out for too long.
There is also only so much money you can recover from an insurance company. Sometimes, particularly if you suffered a severe injury, you may need to file a separate lawsuit against the at-fault driver to recover damages. A negligence lawsuit can take a lot more time than a standard insurance claim, and you will need to hire an attorney that has significant experience with negligence claims.
Things To Do Before a Car Accident Settlement
Like all personal injury cases, there are several things that you must do before a car accident lawsuit. The sooner that you begin the process of claiming compensation for your injuries, the shorter the lawsuit process will be. Before receiving a settlement offer, you must:
- Reach maximum medical improvement – If you suffered injuries, it is important that you have fully recovered from your injuries or achieved maximum medical improvement. This means that although you may require further treatment, you have reached the highest likely standard of recovery.
- Obtain medical records – The personal injury lawyers working on your case should work to get all medical records and medical bills as soon as possible. If you will require further surgeries or medical treatment, it is important that your lawyer can get an estimate of costs from your doctor. Without this documentation, you will be unable to recover compensation.
- Settlement demand – Once you have gathered the documentation necessary for your claim, your personal injury attorney should send a settlement demand to the insurance company. Insurance companies typically respond within three weeks, however, they often prolong this. Your lawyer should keep in contact with the insurance company to ensure that they are not dragging out the settlement process to prevent paying you compensation.
Under Texas law, insurance companies are required to respond to a personal injury claim within 15 days of receiving notice of a claim. They must have all information relating to the claim, including medical bills, documentation, police report, etc. They also reserve the right to delay this to 45 days however, they must have a sufficient basis for doing so.
If you have not heard back from an insurance company regarding your car accident case for more than 15 days, or if your claim has been rejected, consult with an experienced lawyer as soon as possible.
Factors That Influence The Length of a Car Accident Settlement
There are a number of factors that can increase the length of car accident settlement negotiations. Insurance companies are reluctant to pay victims compensation. Because of this, they often try to prolong the settlement process, particularly if you are entitled to a significant amount of compensation.
The Severity of Your Injuries
Typically, serious car accident cases that result in more severe injuries, such as long-lasting injuries, traumatic brain injury, and injuries that cause disabilities take longer to settle. This is because the victims in these cases are entitled to a high amount of compensation. As such, an insurance company may try to prolong the process by arguing against evidence or by their insurance adjuster undervaluing the claim.
It is important that you get the highest estimate possible for your injuries before the car accident claim settles. Your lawyer should consult with doctors and experts to assess how much you should be entitled to. Although this may take longer, it will prevent your claim from being undervalued.
When there is liability involved, the onus lies on the car accident victim to prove that the other driver’s negligence caused the accident. Often, an auto accident claim takes much longer because there is a dispute as to whether the other driver is liable for the accident. If there were multiple parties involved in the car accident, it can take even longer to determine liability.
If there is a liability dispute during your car accident claim, it is important to have legal representation from an experienced lawyer. They can investigate the case and gather evidence to help prove liability and ensure that you get compensation.
Value of The Car Accident
Typically, an insurance company is less willing to pay out large amounts of money in a settlement. As such, if your car accident claim is high value, it may increase the time it takes to settle your claim. This is because the insurance company will probably try to limit the payout by challenging evidence, undervaluing the claim, and disputing the claim.
Most car accident cases are settled outside of court, as going to trial can be quite costly, and it is not the first option for most car accident victims. However, in some cases, an insurance company that does not want to offer a fair settlement or refuses to settle based on certain grounds may force you to bring the case to trial.
Personal injury cases that go to court take much longer to settle. This is because you have to wait on court hearing dates, go through the formal process of a court, submit evidence to a Judge, argue your case before a court, and await the ruling of the Judge. If you are not happy with the decision, or if the insurance company is not happy, they may choose to appeal the decision, which will mean more time going through this process.
Having the backing of a car accident lawyer can help prevent the case from going to trial and speed up the process substantially. They will use their negotiation skills to speak with an insurance company, present evidence on your behalf, and negotiate a fair compensation amount for your case.
Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations in Texas provides that victims have 2 years to file personal injury claims for car accidents and file lawsuits against the liable party. Although this may seem like you have a long time period to file the claim, personal injury cases often take a lot of time and effort. As such, it is important to get moving on the case as soon as possible.
During the claim, you will have to gather evidence, negotiate, and handle a lot of documentation. You may also need to get medical assessments for long-lasting injuries and estimates of medical costs, which can take some time. If you wait until the last minute to file a claim with your insurance company, you may run out of time for filing a negligence lawsuit against the liable party.
Often, the compensation offered by an insurance company does not cover the costs of medical expenses and other costs incurred as a result of the accident. As such, filing a lawsuit against the at-fault driver may be the only way to ensure that you get the maximum amount of compensation possible.
It is important to act fast with your insurance claim to ensure your financial recovery is sufficient and that you have enough time to file a lawsuit if necessary.
What Compensation Can I Claim in a Car Accident?
To recover compensation, car accident victims must prove that they are entitled to damages. The damages you can make a claim for depend entirely on the particular circumstances of your case and the type of harm that you suffered in a car accident. The more damages you can claim for, the higher your car accident settlement check will be.
Some damages you may be able to claim include:
- Medical bills – If you suffered serious injuries and were hospitalized as a result of a car accident, you can claim medical bills relating to these injuries. This includes bills for hospital appointments, future medical care, and transport to and from these appointments.
- Lost income – If you were unable to work as a result of serious injuries or emotional trauma, you may be able to claim compensation for lost wages and future expenses.
- Pain and suffering – Car accidents can cause a lot more than physical damage. Often, victims suffer emotional trauma or distress as a result of their injuries. If you suffered stress, emotional distress, or trauma because of an auto accident, you may be entitled to pain and suffering damages.
- Property damage – You can make a property damage claim if your vehicle or personal belongings were damaged in a car accident. This may cover reparation or replacement costs.
- Wrongful death – If you lost a loved one in a car accident, a lawyer from our firm can help you recover funeral expenses and a loss of income to the family household.
An experienced personal injury lawyer can help assess what type of damages you may be entitled to in your car accident claim. They will help you gather evidence such as medical records and receipts, to assist your claim and ensure that you are awarded maximum compensation in a settlement.
How Can a Car Accident Lawyer Help Me?
Trying to recover compensation after an auto accident can be quite stressful. Insurance companies make it difficult for victims to recover maximum compensation and use many tactics to try to reduce the amount of compensation they must pay. Because of this, they may drag out your claim, dispute evidence, and try to force you into accepting a lowball settlement.
With the backing of a car accident lawyer, however, you will not be forced into accepting a lower settlement check for the harm you suffered in a car crash. An experienced attorney will do everything in their power to protect your legal rights and ensure that you get the settlement money that you deserve.
A car accident lawyer will communicate with the insurance company on your behalf, dispute any false claims or allegations that they make, gather evidence to prove your claim, speak with experts, prove that your injuries were caused by someone else’s negligence, and get a fair settlement agreement on your behalf. Most importantly, they will prevent your case from being dragged out by an insurance company, and they will speed up the process significantly.
Should I Take The Insurance Settlement After a Car Accident?
Trying to determine who was at fault for a car accident can sometimes be quite complex. In no-fault states, drivers involved in an accident can recover compensation from their insurance company regardless of whether they were at fault. However, because Texas is an ‘at-fault’ state, drivers must prove that the other party caused their accident to recover compensation.
If you were involved in a car accident and need help understanding Texas car insurance laws, you should contact Chris Morrow Law, PLLC. We understand how confusing it can be to recover compensation for your injuries after a collision, and we want to help you in any way we can.
Fault vs. No-Fault
When you take out an auto insurance policy, it is important to understand what would happen if you got into a car accident. In the United States, there are typically no-fault states and at-fault states. In a no-fault state, drivers can make claims with their own insurance companies for medical bills, lost wages, and property damage, regardless of whether they caused the accident. This means that drivers in no-fault states have an automatic ‘Personal Injury Protection’ (PIP) policy.
In comparison, in an at-fault state, drivers must opt-in to receive this PIP policy. To recover compensation for a road accident in an at-fault state, you must prove that there was an at-fault driver. As such, if you caused a car crash and do not have a PIP policy, you will have to pay for your own car repair costs and medical bills.
Comparative Fault Explained
Compared to a no-fault state, a comparative-fault state such as Texas allows for more than one person to be responsible for a car accident. This means that when an accident occurs, each party is assigned a percentage of fault. This percentage of fault will determine how much compensation you are entitled to for the accident.
For example, if you were in a car accident with another driver where you were 20% at fault, and they were 80% at fault, the compensation you receive from them will be reduced by 20%. So, if you were originally entitled to $100,000 in compensation, because of comparative fault rules, your payment would be reduced by $20,000, and you would receive a final settlement of $80,000.
In an at-fault state, a person injured in a car accident can pursue a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver or the driver’s insurance company. In comparison, a person living in a no-fault state would first go to their own insurance company to recover compensation for medical bills, lost wages, etc.
Modified Comparative Fault Rule
The modified comparative fault rule, or the 51% rule, prevents at-fault drivers from receiving compensation for an accident that was their fault. As per the name of the rule, a driver that is more than 51% at fault for a car accident cannot make a compensation claim for damages against other parties involved in the accident.
If the court determines your level of fault for the accident to be between 0% and 50%, you will be able to recover damages from the other party involved, provided that they were more at fault than you. For example, if you were 40% at fault for the accident, and the other at-fault party was 60% at-fault, you can recover damages from them in an injury claim.
Insurance Company Requirements in Texas
In Texas, drivers are required to have auto insurance policies in place in order to operate a vehicle legally. Texas fault laws require drivers to have liability insurance, which helps protect other drivers in the event of a road accident. If you cause an accident with another driver, your liability insurance pays for their damages and injuries.
There is a minimum coverage that drivers are required to purchase in liability insurance, which usually amounts to $30,000 for bodily injury insurance per person, $60,000 for all bodily injury liability, and $25,000 for property damage. However, a driver can file a claim against you to recover extra compensation if their damages exceed your liability insurance. As such, we recommend purchasing more than the minimum amount of liability coverage to protect against injury claims, if possible.
Liability coverage only provides protection for other drivers when you are at fault. To ensure that you are protected in the event of an accident, you will need to purchase extra auto insurance coverage, such as:
Personal Injury Protection (PIP)
PIP coverage provides protection for personal injuries sustained by Texas drivers in car accidents. As noted previously, states that have no-fault laws in place provide this protection to drivers automatically through their car insurance policies. However, in Texas, drivers must opt-in for a PIP policy to ensure that they are personally protected in the event of a road accident.
PIP coverage will pay out for medical expenses, rehabilitation, future medical care, lost wages, medication, and related medical costs. The amount of money you can recover from car accident insurance claims depends on the amount of PIP coverage that you purchased.
Collision coverage provides protection against damage to your vehicle in the event of an accident or being struck by a large object. If the other driver who was at fault for the accident does not have insurance, you can make a claim under your collision coverage to pay for repairs to your vehicle, or replacement in some cases.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Although the law requires all drivers in Texas to have liability insurance, sometimes people drive without insurance and cause accidents. If you are involved in an accident and the other driver does not have insurance, it is difficult to recover compensation against them. Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage protects drivers in this situation.
If the other driver does not have insurance and they were at fault, or if their insurance policy is not enough to cover the costs of your injuries, uninsured/underinsured coverage will compensate you for your injuries. This type of insurance coverage will also protect you in the event of a hit-and-run accident.
Who Is At Fault in a Texas Car Accident?
As compensation is paid based on which driver was at fault for a car accident, insurance companies and Judges are responsible for determining liability and figuring out who was at fault for the car accident. To determine fault in auto accidents, an insurance company may look at:
- Photographs and videos of the car accident scene, including damage to cars.
- Photographs and videos of injuries.
- Police reports.
- Testimony from witnesses to the scene.
- CCTV footage.
- Expert opinions, including crash reconstruction experts.
- Mobile phone records.
If the other driver disputes they were at fault, you will need to gather substantial evidence against them to prove fault. The at-fault driver’s insurance company will require this evidence before they will pay you compensation.
How a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help
Being involved in a motor vehicle accident can be a traumatizing and stressful experience. Trying to deal with insurance companies afterward can often cause victims even more stress, particularly if they lack an understanding of Texas fault laws. Hiring a personal injury attorney to deal with your accident claim can help relieve some stress when filing a claim and ensure that you get maximum compensation for your injuries.
An experienced accident attorney will first help you understand insurance laws in Texas. They can check what type of insurance coverage you have, assess how much you may be entitled to, and help file a claim on your behalf. When it comes to proving fault, they can assist with gathering evidence, speaking with witnesses, hiring experts, and building a strong claim on your behalf.
Insurance agencies are often reluctant to pay injured drivers compensation, particularly if the amount that they are entitled to is a lot. An attorney can help ensure that they do not cheat you out of recovering the compensation you are owed by offering a lowball settlement. They will negotiate with the insurance carrier on your behalf, put forward your claim, and ensure that you get the compensation you deserve.
If you want to learn more about how an experienced lawyer can help you with your car accident case, contact Chris Morrow Law, PLLC, today.
Is Texas a No-Fault State For Car Accidents?
Car insurance in Texas operates on a fault-based system. This means that if you get involved in a road accident with another driver, the at-fault driver must pay compensation to the victim. Different from a no-fault state, the victim is required to prove that another driver caused their injuries in order to recover compensation. As such, it is important that you have the requisite insurance policy in place to protect yourself in the event of a road accident.
If you need help with a car accident case or making an insurance claim, contact Chris Morrow Law, PLLC today. Our law firm has been helping citizens of Texas with insurance claims for many years, and we have a deep understanding of insurance laws. At Chris Morrow Law, PLLC, we want to help you in any way we can, and we are dedicated to providing the highest standard of legal care possible.
Chris Morrow is “The Attorney That Works” because he has a proven track record of getting his client’s positive results. Our focus is on protecting your future and helping you recover from any injuries you sustained while providing top-quality legal assistance. We want to support you in any way we can and help you navigate through the legal process with ease.
Call us today at 512-729-1972 to schedule a free consultation!
What Happens if You do not Accept a Settlement?
If you reject a settlement offer, then it is terminated. From this point, you can begin to negotiate a better settlement agreement. You cannot accept a settlement offer once it has been rejected. However, the insurance company’s first offer is almost always much less than what you deserve.
In most cases rejecting the first offer is the first step to fair compensation. Unless your case has little backing and you have just been offered a couple of hundred dollars as a goodwill gesture, your insurance adjuster will expect you to reject the first offer, at which point the negotiation process will begin.
If you or someone you love has suffered a personal injury, then expenses can quickly mount up, paired with lost income; this is not a position that anybody wants to be in. Once you accept a settlement offer, you lose your right to fight for more. Therefore, you should first seek advice from an attorney who has experience in personal injury cases.
At Chris Morrow Law, PLLC, we offer a free consultation to all personal injury victims, so you can seek legal counsel before you make a decision. Our personal injury lawyers work on a no-win no-fee basis, so if you do accept representation, then you can never be left out of pocket.
Remember, insurance companies are driven by profit and will fight tirelessly to avoid paying you what you are owed. When you have legal representation from us, we will give you the best chance at securing the compensation you deserve. We will collect strong evidence and negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf. We will always keep you informed and will give you options at every stage.
When you have experienced representation, you can focus on what’s really important – your recovery.
Contact us today at 512-729-1972 to arrange a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney.
What To Do After Receiving a Settlement Offer
Before you accept the initial settlement offer, you should seek a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer who can advise you based on your specific circumstances. They will be able to make a quick assessment as to what your case should be worth and whether the offer that has been presented to you is a valid one.
Based on this advice, you may decide to still accept the offer that has been presented to you, or if your attorney thinks you have a good claim and you decide to continue with representation, then they will take over the negotiations to fight for a better settlement.
You and your attorney will write a demand letter to the insurance company, which will be an opportunity for you to tell your side of the story. It will include details of what happened, who you believe to be at fault, the damages you have suffered so far, and how long your recovery is likely to be. It will also include a settlement figure that you would be willing to accept.
When you have an experienced personal injury lawyer by your side, the insurance adjuster assigned to your case will know that they cannot get away with a lowball offer. They are likely to respond with a counteroffer, which you may accept, or if not, your case could require further negotiations.
It is likely that your insurance adjuster and your attorney will exchange further letters to reach a fair settlement. Once a settlement has been accepted, your attorney will take their percentage (as agreed upon beforehand), and the rest will be yours.
If a fair settlement cannot be agreed upon, then your personal injury attorney may need to advocate on your behalf in court. Court proceedings take time and are costly, and often best to be avoided. However, your attorney should be prepared to go to court. Even the threat of a potential court case is often enough to make insurance adjusters offer a higher settlement, as they will not want to risk losing more in court.
When Should I Accept a Settlement?
When you have representation from a personal injury attorney, you will have the opportunity to discuss each settlement offer with them to determine the pros and cons of accepting. They will help you consider factors such as:
- Does the settlement offer cover your economic losses as a result of the accident, both now and in the future?
- Has your emotional pain and suffering been properly considered, and is it reflected in the offer?
- Is the figure above or close to what you determined to be an acceptable offer?
- Do you have a complete idea of what compensation may be available to you?
What If the Insurance Company Refuses to Negotiate?
Insurance companies are profit-driven and many will not refrain from using underhanded tactics to get you to accept a lowball offer. One such tactic is to delay your claim in the hopes that you will become desperate to accept any offer presented to you.
When you have an experienced attorney by your side, they will help protect you from such tactics. If the insurance company does not cooperate, then they could bring a personal injury lawsuit against them in court.
How do I Settle a Personal Injury Claim Quickly?
You may be tempted to accept a settlement offer because you need the money to cover your increasing expenses. However, it is important to remember that insurance companies are under no obligation to offer you a fair settlement.
Every person’s circumstances are different, and you should weigh up the pros and cons of potentially accepting less than you deserve. Some cases can take many months to settle, especially if there is doubt as to who was at fault, more than one liable party, or the facts of your case require time to establish.
When you secure representation from Chris Morrow Law, PLLC, we will fight to secure quick compensation without compromising on your rights. We will establish what your case is worth and will work with you to determine where to fight for a quicker settlement and when to go the distance to secure what is rightfully yours.
Should I Accept the First Settlement if I Was Partially at At-Fault?
No. Just because you believe you may have been partially to blame for an accident does not mean that you should accept the first settlement offer. You may still be owed compensation and should speak with an attorney who can advise you on your next steps.
The fact that you have been offered a settlement means that you likely have a good claim for compensation. You may not have all the facts of your case just yet, and your involvement could be less than what you think.
Even if you were partially at fault, in Texas, you could still claim compensation; this is known as comparative fault. So long as you were less than 50% at fault for the accident, you can still claim compensation, but it will be reduced by the percentage to which you are found to be liable.
For example, if you were in an accident at work, and you were partly to blame but were not given proper safety equipment, then you may be determined to be 20% at fault for the accident. If your case is worth $100,000, then it will be reduced by 20%, and you will still receive $80,000.
The insurance company may try to unfairly push the blame onto you in order to reduce the amount they owe you. However, your personal injury lawyer will present evidence to demonstrate liability and will ensure that it is not placed upon you unfairly.
How Much Compensation Could I Receive in a Personal Injury Claim?
The amount you can claim in compensation for a personal injury claim will depend on factors such as the quality of your representation, how clear liability is, and the value of your damages.
Your damages are your economic and noneconomic losses as a result of your injury; they include:
Medical Expenses Past and Future
Medical bills are often the biggest concern for personal injury victims. A good settlement should compensate you for all your medical expenses, including surgery costs, hospital bills, medication costs, physical therapy, and more.
An attorney will also help to ensure that you are compensated for your future medical costs. If you require ongoing treatment, then it is important you are not left out of pocket months or years later for an injury that wasn’t your fault. If you do accept a quick settlement, then it is unlikely that your future medical expenses will have been considered.
Lost Wages Past and Future
Following a serious injury, you are likely to be unable to work, resulting in lost wages. A good settlement should compensate you for all your lost income. If your injuries are ongoing and are likely to continue to affect your ability to work, then you should also be compensated for your future lost wages.
Pain and Suffering Damages
Pain and suffering damages compensate you for your emotional suffering and the pain you have been through. Any accident that causes a personal injury is traumatic, and injuries can leave people with physical pain and a reduction in their quality of life.
A quick settlement is unlikely to include pain and suffering damages. They can be highly contentious, but an experienced personal injury lawyer will help you to evidence your claims and fight for a settlement that is representative of your suffering.
Pain and suffering damages can often equate to a large percentage of a victim’s settlement. One common method to calculate this is to use a multiplier between one and five against your economic damages.
For example, if your injuries are currently impacting your ability to work and live your life as you normally would, but you expect to make a full recovery, then a multiplier of two could be justified. However, if your injuries are permanent and life-limiting, then a multiplier of five could be used.
Punitive damages can only be awarded by a Judge and therefore are only awarded in cases that result in a lawsuit. A Judge may decide to award punitive damages in cases involving particularly reckless behavior or gross negligence. They are a way to deter similar behavior in the future or punish the defendant for their actions.
In your free consultation, your personal injury lawyer can assess your case and determine if they believe you have a valid claim for compensation. However, if you have already been offered a settlement, then it is likely that the insurance company believes you have a valid claim.
Every case is different, and how long your case takes to settle will depend on the complexity of your case, how willing the other party is to negotiate, the severity of your injuries, and the quality of your representation. A straightforward case could be over in a few months, while more complex cases could take more than a year.
Some people are tempted to accept a settlement offer because they do not believe that they can afford representation. However, at Chris Morrow Law, PLLC, we work on a contingency fee basis, which means that we take a percentage of your settlement if we are successful. If we do not win your compensation, then we will not be paid anything.
Contact Chris Morrow Law, PLLC Today – The Attorney That Works
At Chris Morrow Law, PLLC, we understand when to fight for a quick settlement and when to fight for a more compensation sum. We will work meticulously to gather evidence and determine the value of your damages to ensure that we are fighting for a settlement that reflects your past and future expenses and your pain and suffering.
We will keep you engaged throughout the process and will always provide you with options and the likelihood of various outcomes based on specific actions.
Contact us today and arrange a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer at 512-729-1972.