Waiting for a settlement is frustrating but understanding that various factors impact your claim might help put the timeline into perspective. Generally, if a case takes a while, it’s not because your attorney takes too long. Some other aspects of your case may be the reason for the delay, such as difficulties gathering evidence or getting the insurance company to agree to a fair settlement. Let’s take a closer look at some of these reasons your settlement might be delayed.
Factors Impacting a Car Accident Settlement Timeline
Generally, a personal injury settlement will end sooner if you are willing to take less money. On the contrary, it might mean more money in your pocket later if you’re willing to wait for the right settlement number.
Also, a car accident settlement will take longer if there are discrepancies in the facts or if legal questions need to be resolved. Car accident settlements can take longer depending on the following:
- How long your medical treatment takes;
- If any additional evidence is needed, like medical bills and records that you don’t have yet;
- Whether the insurance company negotiates in good faith or uses unethical tactics to try to drag the case out or deny you compensation; and
- If negotiations fail and the need to go to trial arises.
Let’s discuss each of these in greater detail.
Length of Medical Treatment
If you are still undergoing medical treatment for the injuries you sustained in a car accident, this could delay your settlement. Ensuring you reach maximum medical improvement before filing a claim ensures you request a settlement amount equal to the full extent of your injuries. Although you might still be treating your injuries, working closely with a personal injury attorney during the process is highly advisable.
Collecting Necessary Evidence
During the settlement process, an insurance company will likely fight your claim and even argue you contributed to the accident. To rebut the insurance company’s arguments, you need solid evidence to substantiate the settlement amount you want.
Common evidentiary support includes the following:
- Police reports;
- Photographs from the accident scene;
- Medical records and bills;
- An estimated loss of past, current, and future income or earning capacity;
- Vehicle repair bills or estimates from an auto body shop;
- Witness statements; and
- Expert testimony.
Requesting and receiving this evidence can take time, especially if you don’t know where to look. You will likely need the guidance of an attorney to determine what evidence is necessary and where to find it.
Negotiation is often an essential part of getting the compensation you deserve. After an attorney sends a settlement offer to an insurance company, the attorney’s hands are tied until the insurance company responds to the offer. The insurance company will take as long as it needs, which can delay a case. Negotiations will end when you reach the middle ground and accept a settlement offer—or when it becomes clear that the insurance company will not offer you a fair settlement. If they won’t be reasonable, the next step is to take the case to trial.
When the parties cannot agree on a settlement amount, your lawyer will likely suggest filing a lawsuit and taking the case to trial, delaying your case further. However, if you want to receive a settlement that reflects the amount your case is truly worth, sometimes litigation is your best bet. Keep in mind thatlitigation often takes a lot of time. Research studies conducted by the National Center for State Courts say that most personal injury cases resolve within one to three years.
It can be hard to wait that long, but if your attorney suggests litigation, it’s generally worth sticking it out.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney Today
If you’re wondering why your Texas car accident settlement is taking so long, the attorneys at the Grossman Law Offices can help. Michael Grossman is an award-winning personal injury and wrongful death lawyer and has been recognized as one of the top lawyers in Texas. Contact our office today for a free consultation.