Why Is My Car Accident Settlement Taking So Long?
If you have been injured in a crash, you want to receive your car accident settlement as soon as possible. You may be unable to work, leaving you to struggle with basic living expenses, and each day it seems like you receive another bill related to your accident and injuries.
As your case drags on, you may be wondering “Why is my car accident settlement taking so long?” “When will I get my settlement check?” “Why won’t my attorney give me a straight answer on when my case will be settled?”
The fact is that car accident settlements take a lot of work. They can also take a lot of time. Here are a few reasons your car accident settlement may be taking longer than expected.
The Car Accident Settlement Process is Complex
How long do accident settlements take? The answer can vary.
As mentioned, the car accident settlement process is actually very complex. How much compensation you deserve may seem obvious to you, but there are multiple steps you and your attorney must take to ensure that amount is received.
First and foremost, you must find and hire an attorney. After that, your attorney must send a demand letter. Then you and your attorney must wait the required time for a response. You also have discovery, negotiations, trial prep in case a settlement is not reached, more negotiations, agreeing on a settlement amount, and finally waiting for payout.
Each step is complicated in itself, and each must be handled with attention, accuracy, and care. Otherwise, you may receive a lower settlement offer than you deserve or even no compensation at all.
Your Car Accident Attorney Is Gathering Evidence
The best way to prove liability and to demonstrate the damages you have suffered is by gathering evidence. Without evidence, you have no case. Further, the more evidence you have, the easier settlement negotiations will be.
Typically, an insurance company will fight your claim for compensation. They will try to shift the blame onto you and will try to pay you as little as possible for your car accident injuries. Your evidence will need to show how the crash occurred, what injuries and damages you suffered, and how the accident caused those injuries and damages.
Evidence you and your attorney collect may include:
- Police reports
- Photos of the crash
- Photos of your injuries
- Medical records and bills related to your injuries
- Witness statements
- The driving history of the other driver
- Estimates of future medical costs
- Repair bills and estimates from an auto body shop
- A report from an accident reconstruction expert
- Income you have lost as a result of your accident and injury
- Statements from expert witnesses
Your Damages Are Taking Time to Calculate
Your car accident attorney’s job is to make sure you receive compensation for all the damages you have suffered. Damages do not stop at the physical injuries you have suffered. You can recover compensation for lost wages, time taken from work to go to medical appointments, costs of future medical treatment, damages related to pain and suffering and distress, and much more.
While some of these accident damages are tied to a specific economic amount, like lost wages and medical bills, others do not have an intrinsic monetary value attached to them. These are called non-economic damages and include things like pain and suffering, mental anguish, and disfigurement.
Your car accident attorney will need to determine how much your non-economic damages are worth and will need to back that determination with evidence. This is in addition to compiling records for all your economic damages.
The Defense Is Using Delay Tactics
Another reason your car accident lawsuit may be taking a long time to settle is the defense dragging its feet. Delaying the progress of a case, often referred to as “slow playing” a claim, is a common strategy used by the defends. The hope is you will get frustrated and take a settlement that is less than you deserve.
Personal injury law allows the parties involved time to respond to demands, filings, and motions. The defense may take advantage of this, often waiting until the last minute to meet their obligations. They may also extend deadlines, engage in extensive discovery, and use other tactics to delay the outcome of the case and the resulting payment.
Post-Settlement Payouts Process
Once a car accident lawsuit is settled, that does not mean your attorney’s work is done. Your attorney is responsible for correctly disbursing your settlement and making sure any debts you hold are paid. This can include items related to your case like unpaid medical bills, insurance fees, case expenses, and your lawyer’s contingency fee.
However, depending on your situation, additional disbursements may be made. For example, if you owe back child support, part of your settlement may go towards late child support payments.
Do Not Wait to Start Your Claim
The best way to avoid a lengthy settlement process is to file your car accident claim as soon as possible. This will allow your attorney to take immediate action on your case while the evidence is fresh and readily available.
If you wait to file your claim, evidence may be lost and recollection of the events that led to the collision may become hazy. Your attorney will have to work that much harder to build your case, taking more time than if you had filed your claim immediately after your accident.
Immediately filing your claim can also remove potential challenges from the event like “if your injuries were so severe, why did you take so long to file your lawsuit?” or “how do we know your injuries were not suffered after your accident?”
Contact an Experienced Auto Accident Attorney
When suing for a car accident, you want to make sure your case is handled by an experienced attorney. Generally, the more real-world experience your lawyer has, the more quickly they can build your case and secure your settlement. An experienced car accident attorney will also be familiar with the strategies and tactics employed by the defense to delay your settlement.
Thomas J. Henry Law has helped clients secure meaningful car accident settlements for more than 25 years. We have a team of dedicated attorneys who are supported by some of the best technology and legal resources in the industry.
Do not wait to start your claim. Call Thomas J. Henry Law now to speak with a Texas car accident lawyer about your case. We are available 24/7, nights and weekends to assist you.