Why Is My Car Accident Settlement Taking So Long

Why Is My Car Accident Settlement Taking So Long

Why Is My Car Accident Settlement Taking So Long

Personal injury lawyers are often asked, “Why is my car accident settlement taking so long?” Although each case is unique, there are a few common reasons that can make it seem like settlements are taking too long.

There are several reasons why car accidents can be difficult to resolve:

  • Duration of medical treatment
  • The collection of medical bills, records, and other evidence
  • Negotiations and litigation
  • Payment of outstanding bills

Most of the time, it is not a personal injury attorney’s fault that the process takes so long. There are other parties involved and information exchanges in personal injury cases. Settlements for car accidents take an average of 6-9 months. Some factors could unexpectedly prolong the settlement.

Injury victims are eager to move on with their lives and finish their cases. They know they deserve some form of financial compensation but have no idea how to go about it. Insurance adjusters are aware that they want to close the case as soon as possible. Insurance adjusters know that many injured parties are willing to accept less money than their claim is worth just to get the case over with.

Insurance adjusters often “promise” to cover all medical bills, even before the treatment is completed. They will also throw in some extra money. They don’t tell you that they may not pay for future medical care or that they may not pay all the medical bills.

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1. Length of Medical Treatment

Before you can settle your personal injury claim, you must reach your maximum medical improvement (MMI) or something similar. The full extent of the damages is not known until that time. Medical costs after a car crash average around $57,000. The term “maximum medical improvement” does not mean you’re back to your pre-accident health but that you have reached the best health you can from a medical perspective. It may take weeks or even months of physical therapy or multiple consultations. You’ve moved on from the active treatment of your injury to either no treatment at all or only conservative treatments, such as follow-ups every six to twelve months, depending on your doctor’s recommendation.

The value of a claim is not determined by the injury alone but also by the symptoms and limitations that result from the injury, such as pain and suffering after an auto accident.

2. Collecting Medical Bills & Records and Other Evidence

After treatment, you will need to gather all medical records and bills to prove the cost of treatment, as well as provide proof of symptoms and limitations. As the injured party, you must prove that the other party was at fault, that you suffered injuries as a result of the incident, and that your symptoms and limitations are directly related to those injuries.

Insurance companies will not accept your word alone. They aim to pay as little as possible for your claim. With medical records and bills, along with information about lost wages from your employer (or your tax return if self-employed), you can demonstrate that your injuries are real and impact your ability to work. Providing contact information for witnesses or “damages witnesses” who can testify to your ability to function before and after the accident can also be helpful. A police accident report can further support your claim. Typically, medical bills and records are the best proof of your injuries.

Many people think that obtaining medical records and bills is as easy as dialing a number or clicking a few links. In reality, this process can be time-consuming and expensive. Most medical facilities have dedicated billing and records departments, where requests are placed in a queue. The injured patient’s (or guardian’s) signature is required to release records, and the authorization can limit the type of information and the specific time frame to be released. Some record departments may take up to a month to process requests, and they often require payment for their time. Additionally, payment may be needed in advance before records are released.

3. Negotiations & Litigation

After you’ve gathered all the necessary information and sent your demand, give the insurance company time to review the records and bills to determine liability (if it hasn’t already been determined) and how much to offer for the claim. The length of time required depends on both the complexity and severity of the injury. Reviewing a demand package for a rear-end accident with soft tissue damage may take only a month, while a crash involving multiple drivers and catastrophic injuries could take 90+ days.

The insurance company might also request more information to make a decision, such as prior medical records. Insurance companies may not always be reasonable in their requests for more information and could use this as a tactic to delay the case. Your car crash lawyer will decide whether or not to provide the additional information.

Negotiations are usually the best way to resolve personal injury cases, but sometimes a personal injury lawyer will suggest filing a lawsuit. Litigating is tiring and time-consuming but is often necessary to achieve a fair result. Most cases settle during litigation, often just days or weeks before the trial date. This could be many years after the filing of the lawsuit.

4. Paying Outstanding Bills

You’ve finally reached an agreement with your insurance company after completing treatment, going through negotiations, or possibly litigation. The settlement amount has been agreed upon. After attorney’s fees, case costs, medical bills, and possibly health insurance or loan amounts are paid, your personal injury lawyer will tell you how much you can expect from the settlement. It still feels like you’re waiting too long for your check. 

Legally, many medical insurance companies or other providers have the right to be reimbursed. Medical providers who have filed a lien may have deferred payment in exchange for a guarantee that they would be paid from the settlement. Health insurance companies, such as Medicare, Medicaid, and Tricare, have the right to reimbursement for healthcare costs related to your injury treatment. Employer-sponsored insurance may also have this right; speak to your lawyer to find out if yours does. Before money is disbursed, your attorney will negotiate with these parties to determine the final payment amount.

If you receive policy limits in your case, your attorney will likely investigate whether the defendant at fault has additional insurance coverage. This may include requesting an insurance declaration page or, in certain circumstances, an affidavit stating they have no other insurance.

Get Help With Your Car Accident Case From Kevin L. Sullivan II

If you or a family member has been injured in a vehicle accident, request a no-cost case evaluation from me, Kevin L. Sullivan II. Contact me, your Zephyrhills car accident attorney, for updates or help with your case. I am available to provide updates on your case or offer assistance.

Call us at (813) 598-4868

I am proud to serve multiple cities from convenient office locations (By Appointment*).

5720 Gall Boulevard, Ste 4

Zephyrhills, FL 33542

27642 Cashford Cir, Suite #110

Wesley Chapel*, FL 33544

5006 Trouble Creek Rd, Ste 205

Port Richey*, FL 33652

3900 First Street North, Ste 100

St. Petersburg, FL 33703

1111 Oakfield Dr, Ste 15B

Brandon*, FL 33511

110 N 11th St

Tampa*, FL 33602

Contact Accident Attorney Kevin L. Sullivan II TODAY at (813) 598-4868 for a FREE no-obligation consultation. I look forward to assisting you with your claim!

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