Why Is My Car Accident Settlement Taking So Long?

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two cars crashing with each other on the road

If it is taking longer than you expected to get a car accident settlement, you deserve an explanation. Your car accident case is taking so long to settle for many reasons, as these cases are often complex.

Insurance companies’ negotiating tactics, unclear damages, and disputes about your car accident can cause delays. However, an attorney from our firm will work to settle your case as soon as possible.

Potential Reasons Why a Car Accident Settlement Can Take Longer Than Expected

An attorney should never give a client a defined time frame for settling a case. Car accident claims and lawsuits are unpredictable, and several factors can cause delays.

Your car accident settlement may be taking longer than you expected because:

You Did Not Know How Long Car Accident Cases Typically Take

Many car accident victims aren’t familiar with the timeline for a settlement. Even if you have been in a car accident case before, each settlement process can vary drastically.

If you did not know a car accident settlement can take as long as yours has, you might feel that the settlement process is taking abnormally long. In reality, your wait may be fairly standard for those seeking a car accident settlement.

Your Damages Are Not Yet Clear

Your lawyer may still be calculating your accident-related damages. Because an attorney has one shot at seeking the compensation you deserve, they must be certain that your settlement figure is accurate.

The National Safety Council (NSC) explains that the more serious accident-related injuries are, the more costly damages become. Damages may also be more complex in serious car accident cases.

Your attorney may be:

  • Working with doctors to monitor out-of-pocket medical expenses
  • Monitoring and calculating the cost of economic damages (including pain and suffering)
  • Creating a picture of your likely future damages and what those damages will cost
  • Ensuring that they account for every loss and create an accurate calculation for each of those damages

While you may be under financial pressure, patience is key in car accident cases. Getting all the money you deserve after a brief wait is better than rushing and forfeiting compensation.

There Are Disputes About the Facts of Your Accident

Insurance companies or defendants may dispute the facts of your accident. This can delay a settlement. Your lawyer will need to resolve these disputes before negotiating for a fair financial recovery.

Disputes may include:

  • Who caused the accident
  • Who is financially liable for damages
  • Whether any of your injuries are preexisting
  • Whether all of your medical care is necessary

An attorney uses physical evidence, witness accounts, and expert opinions to resolve these disputes. Your lawyer can then get into the details of how much money you deserve.

Insurance Companies Are Intentionally Delaying

Insurance companies do not always handle claims with urgency. An insurer may intentionally delay a claim to:

  • Make you financially desperate, in which case you may be inclined to accept a lowball settlement offer (never do this)
  • Cause the statute of limitations for your case to expire, in which case the insurer may gain negotiating leverage
  • Make you exasperated with the entire claims process, in which case you may also be tempted to accept a lowball offer

Insurers may make continuous requests for documents, question every damage, and give other reasons for the delay. Our attorneys hold insurers accountable. Insurance companies must handle car accident claims at a reasonable speed, and we ensure that they do.

Your Case Went to Trial

While a trial is uncommon in civil cases, our lawyers are always willing to take a car accident case to court. Naturally, completing a trial takes longer than knocking out a comparatively easier settlement negotiation. However, the financial result of a trial is often beneficial to the car accident victim (and therefore worth the delay).

Your Attorney Could Delay the Settlement Process

Yes, sometimes your lawyer can cause delays. It is important to note that you can change attorneys even if settlement negotiations have begun. We encourage you to do so if you doubt your attorney’s dedication or effectiveness.

A personal injury attorney may delay a case by:

  • Doing sloppy work and having to re-do those aspects of your case
  • Failing to keep in frequent contact with insurance companies or defendants in your case
  • Failing to provide information, paperwork, or other assets that insurance companies, civil defense attorneys, or courts request promptly
  • Ignoring your case in favor of others

An attorney should only accept a car accident case if they can give it proper attention. However, many firms focus on numbers, rather than the people who need help. Our firm takes a different approach, as our lawyers are selective in the cases they accept. This ensures every car accident client we represent gets our full attention.

Recoverable Damages in a Car Accident Case

Determining recoverable damages is a pivotal step in a car accident case and can take time to complete. Your attorney may still be identifying and valuing your recoverable damages, which may include:

  • Medical bills: Calculating medical costs can be difficult if you have not recovered from your injuries. Your lawyer will consider the direct expense of treating an injury and the secondary effects of the injury (like rising healthcare premiums).
  • Pain and suffering: Your attorney will identify your car accident’s psychological and emotional effects. Physical symptoms, like pain and disfigurement, can qualify as pain and suffering.
  • Professional damages: You may lose income, earning power, and other professional benefits because of your car accident. Your lawyer will determine the exact cost of these damages.
  • Property damage: Vehicle damage is a given in car accident cases. You may also deserve money for damage to your phone, clothing, and other property.

These are all damages a lawyer should value. If you’re unsure if your lawyer will assess your damages quickly or accurately, consider hiring another firm to resolve your case.

Our Firm Can Explain Further Why Your Car Accident Settlement Is Taking So Long

We will review your circumstances. If your lawyer is at the root of delays, we’ll explain how to switch your case to Christensen Law. We have fought for car accident victims since 1991, earning a reputation for client service and success.

Call Christensen Law today at 248-900-9000 for your free consultation.