Why Is Your Car Accident Settlement Taking So Long?
As a victim of an automobile accident, you want the settlement process to be quick and efficient. This money will help you cater to your living expenses, especially if you’re not working due to injuries. You may also want to pay for car repair services.
However, it doesn’t always work like that. You might struggle to get the necessary compensation even if the court has declared that you should be compensated.
So, how long should car accident settlements take? Unfortunately, no legal provision dictates the period it should take for you to get the necessary compensation. Minor auto accidents can be settled in days or weeks.
Depending on the severity of the accident and the amounts involved, it could take months, sometimes years, to receive your compensation.
Why Can a Car Accident Settlement Take Longer?
From the discussion above, you cannot estimate the time it will take for your accident settlement to be completed. Nevertheless, every case is unique, and you want yours to be settled quickly to continue with other aspects of your life.
However, you could be in for a shock where your settlement is delayed for a lengthy period. Here’s why an injury settlement payment may take longer than you anticipated.
1. Gathering and Ascertaining Evidence
Evidence must be gathered and presented before a jury to prove that you deserve the compensation. The entire process of identifying and collecting evidence could take weeks or months.
Even if you have video evidence, it may not be straightforward. The other driver’s insurance company will want to hire an accident reconstruction expert to make sense of the video footage and ascertain who was actually at fault. This could also take a significant amount of time.
2. Medical Treatment and Documentation
If you were seriously injured in the accident, it might take some time before you’re discharged from the hospital. Attending physicians will have to run several tests and carry out different procedures to ensure that you’re in a stable condition before allowing you to leave.
The reports generated will be usable when negotiating a higher compensation amount with the other driver’s insurance company. This will also give them enough time to document the extent of your injuries and how they will affect you in the future. Without a comprehensive medical report, it will be challenging to get fair compensation.
3. The Insurance Company May Delay the Settlement Process
After an accident, you’ll want to notify your insurance company as soon as possible. The organization will then investigate and start working on your case. Sometimes, insurance companies are overwhelmed with a lot of claims. They will, therefore, take their time to assess your case before making a decision.
Insurance companies will also carry out their own investigations. The adjuster will have to review the police report, photos, and witness statements to ascertain who was at fault. All this takes time, which could further delay your settlement.
4. You May Have a Complex Case
Getting compensated could take longer since several issues need to be sorted out. For example, if you were involved in a hit-and-run accident or the other driver was underinsured, your car accident case could be more complicated. To get compensation from an uninsured driver, you may have to sue them in court. Filing a lawsuit and waiting for a jury’s decision could take months or years.
5. Negotiations Could Be Lengthy
After evidence has been gathered, it will be used to support your demand for a specific compensation amount. The other driver’s insurance company will also come up with their figure, usually much lower than what you’re asking for.
You will then have to participate in the negotiation process, which could take weeks or months before both parties agree on an amount. The negotiation process could be further lengthened if you deal with an uncooperative insurance company.
6. Post-Settlement Payouts Take Time
Post-settlement payouts usually take time because the insurance company has to process the checks. The organization will also want to ensure you’re satisfied with the agreement before releasing the funds. In some cases, the payouts may be delayed if there are errors in the paperwork.
Your lawyer must process the payment and pay all the bills related to your accident before receiving the final settlement amount. This could take a few weeks or months, depending on the complexity of your case. Some bills to be paid include medical expenses, car repairs, legal fees, and contingency fees.
Consult An Experienced Auto Accident Attorney If Your Car Accident Settlement Is Taking Too Long
While car accidents can lead to permanent disability, inability to work, mental anguish — even pain and suffering — you need your settlement done quickly to cover your medical bills and living expenses.
Experienced auto accident attorneys at LA Century Law can help you to push for your settlement to be completed within the shortest timeframe possible. We aim to present all the necessary evidence and medical records while engaging with the at-fault party and the insurance company for immediate settlement.
Contact us today for a free evaluation of your case.
Car Accident FAQs
What types of damages may I qualify for in a car accident case?
The type of damages you may be able to recover in a car accident case will vary depending on the specifics of your case. In general, however, you may be able to recover economic and noneconomic damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, pain, and suffering.
How much time do I have to file an auto accident claim?
The statute of limitations for an auto accident claim in California is two years from the date of the accident.