Injury claims can seem uncertain due to the many variables involved in the claims process. While settling an injury claim will take time, there may be a point where you begin to wonder why your case is taking so long.
Some of these variables are within your control, while others are out of your hands. Nevertheless, understanding the common reasons why some injury claims take longer to settle may give you a better idea of what to expect.
Today, we will share five key factors that can influence the timeline of your personal injury claim. We hope to provide some clarity during what a confusing and frustrating time can be.
Liability is Contested
One of the most common reasons an injury claim may take longer to settle is if liability is contested. The at-fault party (or their insurance company) does not believe that they are responsible for the accident. Both sides will likely need to conduct a thorough investigation to prove their respective positions in these cases. This can take time but is often necessary to reach a fair settlement.
Texas is a proportional responsibility state. Meaning, that fault for every party is assessed in every case. When the parties disagree on the degree of responsibility, the case will take longer to resolve.
Scenario: Imagine walking in a parking lot when you were suddenly struck by a car. You suffered some severe injuries because of the accident. When you spoke to the driver, they claimed that the accident was not their fault because another car had backed into them, causing them to veer into you.
In this case, both sides would need to investigate the accident to determine who was at fault. And everyone may disagree on fault. Likely a lawsuit will be required. This process can much longer than other claims, but it is vital to get it right to reach a fair settlement.
Medical Treatment is Ongoing
Another common reason that injury claims take longer to settle is if the victim is still receiving medical treatment. It can be challenging to determine the full extent of someone’s injuries when they are still healing. It is often best to wait until the treatment has been completed before moving forward with a settlement. This way, you can be sure that you receive compensation for all your injuries.
Scenario: If you were in a car accident and suffered a broken arm, you would most likely need to undergo surgery and have a cast placed. Once your arm has healed and you have been released from your doctor’s care, you would then be able to pursue a settlement. However, if you were still receiving treatment for your broken arm, it would be difficult to determine the full extent of your injuries. As a result, it would be best to wait until your treatment is completed before moving forward with a settlement.
Gathering the medical records in the correct form has been a thorn in the side of all Houston personal injury lawyers. Hospitals and doctors do not make money from producing the records. Thus, it can take months, with much prompting to get the records your lawyer needs.
The Insurance Company Fights Paying Reasonable Compensation
We have all heard horror stories about insurance companies being difficult to work with. Unfortunately, this is often the case for personal injury claims. Insurance companies are businesses, and their bottom line is to make money.
As such, they will often try to lowball victims to get them to settle for less than they deserve. If you find yourself in this situation, do not be afraid to stand up for yourself and fight for the fair compensation you deserve.
Scenario: Let’s say you were in a car accident caused by the other driver. You suffered an injury in the accident and had to miss two months of work. The other driver’s insurance company contacts you and offers you a settlement of $3,000. However, you know that your medical bills alone will cost more than $3,000. In this case, you would likely need to file a lawsuit to get the insurance company to offer a fair settlement.
Damages are Significant
Another reason that some injury claims take longer to settle is if the damages are significant. The victim has suffered severe injuries that will have a long-term impact on their life.
It is often necessary to hire expert witnesses to testify about the victim’s injuries and their expected future needs in these cases. This can take time, but it is often necessary to reach a fair settlement.
Scenario: If you were in a car accident that left you paralyzed from the waist down, you would need to hire an expert witness to testify about your injuries. This is because your injuries are significant and will have a long-term impact on your life. It would be necessary to demonstrate the full extent of your injuries to reach a fair settlement.
Litigation is Needed to Resolve the Claim
In some cases, the only way to reach a fair settlement is to file a lawsuit and take the case to trial. This is often the case when liability is contested, or the insurance company is being unreasonable. While litigation can take time, it may be the only way to get the compensation you deserve.
Scenario: You were involved in an accident with an 18-wheeler caused by the truck driver. The insurance company denies liability and offers you $5,000 to settle your claim. You know that this is not enough to cover your damages, so you file a lawsuit. Your case eventually goes to trial, and the jury awards you $250,000. In this case, litigation was necessary to reach a fair settlement.
Contact Baumgartner Law Firm
If you have been injured in an accident, it is crucial to understand the process and what you can expect. An experienced personal injury attorney can investigate your case, negotiate with the insurance company, and fight for the compensation you deserve. These are just a few reasons why some injury claims take longer to settle.
The dedicated team at Baumgartner Law Firm has extensive experience handling all types of injury claims. We will answer your questions and help you get the compensation you deserve. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.
Call (281) 587-1111.