When you are involved in a car accident, you generally end up with a settlement to cover the damages, lost wages, and medical bills. You may be able to work out settlement terms on your own with your car insurance company, or you may have to bring in a personal injury lawyer to assist with your case.
Car accident settlement claims are often settled in a relatively quick manner. However, that is not always the case. Sometimes it takes a long time for a car accident case to reach the settlement phase.
Reason #1: Factual Issues with the Accident
First, your settlement will take longer if there are factual issues with your accident. For example, if it is difficult to prove who is at fault.
Or if you feel that the other driver acted with negligence, but there are disputes over this claim, your accident could take longer to settle. Basically, if both parties do not agree on what happened, then your case is going to drag on as each side works to show that their version of events is correct.
Reason #2: Ongoing Medical Treatment
Second, your settlement will take longer if you are getting ongoing medical treatment. Generally, when medical treatment is involved, a settlement is not reached until you have reached Maximum Medical Improvements.
Maximum Medical Improvements is something that a doctor determines, not the insurance company. It is the point where your doctor thinks you have been cured or you have reached the maximum health or recovery that you will reach. That doesn't mean that your medical needs are done, just that you have gone through all the surgery or treatment and your medical condition will not improve further.
Most insurance companies will not move forward until a Maximum Medical Improvement point is reached, in order to make sure the settlement fully covers your bills and covers your future medical needs. You can start a claim or a legal process before Maximum Medical Improvements are met, but when you are still getting medical treatment, your case may linger.
This is not necessarily a bad thing; it gives you an opportunity to make sure that all of your current and future medical needs are taken care of, and that any impact your health will have on your life and income is also accounted for.
Reason #3: Large Amounts of Money
Finally, if it looks like you will be getting a large settlement, your insurance company may drag the process out a little bit. Your insurance company is going to do their due diligence, and investigate everything, from who is liable to what type of damages you deserve compensation for if it looks like they are going to have to write a big check. They are going to take their time to protect their financial bottom line.
If you have a car accident where the facts of the case are in dispute, or where you are getting ongoing medical treatment, or where your settlement amount is really large, it may take a little longer than usual for your case to be resolved. Your attorney will work with you and make sure that you get the settlement you deserve for your case.
For more information, contact a car accident lawyer.