The time between filing a claim with an insurance company after being involved in an automobile accident and receiving a settlement can seem to be interminable. When serious injuries are involved, and medical expenses are mounting the waiting can be an additional source of stress. Bills still need to be paid, but if the injured party is unable to work, and therefore has no money coming in, he or she is likely to find themselves in dire need of a settlement.
General Settlement Timing
Provided there is no debate over personal injury liability, and the claimant has irrefutable proof, a case may be settled within a few short months. On the other hand, some cases can take years to settle, with the two parties eventually having to go to court to resolve it. Worse still, some cases never get settled.
Extent of Injuries
In the case of a car accident, one of the biggest contentions is the amount of damages a claimant is asking for to cover their injuries, loss of income, and pain and suffering. If the insurance company wishes to argue that the damages do not accurately reflect the amount required to treat the injuries, compensate for the loss of income and any pain and suffering incurred settlement will be delayed until they are satisfied. The insurance company is likely to investigate the claims further, and this could take months. This is particularly the case when injuries are not immediately visible, as in the case of soft tissue damage.
Aside from the actual claim details, there are other factors that can impact how quickly a settlement is reached. The size of the insurance company, for example, may dictate how quickly the claim is settled. A large insurance company has many resources at their disposal, among them their own team of lawyers, that smaller company may not have available. The size of the company can work for or against the claimant i.e. a smaller company may not have as many cases on their books at the time and therefore can focus more attention on yours, whereas a larger company may have a large number of cases pending when yours crosses their desk, making it difficult for yours to be given any priority.
Insurance companies have a review process that they adhere to. How lengthy that process is, and how many hands your claim goes through before reaching the final decision maker may seriously impact how quickly your claim is settled. Insurance companies are not in the business of paying out large sums of money haphazardly so often their process requires several people within the company to be in agreement before your case moves forward.
Sometimes the details surrounding an accident are not as clear-cut as they initially appear. There may have been contributing circumstances that were not either party’s fault but require extensive investigation. The claimant may have been partially at fault, meaning that the other party is not totally liable for the accident occurring. Sometimes there is even a third party involved. This often happens when one driver stops their car causing the driver behind to rear-end them, who in turn gets rear-ended by a third driver.
Sometimes an accident can occur due to an outside party such as the City in which the incident occurred. A street sign may have been removed, or a traffic light may have been malfunctioning, causing the accident to happen. This raises questions as to who is liable and to what extent. In this scenario, the claims adjuster is likely to initially deny the claim pending further investigation.
Another factor that can impact settlement is when reporting the incident by the Police doesn’t clearly indicate liability and witness statements also cannot clearly state who was at fault. Insufficient medical records can also cause the insurance company to require more time to properly investigate the claim.
Insurance Company Avoiding Settlement
While a large number of personal injury cases are settled without the need to go to court, your attorney may be reluctant to settle. This could be for many reasons, but one of the most common is that the extent of the expenses have not been realized as you are still undergoing treatment and are likely to require further treatment for some time to come.
He or she may also want to assess how much your injuries may impact your ability to continue in your chosen career but is unable to until you have recovered to the best of your ability. Another reason for delaying acceptance of settlement is that medical bills often take time to be received and he or she will want to ensure that all bills are in hand, so they have a total of all medical expenses incurred.
Okano Injury Law
6069 S Fort Apache Rd #100
Las Vegas, NV 89148