Is your car accident settlement taking a long time to settle? While the process of filing a claim or lawsuit can feel lengthy or frustrating at times, patience and perseverance are the key to obtaining a better settlement. There is no easy answer for how long a car accident settlement takes. All cases are unique, and the length of time it will take to resolve your claim will depend on the facts and circumstances involved.
A car accident settlement can be brief, especially if property damage is minimal and no one has been injured. In other cases, it can take several months and even years depending on the factors involved in the accident. While this can be frustrating to hear, obtaining maximum compensation for damages often requires tenacious negotiations between your attorney, insurance companies, and defense attorneys involved.
Medical and Expense Records
In order to receive maximum compensation for your losses, you must be able to prove the value of those losses. It’s critical your attorney has medical records, medical bills, proof of lost wages and other documentation in order to build your case and prove your claim.
Medical records are one of the key pieces of evidence in your claim. Medical records serve as evidence of your injuries and your prognosis for recovery. Ensuring your attorney has all of your medical records is important.
Maximum Medical Improvement
In many serious injury car accident cases, it can take some time to fully understand the extent of the injuries sustained, the ongoing treatment required and the full prognosis. In order to fully total a settlement demand amount, you need to have reached maximum medical improvement (MMI). MMI is the point at which you have fully recovered from your injuries or have reached a point where you are not anticipated to further improve.
MMI is critical so that you can understand the full extent of your losses -- in the past and anticipated future damages. If you don’t understand your full prognosis before you reach a settlement, you risk losing out on compensation for your damages. Once you settle your claim, you cannot reopen it down the line when you realize the ongoing medical needs are greater than the amount of your settlement.
High Value Claims
Your car accident settlement may include compensation for the total of your medical expenses, lost wages and property damage (among others). In cases of serious injury or extensive property damage, the time it takes to settle your claim could be longer. The higher the value of your claim, the more complex the negotiation becomes and the longer an insurance company may draw out the process.
After the full extent of your damages are known, your car accident attorney will start negotiations with a settlement demand letter laying out your injuries and the case. Insurance companies will do their own investigation and try to uncover evidence they can use against you. They may also delay in offering or paying out settlements. In the event a settlement can’t be reached, by hiring a car accident lawyer you are then ready to start the legal process and file a claim. While most claims settle out of court, experienced car accident lawyers can also take your case to trial, to pursue maximum compensation.
Should You Settle?
While the vast majority of personal injury claims are resolved through a settlement, that doesn’t mean that you should be quick to accept any offer that comes your way. Insurance companies use a variety of tactics to try to pressure the injured person to settle. This may mean that after an initial period of negotiation, a formal lawsuit is filed and the process continues to fight for maximum compensation for your damages. While the legal process may feel long and never-ending, patience is one of the key ways to maximize your compensation.
Do You Need Legal Help with Your Car Accident Settlement?
While a car accident settlement may take some time to resolve, don’t let the time frame deter you from seeking the compensation and justice you deserve. If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident that you believe was caused by another person's negligence, contact Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law, and speak with a compassionate, experienced New Jersey car accident lawyer as soon as possible.
Our firm has an in-depth knowledge of personal injury law resulting in years of experience and proven results. We pride ourselves in being able to provide clients with the passionate representation they deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation.