How Long Does it Take to Settle a Personal Injury Claim?
One of the most pressing issues Asheville car accident victims face is how long it takes to settle a personal injury claim. If you’ve been injured in an accident, you probably have a lot of expenses and debt already, especially if your injuries were severe.
There is no specific answer to how long a case will take to resolve, but there are a variety of factors that could extend the amount of time you’ll have to spend on your claim. Here are a few of these factors.
You’re still healing from your injuries
Long recovery periods might be one reason your personal injury suit is taking so long to settle. Some accident victims take years to reach maximum medical improvement (MMI), a term that means that their doctors expect that they’ve recovered from their injury as much as they possibly can. Attorneys generally advise clients to wait until they’ve reached MMI to settle to make sure they’ve received all their bills. Settling before you have a complete picture of all of your bills could leave you high and dry later on if you aren’t finished with your treatment and you owe thousands more to a provider.
Unfortunately, this could draw out the settlement process for years if you suffered severe injuries. You may need surgery, physical therapy, chiropractic, or other long-term care. Even if you haven’t finished treatment yet, it might be a good idea to contact an attorney, since they can advise you throughout the process of getting well. They can also file suit for you in order to avoid missing the deadline imposed by North Carolina’s statute of limitations.
Fault is not clear
Insurance companies often refuse to settle until questions of fault can be clarified. Questions of fault usually arise if there were no witnesses to your accident and no obvious way to determine who was negligent. If your case is like this, the insurance company will need to complete an investigation before they’ll agree to a settlement – if they agree to one at all.
Cases where fault is unclear often go to trial. Personal injury cases that are tried in court often take much more than a year to conclude.
You have a high amount of damages
Victims of severe car accidents often accumulate thousands upon thousands of dollars in medical bills. The cost of multiple surgeries, long-term care, lost wages, and other medical expenses can easily exceed $100,000. Cases involving short-term or permanent disability may push into higher six-figure dollar amounts. Read our post on How to maximize the value of your insurance policy
Insurance companies frequently drag their feet on paying such high amounts of damages. They want to make sure that there was no contributory negligence or other factors that could allow them to deny victims’ claims. Such cases may go to trial when insurance companies offer victims amounts that are not sufficient to cover their costs and lost wages.
Questions About Why Your Personal Injury Suit is Taking So Long to Settle?
Questions related to how long your personal injury or car accident case might take depend on a few things. Complicating factors like the ones we’ve listed here don’t just extend the amount of time to settle your personal injury case – they make it much more difficult to get the compensation you need from the insurance company.
You might have other questions like “how long does a personal injury claim take to go to court?”, or “how long does it take to get a personal injury settlement check?”, or “why is my lawyer taking so long to settle my case?”.
Many victims with severe injuries or high amounts of damages contact personal injury attorneys about their cases before speaking to insurance adjusters.
Lakota Denton is an Asheville, NC trial lawyer who focuses on recovering for injured people. Lakota has been practicing law in Asheville, N.C. since 2011. Lakota attended Keene State College in New Hampshire and graduated with a degree in psychology in 2000. Lakota played professional soccer after graduating from college. In 2011 Lakota graduated Cum Laude from Western New England college where he was awarded the Edward Cooley Award for Excellence in Labor Law, The CALI excellence for the future award for Labor Law, The CALI excellence for the future award for Jurisprudence Survey, The CALI excellence for the future award for Trial Methods, and was a member of the American Association for Justice Moot Court Team.
Lakota has been practicing in his own firm since 2013, focusing solely on personal injury. He is a member of the American Association of Justice, the North Carolina Advocates for Justice, the North Carolina Bar association, the American Bar Association, the National Trial Lawyers, and was awarded Top 100 Trial Lawyers by the National Trial Lawyers, the 2014 Top 40 Lawyers under 40, and the Avvo clients choice award.
He has spoken at the Asheville Paralegals Association Luncheon and he served on the North Carolina Advocates for Justice Auto Torts leadership team in 2017. Lakota has won numerous jury trials with verdicts for his clients.
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