Why Is The Settlement For My Car Accident Taking So Long?

Written by Jobeth Bowers. Posted in .

Car accidents are dangerous and can leave you injured and your property damaged. The expenses that quickly rack up after a car accident occurs can become cost-prohibitive. If you do not know when you will receive compensation to help cover the costs of your injuries, your anxiety may skyrocket. Connecting with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney who is well-versed in auto accident and insurance laws can alleviate a lot of the stress that accompanies the aftermath of a car accident.

The experienced attorneys at Bowers Law, LLC will help you navigate your car accident claim, advocate for your right to fair compensation, build a case, and be the contact person to alleviate the stress associated when dealing with insurance companies. Our law firm is committed to helping you get the financial award you deserve. Call or text our office at 667-220-6500 to receive a free case evaluation.

What Are Reasons For a Delay in Your Car Accident Settlement?

Since the circumstances involved in each car accident are different, delays in your settlement can occur for a variety of reasons. This is frustrating for most people. As your attorney, we will do our best to avoid unnecessary delays, but perseverance and patience are the keys to getting a better settlement.

Medical Expense and Records

To receive a settlement or personal injury award, you will need to prove the value of the losses you have suffered. The more documentation you have, the easier it will be for your attorney to combat delay tactics often employed by insurance companies and other third parties.

Important documentation includes medical records, proof of lost wages, demonstration of inability to earn future wages, medical bills, and anything else to show the extent of your injuries to help solidify your claim — this helps to negate any stalling tactics.

High-Value Claim

Depending upon the extent of your medical bills, lost wages, property damages, and other losses you have suffered, you may have what is considered to be a high-value claim case. Usually, you will see this in personal injury cases where extensive injuries and property damage occurred. Essentially, the higher your claim, the more complex negotiation will be. Insurance companies tend to drag these cases out as long as possible to avoid paying.

Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI)

Depending on the nature of injuries suffered in a car accident, it takes a long time to fully understand how these injuries will impact your life. In serious cases, this often delays settlement. To fully total a settlement award amount, you will need to have reached what is referred to as maximum medical improvement. This means you have reached the full recovery point from your injuries and your healthcare providers do not expect to see further improvement.

Many serious injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries, can take a long time to understand the full impact. It is to your benefit to understand your full prognosis before reaching a settlement. You could risk losing out on the compensation you may need in the future to cover treatments or other health-related expenses you may incur. Once a payout claim is settled, it cannot be reopened to pursue compensation to cover additional expenses that arise due to injuries.

Negotiation Tactics

Once the full extent of your injuries is understood, your personal injury attorney will begin negotiations to obtain a fair settlement. Unfortunately, insurance companies often will implement stall tactics to try to dispute your claim. For instance, they may dispute the extent of your injury and accuse you of inflating medical expenses.

What Is the Process of Settling a Maryland Car Accident Case?

It is important car accident victims understand that personal and property injuries carry a three-year statute of limitations under Maryland state law. In situations where a claim is made against the government, victims have a one-year time period to file a personal injury claim.

Since Maryland is an at-fault state (“tort” system), victims must prove the other driver was to blame for the cause of the accident. One important factor to know about Maryland law is it carries the harsh contributory negligence, which only a handful of other states employ. This means that even if it is proven you are a mere 1% responsible for the accident, you cannot recover damages from the other driver. A skilled personal injury lawyer will know how to present a case when the other driver is clearly at fault. (Insurance companies will often try to place a percentage of the blame on victims.)

In Maryland, you have three options if you file within the three-year statute of limitations and have proven the other driver was at fault. However, within this there are some circumstances where there are notice deadlines that are earlier than the three year statute of limitations, and if proper notice is not given you may not be eligible for recovery. Contact our office immediately to determine if this type of notice is required and for assistance in navigating these complex situations. 

File With Your Insurance Company

To help cover medical care expenses, damage to your car, or other costs associated with the accident, you can file an insurance claim with your own insurance company.

File a Claim Through the Other Driver’s Insurance

Another option you can pursue is filing a claim through the other driver’s insurance company if they either admitted fault or you were able to demonstrate they caused the motor vehicle collision.

File a Personal Injury Lawsuit

Many insurance policies have limited coverage. Unfortunately, this amount often is not a fair settlement because it does not cover the extent of serious injuries or damages you have suffered, including but not limited to high medical bills, ongoing medical treatment, lost wages, or property damage. In some cases, you would benefit more from filing a lawsuit against the other driver who caused the crash, especially if they were particularly negligent or reckless in their actions.

The “clock” for Maryland’s statute of limitations starts on the date of the accident. There is an exception for wrongful death cases as the statute of limitations clock begins on the date the victim was declared deceased. Even if you think your case may be beyond the statute of limitations, it is still always a good idea to consult with an experienced car accident lawyer. There are sometimes exceptions where people may be eligible to file beyond the statute of limitations.

What Is the Average Time for Car Accident Claims to Reach a Settlement? 

In many claims, a car accident case is settled before it gets to trial. That being said, it is hard to pinpoint an exact timeframe it will take to settle your claim because every case is different. Many factors can affect the length of a case.

  •     Complexity of the collision
  •     What factors caused the crash
  •     Determining who was liable
  •     Insurance company disputes over liability
  •     Seriousness of injuries

Some car accident claim cases are resolved very quickly, within four to six months, but others can continue for two or more years before the case is concluded. We will dive a little deeper into the causes of delays in the next section.

Should You Settle Your Car Accident Immediately? 

Experiencing a car accident can be a traumatic experience, and you might be tempted to settle with the insurance companies as soon as they make an offer. This is almost always a bad idea, especially if you do not have legal representation.

While they may appear to sound compassionate, insurance adjusters are not your friend. Ultimately, their goal is to pay the lowest amount possible and try to get you to settle quickly with their first offer. This amount is typically a lowball offer, and insurers will also try to get you to settle before you have had an opportunity to speak with a legal professional.

The drawback of waiting for a trial to see if you can receive more in the conclusion of the settlement process is the amount of time involved in the waiting period. By accepting a low settlement, you usually will receive that money faster, but it may be significantly less than the compensation to which you are entitled.

How Can an Attorney Help Me After a Car Accident?

Your car accident attorney can help you by directly negotiating with the insurance adjuster and making sure the correct forms are filed by their deadlines. With a skilled lawyer by your side, you have a much stronger chance of getting the best settlement offer available. 

Regardless of the cause of delays in your car accident claim, your personal injury lawyer will be your strongest advocate. They will work hard fighting against those who try to minimize your injury, offer lowball settlement amounts, or accuse you of not suffering as much as you have since being injured in an accident.

Practicing Patience During a Settlement Might Earn You More

The aftermath of a car accident can be stressful, confusing, and exhausting. Having an attorney by your side who is well-versed in Maryland law can help the process be easier on you. They will strive to get you the compensation you need to cover the extra expenses and suffering you are experiencing. The Bowers Law team promises to provide sound legal advice to all of our clients.

The personal injury attorneys at Bowers Law have many years of combined experience fighting for the rights of Maryland’s injured. Our law firm is licensed to practice throughout the State of Maryland. To obtain a free consultation, call or text our law office at 667-220-6500 or reach us through our convenient contact form.

Don’t suffer through the car settlement and negotiation process alone; call an experienced attorney today.

Jobeth Bowers

Written By Jobeth Bowers

Maryland Attorney Jobeth Bowers is the founder of Bowers Law and a graduate of the University of Baltimore School of Law

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