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Why is My Car Accident Settlement Taking So Long?

Reasons Your Car Accident Settlement Is Taking So Long

A car accident often leaves victims with damages and injuries that may significantly affect their health, finances, and general well-being. Handling these damages and injuries usually costs a lot of time and money; that’s why getting the settlement check early helps reduce the financial and emotional burden on the victim. Hence, it’s justifiable to be concerned when your car accident or personal injury settlement is taking longer than you expect.

There are various reasons your car accident settlement is taking so long. The delays may be due to the extent of the injuries, the complexity of the case, difficulties in determining the fault and liability, prolonged settlement negotiations, and the insurance company’s efficiency. If you’re concerned about how long the process is taking, it’s best to figure out the possible reasons for the delay and take proactive steps to handle them.

Meanwhile, you don’t have to suffer financial stress while your settlement is in progress. With our affordable pre-settlement loans at Stonewood Funding, you can obtain a cash advance to help you settle your medical bills and other pressing expenses while you seek the compensation you deserve. If you’ve already reached a settlement but are waiting for your settlement check, you can still apply for our post-settlement funding to ease your financial burdens before your settlement money arrives. Book a free consultation with us or apply online immediately to access your funding.

This article covers the possible reasons for delay in receiving your car accident settlement and proactive steps you can take to speed up the process and receive your compensation faster.

The Settlement Process Timeline in California

The Settlement Process Timeline in California

A car accident settlement is a resolution reached by the parties involved in an auto accident to settle claims for injuries and damages caused by the accident, without going to court. During the settlement, both parties agree on the terms of the settlement and the insurance company of the at-fault party pays the compensation to the injured person through their attorney or insurance company.

To start the process, the injured party reports the car crash to the police and/or other relevant authorities. Most times, it’s advisable to back up this report with sufficient documented evidence such as a police report, eyewitness statements, photos of the scene, and pictures to show the extent of physical injuries and damages to the vehicle. Meanwhile, as the process is going on, they may also need to seek medical attention to treat any injuries sustained due to the accident.

After gathering the necessary documentation, the victim then files a claim with the insurance company of the at-fault party. They may involve an insurance adjuster to review the claim. The adjuster ascertains the fault and reviews the damages by examining medical reports, crosschecking evidence, and inspecting the vehicle.

When the review is done, the insurance company of the defendant may make an offer for settlement. Both parties and their representatives negotiate the offer to reach an agreement, and this stage may take a lot of back-and-forth bargains. If they accept the settlement offer, the recipient signs a release form which implies that they agree to not pursue further legal recourse related to the car accident case. Finally, the insurance company of the at-fault party issues a payment as per the settlement agreement.

How Long Does The Settlement Process Take?

On average, simpler car accident cases can be settled in a few weeks to a couple of months. More complex cases involving severe injuries and disputes over fault can take a year or more. The exact duration of car accident settlements depends on several factors such as how complex the case is, how severe the injuries are, how clear the fault is, the proposed settlement amount, and the efficiency of the insurance company of the defendant.

The more complex a case is, the longer it takes to define important negotiation factors such as clarity of fault, medical costs, and a fair settlement amount. Moreover, it may take many back-and-forth discussions to reach an agreement when the proposed settlement amount is deemed high or inconsiderate by the at-fault party. On the other hand, the injured party may take a longer time to negotiate or accept the settlement terms if their medical bills are more than the settlement amount. Even when a settlement is reached, it may still take some time to get the settlement check to the injured party through their attorney.

Why Is My Car Accident Settlement Taking So Long?

Why Is My Car Accident Settlement Taking So Long?

If your car accident settlement is taking longer than you expect, there are many factors that may contribute to the delay. You should examine these factors to figure out what’s causing the lag and possible steps you can take to address them. These factors include:

  1. The complexity of the case
  2. Seriousness of the personal injuries
  3. Inability to identify who was at fault
  4. Improper or incomplete documentation
  5. Delay tactics from the defendant’s insurance company
  6. Unforeseen back-and-forth in the negotiation process
  7. High claim volume in cases of widespread events such as natural disasters

Can The Complexity of the Case Affect My Settlement Timeline?

Can The Complexity of the Case Affect My Settlement Timeline?

Yes, the complexity of a car accident or personal injury claim can significantly affect the settlement check timeline.

Generally, it takes more time to assess the extent of severe injuries from car accidents and the impact of the injuries on the car accident victims. Because the settlement amount is supposed to be enough to cover the medical bills, it may also take a longer time to estimate both immediate and future medical expenses. Additionally, it might be difficult to immediately estimate a fair amount to account for other losses due to the injuries, such as potential disabilities and loss of earnings. All these may contribute to a longer settlement timeline.

Secondly, it may be difficult to figure out who is at fault in complex car accidents. Both parties may resort to more elaborate investigations to critically analyze the accident scene, eyewitness testimonies, and police reports. An unclear fault will likely lead to prolonged negotiations, with each party presenting their argument to secure favorable settlement terms.

It’s even more difficult to ascertain which parties are at fault and who bears what liabilities for car accidents or personal injury cases that involve multiple parties. Especially when more than one party sustains damages or injuries, coordinating communications and negotiations between several insurance companies can complicate and extend the settlement process.

When to Seek Legal Help in Expediting Your Car Accident Settlement

When to Seek Legal Help in Expediting Your Car Accident Settlement

If you find that your settlement process is dragging without clear reasons, or if negotiations have stalled, it might be time to seek legal help. A car accident attorney will advocate on your behalf and work to expedite your settlement, ensuring that you receive the compensation you need to recover and move forward from the accident.

Experienced car accident lawyers understand how car accident claims work and the state-specific laws regulating them. That way, you can be sure they handle your case appropriately without violating legal requirements that may affect your settlement.

Secondly, a personal injury attorney has the professional skill and experience to estimate your compensation more accurately. They can help you evaluate the damages, medical bills, lost wages, and even non-financial damages such as pain and suffering. They also cooperate with your medical provider to ascertain the extent of the injuries in order to predict future impacts more precisely. With these important details, it becomes easier to negotiate for a settlement amount that can cover both present and future financial needs.

Moreover, personal injury attorneys know how to negotiate more effectively with insurance companies. They’re familiar with the strategies that insurance companies may deploy to delay the process or reduce the settlement amount. As such, they can help you counter these strategies to maximize your settlement.

How Can a Lawyer Expedite Your Settlement Process?

From gathering and analyzing evidence to effective settlement negotiations, there are various ways hiring an experienced lawyer can speed up your settlement. First, your attorney can help you organize important evidence such as witness statements, police reports, and medical reports. They know how best to present this evidence to support your claims and arrive at a settlement faster.

Experienced accident attorneys have also mastered how to communicate with other professionals such as insurance companies, defending attorneys, and law enforcement authorities. This helps prevent delays due to miscommunication or misinterpretation of information.

In addition, your car accident lawyer can advise you to continue pushing when the settlement offer is too low. On the other hand, they can persuade you to accept the offer and move on if the settlement amount is fair enough. If necessary, a personal injury lawyer can file legal motions such as a personal injury lawsuit to push the insurance company to act more quickly or to resolve disputes that are holding up your settlement.

How Do Legal and Procedural Issues Affect a Settlement Timeline?

Typically, filing a legal claim for a personal injury case requires a lot of documentation. You need to be sure that claim forms, police reports, medical bills and records, and other relevant paperwork are organized in the right manner. It can be time-consuming to gather and present these documents in a legally compliant way.

Bear in mind that the deadlines for filing these documents may vary significantly across jurisdictions. As such, you may delay your case or even face severe legal consequences if you don’t respond appropriately within the specified time. Additionally, you must follow certain legal procedures according to the jurisdictional provisions, such as serving and responding to legal notices. These procedures may have stipulated timelines that may not align with your design timeline for the settlement process.

Furthermore, attorneys and insurance companies may employ various tactics that may delay the process in the long run. For instance, the at-fault party’s insurance company may intentionally delay the negotiations to put the claimant under pressure to accept a lower settlement amount. On the contrary, the claimant may file a lawsuit to compel the other party to respond to or accept their terms.

Documents You Need For a Settlement Check

Documents You Need For a Settlement Check

To justify the compensation you seek in a car accident settlement, it’s important to have well-organized and complete documentation to back up your claims. Thorough documentation helps to clarify liabilities and minimize disputes from insurance companies or representing attorneys. It also allows insurance adjusters and legal representatives to accurately assess the damages and losses incurred. This can lead to quicker decisions and more straightforward negotiations. Additionally, insurance companies can process claims more efficiently when all necessary documents are readily available. This reduces back-and-forth communication that typically slows down the process.

The different types of documents you need for a settlement check include:

  1. Police report
  2. Witness statements
  3. Graphic evidence of the accidents and injuries, such as photos and videos
  4. Medical bills and records
  5. Records of out-of-pocket expenses
  6. Proofs and estimates for property damage
  7. Proof of income loss, such as a letter from your employer, pay cut memos, unpaid leave statements, etc.

Do Insurance Companies Take Long to Process Your Settlement?

Yes, insurance companies may take a long time to process your settlement for various reasons. The duration sometimes depends on the complexity of the car accident claim, how many claims the insurance company is handling at the moment, and the company’s internal policies. Generally, it takes less time to process simpler claims such as those involving two parties and minor injuries, than complex cases involving wrongful death claims and more extensive medical treatment.

As mentioned earlier, some insurance companies also use various strategies to prolong the process while seeking a more favorable compensation amount. Such strategies include:

  • Low initial offers
  • Dispute over who is at fault
  • Request for complex or excessive documentation and evidence
  • Applying complex internal policies
  • Prolonged damages assessment

If you think the other party’s insurer is intentionally delaying the process, seek assistance from your attorney. Your lawyer can help you provide the necessary documents as fast as possible, or file a legal motion against them to enforce the right response.

How Medical Issues Can Affect the Settlement Timeline

Since medical bills are a crucial part of the settlement process in a California car accident claim, handling them may significantly affect the duration of the settlement. For serious injuries, such as those that require surgery, it’s mostly difficult to determine the full impact of the injury. Sometimes, the healthcare provider may discover new complications as the treatment progresses. In such cases, the additional costs may result in a need to adjust the compensation, which ultimately delays the settlement negotiations.

In some instances, recovery takes longer than initially expected, and ongoing treatments might last for an extended period. Settling the insurance claim too early could result in insufficient compensation for medical expenses that continue to accumulate after the settlement. Too early, in this context, might mean accepting a settlement offer before reaching maximum medical improvement for the patient.

Ultimately, waiting for a comprehensive final medical report allows for a more accurate estimation of future damages, ensuring that the settlement covers all anticipated costs related to the injury. This is particularly important in cases involving permanent disabilities or chronic conditions that may lead to loss of earning ability.

7 Pro Tips on How to Expedite Your Settlement

7 Pro Tips on How to Expedite Your Settlement

Although some delay factors might not be under your control, you can still take certain proactive steps to speed up your settlement negotiations and the entire legal process. Here are some pro tips to help you.

  1. Gather as much evidence as possible. Get photos of the scene, the vehicles involved, any visible injuries, and environmental conditions.
  2. Obtain official reports from the police and other relevant authorities. These documents are essential for establishing the facts of the case.
  3. Seek medical attention as soon as you can. Do not neglect even minor injuries or symptoms as they may escalate later and leave you with debts bigger than your compensation. Keep medical records as evidence.
  4. Obtain appropriate estimates for possible future medical treatment.
  5. Notify your insurance provider about the incident as soon as possible, and start the legal process early.
  6. Hire an experienced attorney to increase your chances of securing a befitting compensation.
  7. Maintain regular and responsive communication throughout the process. Make sure you document all communications for future references.

Need Settlement Funding?

Delays in reaching a settlement or receiving your settlement check may be due to several factors such as lengthy negotiations, unclear fault, complex cases involving multiple parties, etc. If you’re able to figure out the reasons your settlement is taking so much time, then you can take proactive steps to expedite the process. Overall, it’s best to work and communicate with an experienced attorney to help you recover compensation.

If you need money to pay medical bills and other expenses as your settlement is ongoing, you can apply for a Los Angeles settlement funding at Stonewood Funding to alleviate your burdens. You can even get the loan within 24 hours if you qualify for our same-day pre-settlement loans. Unlike traditional loans, you won’t have to pay anything if you don’t win your case. Take advantage of our free consultation today for a free case evaluation.

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