Why Is My Personal Injury Case Taking SO LONG?
PERSONAL INJURY CASE TIME FACTORS
Your personal injury attorney should fully explain why your case is taking so long. There are many authentic reasons why a personal injury case takes the time it takes, but if your attorney cannot explain why your case is nevertheless pending, you might want to consider changing attorneys. Some law firms sign up more situations than they can manager, and it is possible that your case is sitting in a file cabinet overlooked, don’t be shy about requesting an update.
These are the factors that will impact the length of a personal injury case:
- Insurance Coverage
- Length of Treatment
- Policies of the Insurance Company
- Quality of Medical Reports
- Seriousness of Injuries
- kind of Case
The minimum policy limits for automobile liability insurance coverage in New York are 25/50. This method that the most that can be paid out is $25,000 per person and $50,000 per incident. So if you were seriously injured, the only person injured in the accident and it was clearly the fault of the other car, your case can be settled very quickly. The insurance company will likely “tender” their policy to you, which method that they will pay out their complete policy. Under the circumstances, it would be “bad faith” if they did not. Unfortunately, although your case is settled quickly, you will not be able to get very much money.
Let’s say you had the same serious injuries and good liability, but the other means was a truck with $1,000,000 in coverage. Here’s where you don’t want to rush. Sure, you COULD settle this case quickly, but that wouldn’t be the best way to manager it. With only $25,000 to collect, the case can be settled before you are already finished with treatment, but with more money to collect, it wouldn’t make sense to already try to settle the case before treatment is complete, as medical treatment is “damages” that increase the value of your case. Here’s where we want to keep up out for a good settlement and litigate if one is not offered. This is going to make the case take much longer, but it’s well worth it.
LENGTH OF TREATMENT
More serious injuries usually average lengthier treatment. Clients sometimes ask why their case is not settled when they are actively getting medical treatment or they are nevertheless unable to work. It’s not possible to know the value of the case until treatment is complete, and trying to settle a case at that point would be selling it short. For example, if injuries cause you to be out of work for a year and a half, your case can’t be settled for at the minimum a year and a half (assuming there is abundant insurance coverage.) however, a case with minor injuries that requires little treatment can be settled sooner, but will not provide as high a settlement. The important thing to ask an attorney is the reason why the case is taking in any case time it’s taking – you should be sure it’s not just sitting in the file cabinet because they are too busy with other situations.
INSURANCE COMPANY POLICIES
Some insurance companies have a policy of wanting to make fair settlements quickly. They have a team of claims representatives that follow up on their caseloads and answer calls from attorneys. You can send them a medical package which they will review in a timely manner and then they will make an offer in a reasonable amount of time. If the offer is not permissible, a lawsuit can be commenced. There truly are companies this good – one of the best has some funny animal commercials.
Other insurance companies don’t want to settle situations. They have few claims reps and they don’t bother to return calls. They ask for 60 days to review medical records. They make lousy offers to settle situations. Attorneys know which companies these are and know that lengthy litigation is going to be necessary. Some attorneys won’t already accept situations if they know they are with certain insurance companies! If your case takes a long time because it’s with against an insurance company that doesn’t actively settle situations, it’s not your attorney’s fault. It doesn’t matter is your Aunt Jean got a lot of money really quickly with a case against a “good” insurance company.
LIABILITY AND YOUR PERSONAL INJURY CASE
If you have a police report that shows says you were hit in the rear by a drunk driver that was texting, there will likely be no argument about liability. This speeds up the case as the only discussion is “damages.” however, if the other guy went by a light, but is claiming that you went by the light, it might be necessary to litigate the case by depositions before being able to settle it. This is frustrating when you saw the other guy go by the light, but that’s what courts and judges are for. Depositions cannot be held until both sides have exchanged documents and after several conferences in court. This case is not going to be quick to get complete value.
QUALITY OF THE MEDICAL REPORTS
If you treat with high-quality medical providers that are knowledgeable about how to produce reports for accident situations this is helpful for a faster settlement. Medical reports that are scribbled and not comprehensive give claims adjusters little to “hang their hats” on when asking for “authority” to put money on your claim. That’s when an insurance company may want extensive litigation if you are looking for a large settlement. They will want to hear your testify in a deposition and send you to their doctors for an examination. Good quality medical reports will speed up a settlement.
SERIOUSNESS OF INJURIES AND YOUR PERSONAL INJURY CASE
Assuming there is coverage, it will take time to build up to an excellent settlement amount on a serious case. This is the kind of case where lengthy litigation can enhance the final settlement. You want the insurance company to know that you are willing to go to trial if they don’t come up with enough money. already though most situations are ultimately settled, with very serious injuries you want to prepare the case for trial, already settle on the eve of trial. This can take years, but it’s worth it.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF situations, TAKE DIFFERENT AMOUNTS OF TIME
Auto accident situations have a “serious injury threshold” that must be met. With smaller situations, it’s important that there is at the minimum enough treatment to meet this threshold, which often method treatment for a minimum of three months. Other types of situations do not have this threshold. For example, if you fall in a supermarket and go to the doctor and have a sprained ankle that heals quickly, your case might be settled very quickly. A food poisoning case could be quick because there is little treatment once the problem subsides. Product liability and malpractice situations will always take a long time as experts must be hired and complicated investigations must be carried out.
INTANGIBLES IMPACTING THE LENGTH OF A CASE
The insurance company denies payment for your surgery as not “medically necessary,” and the doctor arbitrates this denial. It can take over a year to get a decision. It is prudent to wait for the decision as the surgery is an important part of the damages in your case and having an arbitration decision that it was indeed medically necessary is important for your case.
The insurance company transfers your claim to a new claims rep who must now review your complete file from scratch. This can add months to the time it takes to settle the case. The insurance adjuster goes on an extended vacation or family leave and there is nobody to discuss your claim. Of course, the litigation can continue, but the case cannot be settled unless there is a claims rep to discuss it with.
There are many reasons why situations take the time they do to settle. The most important thing to remember is that it is your attorney’s job to explain why YOUR case is taking the time it’s taking. If you are in the dark, you don’t have the right attorney. If your attorney cannot fully explain why your case is taking so long, consider changing attorneys.