Common Reasons for a Delay in Settling a Personal Injury Claim
One of the most common questions injury victims have is: How long will it take to recover compensation for my claim?
Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer. It could be weeks, months or a year or more. However, while the duration of the legal process may be no one’s fault, sometimes there are delays because of the insurance company. The resolution of a case could also take longer because of how complex a claim is. This is often the case when multiple parties are involved or fault is contested.
Review some of the most common reasons for a delay in a personal injury claim. If you have any questions about the legal process, including how long it may take, you can always contact the experienced attorneys at TSR Injury Law. We have been helping personal injury victims in Minnesota for more than 20 years with a wide variety of claims.
Duration of Your Medical Treatment
Settlement negotiations generally do not begin until the victim has completed his or her medical treatment. When the victim has fully healed, or at least achieved the maximum recovery likely, his or her Bloomington personal injury attorney will be able to assess the full cost of past medical care. This is also the point when the attorney can determine the victim’s future treatment needs and factor those into the value of the claim.
Some injuries heal or stabilize faster than others. The duration of your medical treatment also depends on the severity of your injury and how you respond to treatment. There could be setbacks along the way, such as infections or treatments that simply do not work.
Disputes Over Liability
It should be noted that even when fault seems clear, insurance companies may try to dispute it. This is especially the case for accidents involving multiple parties or when liability is unclear to the police or witnesses at the scene.
Minnesota law allows injury victims’ settlements to be reduced according to their percentage of fault. That gives insurance companies extra incentive to try to pin at least some of the blame for the crash on you.
Sometimes it is necessary to bring in experts to help validate a case and this could take time. The experts need time to analyze the accident. Your attorney may also need to find and interview credible witnesses.
Severity of Your Injuries
The more severe your injuries, the more compensation your attorney is likely to seek. Insurance companies do not want to pay out a lot of compensation. Dragging out the timeline of an expensive claim may often be an attempt to get you or your attorney to give up or ask for less money.
Your Case Goes to Trial
While most personal injury cases settle out of court, sometimes the only way to obtain maximum compensation may be to file a lawsuit. Often, when faced with potential court time, an insurer may be motivated to make a better settlement offer. Your attorney may reach a settlement while preparing for trial or even during the trial. Insurance companies often want to avoid the additional time and expense of a trial, so they often choose to settle.
Unreasonable Delays Caused by the Insurance Company
Insurance companies know how to delay the processing of claims. For example, they may take a few days to process documents you submit to them. They may ask you to complete additional, unnecessary documentation. They may even make a lowball offer and take a while to respond to your counteroffer.
Why do insurance companies do this?
You have a limited time to file a lawsuit. Minnesota’s statute of limitations is two years from the date of the accident. If you do not file a lawsuit within those two years, you will probably lose the chance to do so. Insurance companies know this, so they often use delay tactics in order to use up the clock.
That is why it is important to hire an experienced attorney who is prepared to go to court if necessary. Throughout the legal process, your lawyer should be preparing like he or she may need to go to court. That way, he or she is not rushing to try to file a lawsuit before the statute of limitations runs out.
Is There Any Way to Avoid Delays?
There are some steps you can take that may help speed up the process. However, there are no guarantees.
For example, going to the hospital right away and following all your doctor’s orders is extremely important. This helps to show your credibility and the severity of your injuries.
Saying very little or nothing at all to the insurance company could help you. Sometimes victims say things that hurt their claims without even realizing it. For example, they may say something to the insurance company that is later used against them as a reason to assign them fault for the accident. Insurance companies know how to mislead victims, which is why it is often best to let your attorney communicate with them on your behalf.
Essentially, if you avoid doing things that could hurt your claim, you might help prevent delays in the process. For example, if you post something on social media that makes it seem like your injuries are not very serious, your lawyer may need to spend more time gathering evidence to refute these claims.
Learn More About How Long a Case May Take to Resolve
The initial consultation with one of the licensed attorneys at TSR Injury Law is 100 percent free of charge. You do not have to hire our firm after this meeting.
If we find you have a case and you decide to work with us, there will be no upfront fees for our services. We are not paid unless our clients receive compensation. That means there is no risk in calling us to find out how we may be able to help you.
We welcome the chance to assist you. Call today to learn more: (612) TSR-TIME.