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Why is Your Texas Car Accident Settlement Delayed?

You may feel like your car accident case is “open and shut,” but getting an insurance settlement can take time. Many factors can delay your car crash settlement from being offered and paid. However, the more you know what causes car accident settlement delays, the easier it will be to understand when you expect compensation.

While your insurance settlement may take longer than expected, there are actions you can take to make the process more efficient. One way is by working with an experienced Texas car accident lawyer.

Understanding Settlement Delays

Many variables are involved in obtaining an auto accident settlement, so there is no definitive time for car accident claims to be resolved. According to Forbes, many cases settle in nine to 18 months. Other cases could take years, depending on the clarity of fault, extent of injuries, willingness of the insurance company to accept responsibility, and other factors.

The Car Accident Settlement Timeline

The timeline associated with injury claim settlements is case-specific. Here are some of the steps that most vehicle collision settlement cases go through and estimated timelines:

  • The victim obtains medical care. This can take between one month and one year, depending on the severity of the injuries.
  • Your lawyer gathers evidence and determines how much your claim is worth. Once your injuries and prognosis are clear, this can take two to six months.
  • Your attorney will write a demand letter and negotiate with the insurance company. This can take four to six weeks.
  • You accept an offer and receive a check. This can take several weeks.
  • If you file a claim in court, your case may take six to 12 months to move through discovery and go to trial.

How Much Are Car Accident Settlements Worth?

Like the timeline for a settlement, the value of every car accident case is unique. You might think that your case is worth millions; however, it’s essential to have realistic expectations.

Essentially, the more severe your injuries and clear the fault in a car accident, the higher your car accident settlement will be. That’s why it’s important to document your injuries with medical records and maintain a journal about how they impact your daily life. The insurance company needs to be presented with facts that would push a jury to award you a higher verdict so they will make a higher settlement offer.

Top 5 Car Accident Settlement Delays

When you need money to pay bills, waiting can be difficult. Here are the common reasons for car accident settlement delays:

1. Unclear Fault

If there is a question about who is at fault, your car accident settlement may be delayed while parties point fingers. Texas follows the modified comparative negligence rule, meaning you can collect compensation even if you are partially at fault. However, you must be less than 50% to blame.

2. Ongoing Medical Treatment

Getting a final prognosis for your injuries is vital before accepting a settlement. Once you take the money, you cannot get any more compensation. To get a full and fair settlement, you need to understand the extent of your injuries and necessary recovery.

3. Incomplete Documentation

The settlement process can be slowed down by incomplete or missing documentation. This includes police reports, medical records, proof of lost wages, and other evidence supporting the claim. Gathering comprehensive documentation takes time but is crucial for a favorable outcome.

4. Low Initial Offers and Insurance Tactics

Insurance companies often use sketchy negotiation tactics and make lowball offers that won’t cover all your losses. They want to pay as little as possible and get rid of your claim. That’s why your attorney needs to make strategic counteroffers, often starting very high and meeting the insurance company in the middle where you’d like to be.

5. Potential for Litigation

Very few car accident cases go to court; however, many involve lawsuits. Filing a car accident lawsuit can pressure the insurance company to move faster in the settlement timeline. They will want to avoid litigation because it is costly. Thus, they are more likely to offer you a better settlement amount if you file a lawsuit early in negotiations.

Factors that Delay Auto Accident Settlements

Delayed insurance settlements may occur for a variety of reasons. Some factors that often delay car crash settlements include, but are not limited to:

Complexity of the Accident

The more complicated the accident, including multiple vehicles, determining fault, or dealing with commercial vehicles, the longer it might take to settle. Complex accidents require thorough investigations, which can significantly delay the settlement process.

Severity of Injuries

Severe injuries often result in prolonged medical treatment and recovery periods. Insurance companies may wait for a final prognosis to understand the full extent of medical expenses and any long-term impacts on quality of life before making a settlement offer. This can considerably lengthen the time to settle.

Dispute Over Liability

If there’s a dispute over who is at fault for the accident, the settlement process can be delayed. Texas follows a modified comparative negligence rule, meaning that the compensation can be reduced based on the claimant’s percentage of fault, or they might not recover anything if they are found to be more than 50% at fault.

Insurance Company Tactics

Insurance companies might employ various tactics to reduce their payout, including disputing the claim’s validity, underestimating costs, or delaying communications. These tactics can prolong negotiations and, consequently, the entire settlement process.

Legal or Procedural Delays

Sometimes, the legal process itself can contribute to delays. This includes scheduling conflicts, court backlogs, or delays in obtaining testimony from witnesses or expert witnesses. Additionally, the process can become significantly longer if the case involves litigation.

Negotiation Process

The negotiation phase can be lengthy, especially if there are significant disagreements between the claimant and the insurance company regarding the settlement amount. Both parties may go back and forth multiple times before reaching an agreement.

Policy Limits & Multiple Claimants

If the accident involves multiple claimants and the at-fault party’s insurance policy limits are insufficient to cover all damages, this can complicate and delay the settlement process as parties determine how to distribute the available funds.

High-Value Claims

High-value claims, especially those involving substantial property damage, medical expenses, pain and suffering, or loss of income, are scrutinized more closely by insurance companies. This often results in a longer negotiation process to reach a settlement that adequately compensates the injured party.

The Value of Patience & The Right Lawyer

It’s important to be patient during the settlement process. A Texas car accident lawyer can help you navigate and expedite the delays so you don’t have to stress as much.

Your attorney can also ensure you don’t miss any filing deadlines, such as the Texas personal injury statute of limitations. A statute of limitations is the deadline by which you must file a car accident lawsuit; otherwise, you forfeit your claim. In Texas, that deadline is two years after the date of the accident.

It’s essential that you contact a lawyer before the clock runs out. It can take time to investigate, collect evidence, and complete all necessary steps to help you get a settlement. Don’t delay in consulting with a personal injury lawyer.

Delays Happen. The Law Giant Can Help

Many factors can delay a car accident settlement in Texas. Understanding and anticipating those delays is important so that you are not left with unpaid bills and unnecessary stress. After a severe car accident, you need trusted legal advice.

At Begun Law Group, The Law Giant and our team of experienced Texas personal injury lawyers have helped countless victims get the settlements they need to move forward with life. We can help you, too.

Call (866) 435-5219 or use our contact form for a free, no-risk case evaluation. There’s no fee unless you recover compensation.

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