If you are in the midst of a personal injury case, you might feel as if the process is taking way too long. In some cases, personal injury cases are handled in a matter of weeks. It is not unusual for
them to go on for months or longer, though. These are a few possible reasons why it's taking a while for your case to be settled.
1. Your Injuries Haven't Been Proven
Proving the extent of your injuries and proving that they were caused by the accident at hand are two important parts of most personal injury cases. If your injuries have not been fully proven yet, this can cause your personal injury case to be stalled.
Seeing another doctor or providing more paperwork might help you prove your condition and the relationship between the accident and your injuries.
If you are still in the healing process, then it may not be the best time to settle your case until you have reached maximum improvement. If your case is settled before you undergo major surgery or finish physical therapy, then that future medical treatment and medical bills may not be factored into your settlement.
This can cause delays because it is difficult to get a clear picture of just how much your accident will impact your life going forward. In this case, you may have to wait a few weeks or months until you have recovered before your case can be settled.
2. You're Seeking a Large Amount of Compensation
In many cases, insurance companies will pay out smaller settlements rather quickly. In fact, it often makes better financial sense for them to do so than to pay for legal fees for an extended period of time during the negotiation process. If you are asking for a larger amount of compensation, however, the insurance company may fight the claim, which makes for a longer legal process.
3. There's Been a Delay With Filing Paperwork
With your typical personal injury case, a lot of paperwork has to be filled out and turned in to the courts. Your lawyer may have to send documentation to the insurance company's attorney, too. You may have to turn in documents, such as a HIPAA release form that gives your attorney permission to access your medical records. Some doctors’ offices and hospitals can take several weeks or months to process requests for medical records.
Your attorney should let you know what documents he or she needs from you to move your case along. The faster you can provide those documents to your attorney, the faster your case may move along.
4. The Insurance Company Is Stalling
In some cases, insurance companies and their attorneys attempt to stall with personal injury cases. They might file various motions in an attempt to put off court dates, for example, or they may wait until the last minute to respond to legal paperwork. This can sometimes cause cases to drag on for weeks or months longer than they otherwise would.
5. Your Attorney Is Trying to Negotiate a Settlement
It is usually better for all parties involved when a personal injury case is handled outside of court. However, the negotiation process can be time-consuming. Your attorney and the attorneys for the insurance company will have to communicate and try to come to an agreement.
If they have trouble coming up with a settlement amount that seems fair to both parties, the process can go on for longer. Eventually, your attorney may have to take your case to trial if the insurance company does not agree to a reasonable settlement.
If you are in any of the situations above or if your case otherwise seems to be taking a long time, it's easy to feel frustrated. Talk to your attorney; he or she should keep you informed about what is going on with your case. Contact usat Wolfe, Jones, Wolfe, Hancock, Daniel & South, L.L.C., if you are seeking legal representation for your personal injury case.