If you filed a compensation claim some time ago and haven’t received a check yet, you may wonder, “Why is my car accident settlement taking so long?” Many factors can influence how long it takes for your money to arrive after you file a claim. Complex fact scenarios, lengthy discovery periods, and slow response times are all examples of snags that can increase how long it takes for a final answer in your case. While waiting can be frustrating, having an answer quickly does not always mean a positive outcome, and slow news doesn’t always equal bad news. The only way to be sure your rights are protected while you wait for an answer is to have an effective legal team championing your cause.
Kalikhman & Rayz, LLC has decades of hands-on experience negotiating settlements and getting clients the compensation they need after a car crash. We understand how frustrating it can be when insurance companies and at-fault parties drag their feet when responding to settlement talks. We have in-house checks in place to help safeguard against delays on our end, and we routinely follow up with insurance companies and at-fault parties to help speed up the process. Our Philadelphia car accident attorneys also regularly follow up with clients to make sure they know what’s going on with their case every step of the way.
What Is the Average Timeframe for a Motor Vehicle Accident Lawsuit?
Because every case is unique, the time frame for a given lawsuit can vary drastically. Some claims can take months, while others can take years to reach a settlement. It can be frustrating for clients to have to wait to hear a definitive answer from the judge, jury, or at-fault party. But sometimes, no news is good news: it can mean the other party is carefully considering the settlement proposal or legal arguments presented. Other times, it can signal that someone is imposing unnecessary delays to try to test the victim’s patience. Accident victims can safeguard their interests against these practices by diligently following up with their attorney or the other party to ensure the case is on everyone’s mind.
What Can Impact How Long It Takes to Settle an Auto Wreck Case?
Many factors intersect to influence how long it takes for a car accident case to reach a conclusion. How quickly someone responds to a phone call, email, or letter can impact the settlement date, as can having to traverse intense rounds of discovery. Sometimes, the settlement talks can be contentious, causing disagreements that delay when an outcome is presented. Finally, having to go to trial can also push back when the victim finds out if compensation is in their future.
Response times can significantly impact when settlement talks conclude. If the victim does not promptly respond to their attorney’s calls or emails, it can prevent the lawyer from having what they need to move negotiations forward. Likewise, if the insurance company is dragging its feet when it comes time to answer a settlement proposal or send a check, it can create snags in the timeline.
During the discovery phase of a lawsuit, each side requests information from each other. The goal of discovery is to discover as much relevant information as possible about the claim, including what happened before, during, and after the wreck. While this process is crucial in helping the victim develop their legal and factual arguments, responding to requests and reviewing what the other party sends can also be time-consuming.
Ideally, settlement discussions will go smoothly without undue delays or misunderstandings. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always happen this way in the real world. Settlement talks can lead to heated disagreements about things like the weather on the day of the accident, who was driving the car, and what caused the crash in the first place. Likewise, if the sides disagree about the total damages the victim suffered, it can hinder the victim’s ability to advance the talks further.
Going to Trial
If settlement discussions fail because the sides can’t agree on what happened or what a fair compensation package looks like, it may become necessary to move the case to trial. In the trial phase, each side prepares and presents their arguments about what happened. They each get to make an opening statement, question witnesses, bring in evidence (like photographs), and give a closing argument.
Afterward, the judge or jury decides what they think should happen in the case. It can take a long time for the parties to prepare for trial and for the decision-maker to issue a judgment. Also, the trial can span several days, especially if the case is complex, causing delays in when the victim hears an answer about their car accident settlement.
Why Is My Car Accident Settlement Taking So Long?
Your car accident settlement may be taking a long time for various reasons. As discussed above, it could be that your attorney is waiting for an answer from you, the insurance company, or the at-fault party. Or the judge or jury may be the cause for the delay. It could also be that the phase of the case is to blame, such as the often lengthy discovery part of a lawsuit.
Having an effective personal injury attorney in Philadelphia at your side can help limit the amount of unnecessary delays in your case. An efficient car accident lawyer has measures in place to streamline the process of handling motor vehicle settlements and ensure clients are in the loop with status updates.
What Can You Do to Help Your Case Take Less Time?
You may not know ahead of time how long your car crash claim will take to conclude, but there are steps you can take to help speed things along. For example, promptly getting back to your attorney can help equip them with what they need to do their job. Likewise, saving copies of accident-related records ensures your personal injury lawyer has everything needed to calculate your damages. Finally, following your doctor’s recommendations can limit the potential for you to worsen your injuries, which can delay the trial and cause the insurance company to resist paying out what they should.
Get Back to Your Attorney Quickly
Make your lawyer’s job easier by promptly replying to their phone call or email—even if you don’t have the information they’re requesting yet. What’s important is that they have an update now and the materials they’re asking for shortly thereafter. If they know you need more time to get the receipts to their office, they may be able to request it. And if you do tell your attorney you need an extra day or two to get the paperwork to their office, make sure you do everything you can in those couple of days to follow through on this promise. Remember: the sooner you get the materials to your attorney, the faster they can settle your case.
Save Copies of Your Accident-Related Records
Another tip to help speed up your claim is to save copies of accident-related expenses, requests for time off work, repairs, and medical expenses. Anything that might relate to the injury or accident is essential to save and send to your attorney. During settlement talks and at trial, your lawyer will need these materials to support their claims (like compensation requests). Having these records at your disposal from the get-go cuts down on the time it takes your attorney to prepare everything on their end.
Follow Your Doctor’s Recommendations
Another tip to help decrease the time your case takes to settle is to follow your doctor’s instructions. Delays in getting treatment can increase your chances of re-injury, which creates an uphill battle in your quest for compensation. After all, the insurance company might try to weasel out of paying your claim if it thinks compliance with your doctor’s recommendations might have prevented the injury or lessened its impact. Also, delays in treatment may delay your case because your attorney will likely want to hear what your doctor says before the lawyer submits or accepts a settlement proposal.
How Long Does a Complex Case Involving a Car Wreck Take To Settle?
Complex cases can take a great deal of time to settle, in part because of the many moving parts that are often at play. If there might be multiple people at fault in a car accident (like a trucking company, truck driver, and auto manufacturer), the discovery phase of the case might be more in-depth. After all, your attorney will likely want to request employment records, safety tests, and the electronic control module data to understand what went wrong and led to the crash.
Likewise, cases where multiple parties are to blame may also trigger Pennsylvania’s comparative fault laws, which can increase the time before a case concludes. These laws require the court to determine the percentage of fault of each party, including the accident victim. If the victim wins their case, the amount they receive in compensation may be reduced by the percentage of fault the court believes they carry for the crash. For example, if a victim is 5% to blame for the accident, they might only be able to recover 95% of their total damages. If a case has multiple at-fault parties, it might take longer for the court to determine how much fault each party carries for the crash. In turn, this can push back the timeframe for the potential settlement.
Kalkhman & Rayz, LLC: Efficient Car Crash Lawyers Serving Pennsylvania
Taking legal action can take time, causing victims to ask themselves, “Why is my car accident settlement taking so long?” Many factors can contribute to a delay, including tardy responses to emails, the complexity of the case, and having to prepare for trial and discovery. At Kalikhman & Rayz, LLC, we help victims by providing timely and effective legal representation to minimize delays when the ball is in our court.
We are familiar with the challenges faced by car accident victims struggling to make ends meet because they can’t work or their income isn’t enough to cover their crippling medical expenses. Past clients praise our team for bringing their cases to a swift resolution and providing diligent advocacy to those injured in car accidents. While we can’t guarantee a specific result or timeline in any particular case, we strive to provide efficient and effective legal representation at all times. If you were in a car accident in Pennsylvania, contact our knowledgeable attorneys today by calling 267-435-2426.