Factors That May Delay Reaching a Settlement in a Car Crash Claim
Posted on behalf of Goldberg Finnegan, LLC on Jul 01, 2021 in Car Accidents
After a car crash, victims often have expensive medical bills and other financial burdens to manage while trying to recover. Unfortunately, this places a lot of stress on both the victims and their families, especially when the injuries are severe and keep a victim from being able to work.
At Goldberg Finnegan, our clients often ask us how long it could take to reach a settlement agreement. However, there is no one-size-fits-all answer because every case is different. Sometimes victims get lucky, and a settlement may be reached more quickly. More often there are other factors that may cause delays along the way.
If another driver's negligence caused your injuries, our experienced auto accident attorneys in Silver Spring are ready to help you seek compensation. There are no upfront costs if we take your case, and your initial consultation is completely free.
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The Type and Severity of Injuries You Sustained
One major factor that determines how long it may take to reach a settlement is how badly a victim was injured. If the injuries are extensive, it could take several months or longer for a victim to reach the point of maximum medical improvement (MMI). Typically, an attorney will not typically even begin negotiations until the victim reaches this point. If victims are still receiving care and generating medical bills, the total value of a claim cannot be known.
These are among the most severe types of injuries that require ongoing medical care, and which also take longer to heal:
- Concussions and traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Fractured limbs
- Back injuries
- Skull fractures
- Scarring and Disfigurement
- Severe whiplash and other neck injuries
Once you reach MMI, the attorney will gather your treatment invoices, medical records and other important documentation related to your injuries. This information will help your attorney to accurately calculate the value of your claim before beginning negotiations.
Complexity of the Car Crash
The more complex a motor vehicle accident is, the longer it can take to resolve a claim and reach a settlement agreement. This is especially true for collisions involving multiple vehicles and insurance companies.
For example, in a chain-reaction accident, it is very difficult to determine liability. There could be multiple liable parties, including the drivers, road contractors or other third parties, such as a trucking company that failed to properly load cargo it was transporting.
Both attorneys and insurance companies will thoroughly investigate an accident to determine the cause. Attorneys need strong evidence to help them prove negligence and to give them leverage in negotiating for fair compensation on your behalf. Insurance companies want to limit or deny any payout on a claim.
The bigger the case, the longer this phase can take. Some examples of complicated cases include car crashes involving:
- Multiple vehicles
- Government-issued vehicles or employees
- Accidents with rideshare drivers
- Rollover crashes
- Rental or out-of-state crashes
- Crashes involving a drunk driver
- Wrong-way crashes
- Commercial truck accidents
If there are no witnesses or camera footage to support how a crash occurred, it may lead to a “he said, she said” type of battle. In this situation, it may be necessary to bring in an expert witness for further investigation. An accident reconstruction specialist, automotive or engineering expert may prove to be helpful in providing the necessary evidence on your behalf.
Insurance Company Delays
Insurance companies are often responsible for delaying reaching a settlement. Their priority is to the company and making a profit, which means not paying out large claims to their policyholders without a fight.
In Maryland, insurers know that, because of the state's contributory negligence law, they only need to prove you contributed to a crash to get out of paying. If you have any liability for the crash, you will be barred from any recovery. They are likely to try to assign fault to you, even if it seems clear the other party is entirely to blame.
The insurance company hopes if it delays long enough, an injured victim may be unable to file a lawsuit within Maryland's statute of limitations, which is three years from the date of the accident or injury.
Settlement Negotiations Take Time
Initial offers are almost always far below the value of a claim. An experienced attorney knows this and will likely reject that first offer and propose a better one in response. This back and forth process of negotiating can take weeks to months before a satisfactory settlement can be reached.
In cases where a settlement cannot be reached, it may be necessary to go to trial. However, this step alone may sometimes be enough to get an insurance company to make a better offer, especially when the evidence solidly supports the claim. It costs both sides time and money, so no one wants to go to trial if it can be avoided.
Need Help After a Car Crash? Call Goldberg Finnegan Today
The legal process takes time and there are often delays that cannot be helped. Having an attorney advocate on your behalf may help to prevent unnecessary delays and ensure your rights are protected.
If you suffered injuries in a car crash caused by another’s negligence, we are ready to help you seek just compensation for your injuries and damages. Our qualified attorneys have extensive experience advocating for injured victims and a proven recovery record.
Contact Goldberg Finnegan today to learn more about your potential legal options. You can find out if you have a case at no cost or risk to you. Your initial consultation is completely free, and we are available to take your call 24/7. If we represent you, there are no upfront costs or fees to pay.
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