It Depends on the Case
The truth is, a car accident case is never one size fits all. Many specific factors can cause a settlement to take a long time.
Every car accident case is settled in one of two ways; an out-of-court settlement or by a trial. In both cases, the final results can take a while.
This article will look at some of the factors that could cause delays and give you a few tips on what to do while you wait so that you don’t feel your valuable time is wasted.
Is There a Need for a Trial
A car accident and personal injury from the accident do not go to trial most of the time. A good, experienced personal injury lawyer avoids trials for accidents for a few reasons.
A smart attorney will know what your accident is worth in ways of damage to the vehicle and medical costs. An experienced attorney can make these determinations and get you what you’re owed without having to slow the case by going through the courts.
When you think of a jury, you’re usually picturing what you’ve seen on TV or a movie—friendly folks sitting quietly for a few scenes and them coming back with a verdict. An attorney who has been through this many times knows that a jury is not a predictable factor. People can quickly put themselves in the accident situation, side with one party or the other, and then, the control of the outcome is out of the attorney’s hands. To avoid this, an experienced personal injury attorney does their best to keep the case out of a jury’s hands.
Getting what you deserve is the top priority for a sharp attorney. A court trial is a very costly endeavor. The upfront costs of the trial in court are usually not worth it in the eyes of an experienced attorney, so; they prefer to negotiate a settlement out of court.
What slows things down here is the back and forth—the negotiation. Remember, what your attorney is doing for you, the other person involved in the accident has an attorney doing the same for them. There is a negotiation process. This will always take time.
Due to the factors we stated above, the need or desire for a trial is usually very low. However, there are times when one party decides they don’t want to settle. In these situations, the case goes to trial.
This is going to be another factor in slowing down your settlement. In most cases, it is not atypical for an accident trial to take a year from the time the accident occurred to the conclusion of the trial. This is because courts are flooded, and the process of getting your case before a judge and jury will always take time. The justice system doesn’t move at lightning speed.
Some accident cases are open and shut. You can tell at the scene of the accident. The person who ran into you apologizes gives you an excuse, insurance papers are exchanged, and there is a general feeling of guilt and apology. Those cases generally do not call for an investigation.
Now and then, there are complications to an accident case. In many cases, proving that one party is 100% responsible may be difficult. This could slow the settlement down if there are questions at the scene of the accident.
In this type of situation, an attorney will take time and do an investigation to determine the culpability of the other party. This takes time.
Denial will undoubtedly slow your settlement down. This is a situation where the insurer does not accept the evidence. They refuse to see the proof of fault in the accident as viable, and this will cause the attorney to file suit and take the case to court.
A potentially large settlement can cause delays. Most insurance companies do not like to hand over a substantial amount of money without a fight. That’s just the nature of their business. So, if you’re entitled to a large sum, the insurance company may fight and delay as much as possible.
If your injuries are severe and you are looking at a life-long disability, you will be in line for a settlement that will ease that burden. However, in cases like this, an insurance company may obfuscate for as long as possible in the hopes that you will get frustrated and settle for less. This will take time.
So you see, these factors involved will slow down your settlement, and these factors are out of your hands.
Lack of Control
Einstein said that talking to a pretty girl for five minutes seems shorter than sitting on a hot stove for the same amount of time. It was his quick reply to a newspaperman asking him to explain relativity. It was funny, but it is also true.
If you’ve been in an accident and need money for bills, to get the car repaired, etc., the time can seem to drag by. This can add some perceived time to your waiting and make things feel hopeless. That is a feeling you want to combat.
While you’re waiting for your settlement, do not put your life on hold as much as possible. There are still things you can do and must do to keep life moving forward. Here are a few tips on what you can do during the time you’re awaiting your settlement.
During this time, if you have injuries and bills may pile up, take the reins and talk to the companies you will need to pay. Make sure they know the full extent of your situation and set a plan so that you’re not slammed with late fees or extra fees while you’re waiting for your settlement.
It’s easy in a difficult time to just assume that more bad things will happen. That isn’t always the case. Companies want to get their payments; doctors, medical facilities, and even car companies want their money. Taking time to connect with them, tell them what’s going on, and assure them that they are a priority when you receive your settlement can positively affect them and you.
Knowing that you’re thinking about your payments and that you have a very valid excuse for being late proving that you’re not just dodging the payment and that you’re responsible in the face of unusual strain. They will most likely be willing to work with you to ease your mind.
Taking this action can also be good for your mental health. In times of stress, it’s easy for us to say, well, of course, it’s just another terrible thing happening to me. But, if you speak to companies and deal with your payment situations and get a positive response, you’ll feel better about your case, and you’ll know you don’t have as tough a battle to fight as you once thought. It can lift your mood and give you much-needed hope.
Be Good to Yourself
It is human nature to suddenly see everything in life through very dark glasses in an accident or injury. It can be easy to fall into a funk and shut off all positive thoughts and actions. Avoid this.
Rest is vital when you’re recovering from an injury, and rest means physical and mental. You’re not fully resting if you’re constantly stressing about the settlement, the when, and why. Understand why it could take longer and know that worry and stress will not cut that timeline down. Do what you can, file papers, call companies, get tour financials in order, and then understand it is out of your hands and take care of yourself.
Don’t shut out family and friends, don’t refuse help with chores or even simple visits. Stay positive. It may sound small, but a positive attitude can go a long way to better mental health, which has been proven to aid in physical health.
Stay off Social Media
It sounds like an odd bit of advice, doesn’t it? You’re injured, and social media is a great way to blow off some steam and connect with people. Billions of people do it every day; what’s the harm?
The harm is that anything you post on social media, even if you are in private mode, can be found and may be used to throw off your settlement claims.
If you post pictures of a day trip, or you show your location at a trendy restaurant or nightspot. You may be in a wheelchair or on crutches, and your friends are just trying to cheer you up;
however, an insurance company could use those posts as “proof” that you’re not as bad off as you claim.
It seems a small thing but, it could lead to big trouble. If you must go on social media, do not mention your accident beyond very bare details, and be sure you’re careful of all the material you post.
Don’t Talk About the Case
As time passes and you become more frustrated with delays, you’re going to need and want to vent. The best way to do this is by talking, talking, talking. Nope, you don’t want to do that.
Just like being on social media, you have no idea who will say what to whom. An insurance company may have one of its lawyers talk to your friends. They may share what you’ve said innocently; however, you don’t know what they can mine from the information they glean. Best not to talk about it. That’s hard but, you’ll be happy when you get your settlement.
Live Your Life Realistically
Don’t stop living. Don’t stop being with friends and family. Don’t stop seeing good things and loving what you have always loved. An accident is a moment in time, and you cannot allow it to color the rest of your days. Even if there is injury, do all you can to move past it and stay positive and in this world.
If you’re feeling seriously depressed, seek help. Mental health professionals deal with this kind of situation all the time, and they are there, ready to help you through it. You’re not going to handle an accident claim without an insurance company or a lawyer, isn’t your mental health as valuable as your car?
The other thing you’ll want to avoid is living off your settlement before you get it. Making huge purchases thinking, once we get that money … this can be dangerous. There are so many factors involved in getting your settlement and the amount you’re going to receive that you could wind up putting yourself in more trouble than you expected. Live your life realistically, and when the settlement arrives, then you can spend it.
Do Not Go This Alone
Insurance companies are loathe to pay out anything. They will fight tooth and nail to keep money out of your hands. Money that you need for medical bills and life. It is their goal not to pay, and they know how to work the system.
You’re not asking for anything you’re not entitled to, and there is no reason you shouldn’t get help in claiming it. Insurance companies have lawyers and experience in keeping the money in their own pockets; you need someone on your side with just as much experience who is an advocate for you.
The law is complex, and even if the situation appears open and shut, an insurance company will fight to keep it closed. Don’t take this task on by yourself. Get experienced, caring help from McMullin.
Too many factors in an accident can confuse you and put you in a terrible place financially, physically, and mentally. You need someone you can trust as an advocate and a fighter to get you what you need and deserve. Contact McMullin and start back on the road to peace of mind.