Why is my personal injury case taking so long?

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Time Factor in Personal Injury Cases

Your personal injury attorney should fully explain why your case is taking so long. There are many reasons why personal injury cases drag on, but if your attorney cannot explain why your case is still pending, you may want to consider changing attorneys. Some law firms register more cases than they can handle and your case may be sitting in a neglected filing cabinet, don’t be shy about asking for an update.

The following factors can affect the length of a personal injury case:

  1. insurance coverage

  2. Treatment time

  3. Insurance policy

  4. debt

  5. Quality of Medical Reporting

  6. severity of injury

  7. case type

  8. intangible assets

insurance coverage

New York auto liability insurance has a minimum policy limit of 25/50. This means up to $25,000 per person and $50,000 per incident can be paid. So if you were seriously injured, were the only one injured in the accident, and it was clearly the other car’s fault, your case could be resolved quickly. Insurance companies may “bid” their policy to you, which means they will pay for the full amount of the policy. In this case, it’s “malicious” if they don’t. Unfortunately, while your case is settled quickly, you won’t be able to get much money.

Let’s say you suffer the same serious injury and have good liability, but the other vehicle is a truck and is insured for $1,000,000. This is where you don’t want to rush. Of course, you can quickly resolve the case, but that’s not the best way to handle it. Just charge $25,000 and the case can be closed before you even finish your treatment, but if more money is to be charged, there’s no point in trying to settle the case even before treatment is done because medical treatment is “damages”, which would Adds value to your case. This is where we like to insist on a settlement, and if it doesn’t, we’ll file a lawsuit. It will make the case take longer, but it’s well worth it.

Treatment time

More serious injuries usually mean longer treatment times. Clients sometimes ask why the condition remains unresolved despite aggressive medical care or still being unable to work. It is impossible to know the value of a case until treatment is complete, and trying to resolve the case at that time would be a short sale. For example, if an injury caused you to be out of work for a year and a half, your case will not be resolved for at least a year and a half (assuming adequate insurance coverage.) On the other hand, cases can be resolved much quicker for minor injuries that do not require treatment, But won’t produce that high resolution. The important thing to ask a lawyer is why the case is dragging on – you should make sure it’s not just sitting in a filing cabinet because they’re busy with other cases.

insurance policy

It is the policy of some insurance companies to expect a fair settlement to be made quickly. They have a team of claims representatives who follow up on their caseload and take calls from attorneys. You can send them a medical package, they will review it promptly, and then they will provide a quote within a reasonable amount of time. If the offer is not accepted, a lawsuit can be filed. Such a good company actually – one of the best has some funny animal ads.

Other insurers don’t want to settle. They have almost no claims reps and don’t bother to call back. They ask to review medical records within 60 days. They make poor offers to settle cases. Lawyers know which companies these are and that lengthy litigation is necessary. Some lawyers won’t even take cases if they know they work for certain insurance companies! If your case drags on for a long time because it’s against an insurance company that isn’t aggressively resolving the case, it’s not your attorney’s fault. Never mind that your Aunt Jean is getting a lot of money really fast with cases against “good” insurance companies.

Liability and your personal injury case

If you have a police report showing that you were hit in the rear by a drunk driver who was texting, there may not be a dispute as to liability. This sped up the case because the only discussion was “damages.” On the other hand, if another person ran a red light but claims you did, the case may need to be prosecuted through testimony before it can be resolved. It’s frustrating when you see another person walk through the lights, but that’s what courts and judges do. Evidence cannot be taken until the parties have exchanged documents and held several meetings in court. The situation won’t be gaining its full value anytime soon.

Quality of Medical Reporting

This can help resolve issues faster if you are treated with a high-quality medical provider who understands how to generate reports for accident cases. Sloppy and incomplete medical reports have little to no claims adjusters to salivate at when asked to “authorize” payment for your claim. If you’re seeking a large settlement, the insurance company may require extensive litigation. They will want to hear you testify in a deposition before sending you to their doctor for an examination. High-quality medical reports will speed up billing.

The severity of the injury and your personal injury case

Assuming coverage is available, it will take time to accumulate substantial settlement amounts in serious cases. In this case, lengthy litigation can improve the eventual settlement. You want the insurance company to know that you are willing to go to trial if they don’t come up with enough money. Even though most cases are eventually resolved, if the injuries are serious, you want to prepare the case for trial, or even resolve it on the eve of trial. It may take years, but it’s worth it.

Different types of cases require different time

Car accident cases have a “serious injury threshold” that must be met. For smaller cases, it is important to have at least enough treatment to reach this threshold, which usually means at least three months of treatment. Other types of cases do not have this threshold. For example, if you fall at the supermarket and go to the doctor, your sprained ankle will heal quickly and your case will likely be resolved quickly. Cases of food poisoning can occur quickly because there are few treatments available once the problem subsides. Product liability and malpractice cases always take a long time because experts must be hired and complex investigations must be conducted.

Intangibles Affecting Case Length

The insurance company refuses to pay for your surgery because it is not “medically necessary,” and the doctor arbitrates this denial. It could take more than a year to reach a decision. It is prudent to wait for a decision because surgery is a significant part of the damages in your case, and it is important to your case that an arbitration decision is truly medically necessary.

The insurance company transfers your claim to a new claims representative who now has to review your entire file from scratch. This can add months to the time to close a case. The insurance adjuster is on extended vacation or family leave and no one is discussing your claim. Litigation can continue, of course, but the case cannot be closed unless a claims representative is consulted.

There are many reasons why cases take time to resolve. The most important thing to remember is that it is your attorney’s responsibility to explain why your case is dragging on. If you’re in the dark, you don’t have the right lawyers. If your attorney cannot fully explain why your case is taking so long, consider changing attorneys.

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