Why Is My Car Crash Case Taking So Long To Settle?
Car crash claims sometimes settle almost immediately, if the insurance company rolls over and plays dead. That usually doesn’t happen. In fact, insurance companies usually retain high-priced lawyers whose only job is to find legal loopholes that reduce or deny compensation in the case. Additionally, the settlement value, which is the starting point for settlement negotiations in a car crash claim, is often difficult to determine. More on these things below.
Insurance company lawyers are committed to minimum compensation for victims. In contrast, a Missouri City car accident lawyer works hard to obtain maximum compensation for victims. If a case doesn’t settle quickly, it’s usually because your attorney is not looking for a quick settlement or an easy way out. Instead, a delay usually means your attorney is fighting extra hard to obtain the compensation you ended and deserve.
Car Crash Liability Issues
Driver error causes most vehicle collisions in Texas. But simply proving driver error usually isn’t enough to obtain maximum compensation.
Driver error isn’t always a breach of duty, which is the crux of a negligence case. Device distraction is a good example.
If Jill sent a quick text message just before she rear-ended Jack, she made a mistake, but that mistake might not have been a breach of care. To establish that breach, a Missouri City personal injury lawyer probably needs more evidence, like the device use log from Jill’s phone. If that log shows she was using her phone for several blocks, she most likely breached her duty of care. Obtaining additional evidence takes time.
Affirmative defenses might apply as well. As an illustration, let’s look at the Jack and Jill crash from another angle.
If Jack suddenly slammed on his brakes and Jill rear-ended him, the sudden emergency defense might apply. This doctrine excuses negligence, like a rear-end collision, if the tortfeasor (negligent driver):
- Reasonably reacted to
- A sudden emergency.
This defense usually wouldn’t hold up in court in a Jack and Jill-type crash. A reasonable reaction in this situation is slamming on one’s own brakes, not continuing forward. Additionally, a car that stops short is usually an everyday hazard as opposed to a sudden emergency, or a completely unanticipated situation.
Although the defense doesn’t hold up in court, an insurance company lawyer can use it to delay the settlement process.
Establishing the Settlement Value
Even if no defenses could possibly apply, and that’s a very big “if,” it takes some time to establish a claim’s settlement value. This figure, which serves as the starting point for settlement negotiations, must account for all future medical and other expenses.
Therefore, meaningful settlement negotiations cannot begin until medical treatment is at least substantially complete. If a case settles too early, the victim may be financially responsible for such future charges.
Additionally, the settlement value must include fair compensation for noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. Frequently, attorneys must work with busy outside professionals to set a fair figure for such losses. This necessary partnership could delay the settlement process as well.
If the noneconomic losses aren’t evidence-based, insurance company lawyers refuse to pay them, meaning that victims are hard-pressed to move forward with their lives. That’s an outcome your attorney is determined to avoid.
Work with a Reliable Harris County Attorney
Injury victims are entitled to significant compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Missouri City, contact the Henrietta Ezeoke Law Firm. You have a limited amount of time to act.