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Why Is My Car Accident Settlement Taking So Long?.

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Are you feeling frustrated because your car accident settlement is dragging on longer than you anticipated? You may wonder what's going on or if you've been forgotten.

That's probably not the case. If you're asking, why is my car accident settlement taking so long, chances are there's a good explanation. The settlement process can be complicated and has many working parts that must come together before reaching an agreement.

Although it's hard to do, it's important to stay calm as you wait. And it's a good idea to have a car accident lawyer to protect your rights.

Here's a look at why your car accident settlement may be a lengthy process.

Why Is My Car Accident Settlement Taking So Long?

You may feel frustrated or worried about your settlement if you think it's taking too long. You may feel like something has gone wrong or your attorney is not working fast enough.

The process for car accident claims can be complex. The more severe the crash, the more intricate parts there are to the case.

It's normal for a person involved in a vehicle wreck to want to get their life back together and put an end to their injury case. In most situations, your personal injury lawyer isn't the reason your case is delayed.

On average, you can expect a car injury case to take six to nine months to settle. There are a variety of factors that affect how long a claim takes from start to finish.

Most people involved in accidents know they're entitled to compensation of some kind but have no idea how much. That's why it's a good idea to have an experienced personal injury lawyer by your side to guide you through the process.

Insurance companies are in business to make money. They know claimants are in a hurry and will often accept less compensation than they truly deserve for their injuries.

Insurance adjusters may promise to cover your medical bills even before you have completed treatment. They may offer a little more than the cost of your medical bills or offer to pay your insurance subrogation.

It's important to wait and not jump on the first settlement amount. You could be left without enough to cover future medical costs, your lost wages, and other car accident damages.

The Severity of the Case

It's important to remember that the more serious your injuries are, the longer it will take for your case to settle. A minor accident with minor injuries may settle within a couple of months.

If your car accident was catastrophic and resulted in life-altering injuries, it could take much longer. If your injury involved disfigurement, blindness, hearing loss, or death, determining a settlement amount is much more complicated.

If you're seriously injured after an accident, it may take some time to realize the full impact of your injuries. The more severe your accident case is, the higher the settlement amount can be.

If you're left with life-altering injuries following a crash, you may be entitled to more compensation than the insurance provider offers. The insurance company knows this and will drag its feet to slow the settlement process.

Length Of Medical Treatment

To get full value from your personal injury case, you should reach maximum medical improvement or as much as possible before reaching a settlement. Until you reach maximum medical improvement for your condition or injuries, you can't know the full extent of the damages in your case.

Typically, medical expenses following a crash are around $57,000. When you reach maximum medical improvement, you are as well as you are going to be medically following your accident.

This differs from case to case. It could be after surgery, weeks of physical therapy, or months of rehabilitation. At the maximum medical improvement stage, you have moved beyond active treatment for your injury to no treatment or conservative treatment only.

An example of conservative treatment could be follow-ups with your doctor every few months or once a year, according to your doctor's recommendation. After you reach maximum medical improvement, you and the insurance company have a realistic picture of your limitations and how you will manage your health in the years to come.

It's not only a person’s injuries that determine the claim's value. It's the symptoms and limitations that remain that affect your settlement amount.

Medical Bills and Other Evidence

After you finish medical treatment, it's important to save all of your medical bills. This is proof of your injuries and the cost of the treatments, surgeries, or medications you've received.

Your medical records provide proof of your symptoms and limitations. The injured party making a personal injury claim has the burden of proof. You must show you suffered actual injuries and that the other party is to blame for those injuries.

You must show that you have symptoms and limitations due to the injuries you received. Unfortunately, insurance companies need proof and will not take you at your word.

Their goal is to pay as little as possible for your claim. You must prove any injuries and limitations by providing evidence, including medical bills and medical records.

If you're out of work, you should provide documentation from your employer for lost wages. You can also provide contact information for witnesses of your accident.

Filing a police report following an accident is important and can support your claim. However, your medical bills and records provide the best evidence of your damages in a car accident case.

You may think obtaining medical bills is a simple process, but it can be time-consuming and costly. Most medical facilities have a records and billing department. You must put in a request, and it can take a while to receive your records.

Records departments are often backlogged, and this can extend the time it takes.

Collecting Evidence

Your car accident attorney will attempt to create a strong case and prove liability. They must show that your car accident caused damage to you and your family or loved ones.

Your attorney will want to collect evidence to prove the car accident led to the damages. Some examples of evidence include:

  • Witness statements
  • Pictures of your injuries
  • Pictures of damage to your vehicle
  • Video footage at the scene
  • Medical bills and records
  • Proof of lost wages
  • The police report

The defense attorney for the other driver will do everything they can to dispute your car accident claim. That's why it's important to keep records of everything starting from the beginning.

Having the proper documentation can help you make a stronger case that's easier to settle. Having more evidence than you need is always better than not having enough.

Negotiations and Litigation

Once you have the evidence to file your claim, the insurance company needs a reasonable amount of time to review the evidence and medical bills to determine liability.

They must decide what they will offer on your car accident claim. The time this decision takes varies depending on the complexity of your injuries and your case.

A minor wreck with soft tissue injuries may take the insurance company a month or less to review. A major crash with multiple drivers and serious injuries could take months to review and decide on a settlement amount.

The insurance company may request additional information before making a decision. This can add to the time it takes for a decision.

Some requests for information by the insurance company may be valid, but sometimes it's a delay tactic. Your car accident attorney can help speed up your claim by providing information and holding the insurance company accountable.

Most personal injury cases involve negotiations before a settlement is reached. However, sometimes an agreement can't be reached, and your attorney may recommend filing a lawsuit.

Litigation in a car accident case can be time-consuming but may be necessary to get the results you deserve. Most cases are settled, including litigation cases. However, some litigation cases can drag on for weeks, months, and even years after the date the initial suit was filed.

Paying Outstanding Bills

Once you've finished medical treatment, have gone through the negotiation or litigation process, and have reached a settlement agreement, you're ready to receive your settlement. Unfortunately, you may still have to wait a while.

Your car accident attorney will inform you about any attorney fees, legal expenses, medical bills, or other amounts you must pay with your settlement. It may seem like a long wait to get your check.

Medical providers and insurance providers have a right to repayment. You could have a lien on your case that must be paid from your settlement. Insurance providers, including Medicare and others, also have a right to repayment on any costs associated with your injury treatment.

Your attorney can negotiate with these parties on the final payoff amount so you can receive your money. If you have policy limits associated with your case, your attorney will investigate whether the at-fault defendant has additional insurance coverage.

They can request the defendant's insurance declaration page, and if needed, an affidavit that confirms they have no other insurance.

Money Lost Due to Injuries

After a car accident, you may be out of work for an extended time. This can have a significant impact on you and your family's life, especially if you're the main breadwinner.

Although you may assume that calculating lost wages would be simple, it's more complicated than you may think.

Some factors involved in calculating lost wages in car accident settlements include:

Return to Work Date

The length of time you will be out of work recovering from your injuries is a factor in calculating lost wages. The longer your injuries keep you away from work, the more complicated the calculation can be.

Your car accident lawyer will consider if you can return to your normal job or will need job training for another position once you've fully recovered from your injuries.

Lost Benefits

Many employers offer both short-term and long-term disability benefits for employees who are out of work after an accident. Unfortunately, it may not completely cover their benefits.

For example, if you participate in a company-matched savings plan or retirement plan, you could lose these benefits. Your car accident settlement could include these potential financial gains.

Your settlement could also include your use of personal days, sick days, and vacation days before you applied for or used disability payments.

Other Perks

Many employers offer productivity bonuses and other perks. If you're not at work, you're missing out on this extra income. Your attorney can negotiate to include these missed opportunities in your car accident settlement.

Lost income isn't a simple calculation. It takes time for your attorney to ensure you're getting all the compensation you deserve.

Medical Costs Aren't Always Clear

Your medical expenses should be included in your car accident settlement. Determining the full amount of these expenses can be a complicated process.

Some things your attorney will consider when determining your medical expenses include:

Out-of-Pocket Expenses

If you have an employer-sponsored health plan, your immediate medical needs after an accident may be covered. Initially, you may have minimal medical expenses to worry about.

However, if you have a long recovery process, you may begin to see your out-of-pocket expenses grow. If you have to switch to a Cobra plan, you may have higher insurance premiums and a new deductible to pay.

You may need medical care your insurance doesn't cover. All of these medical costs play a role in your car accident settlement.

Future Medical Care

Car accident injuries can be devastating and leave you with the need for continued care, surgery, rehabilitation, and more. All of these future medical costs are factors in your car accident settlement.

Calculating future medical costs isn't always easy and can take time. Your car accident lawyer will consider your doctor's advice regarding future care when calculating these costs for your settlement.

Your attorney must determine as to what the future holds. They may speak to other experts to help clarify your need for future medical care.

Most car accident attorneys use calculations and graphs to demonstrate the amount of compensation you're entitled to for your future medical care and pain and suffering.

Non-Monetary Damages

Your car accident attorney will determine your damages before submitting a final demand in a car accident settlement. Every personal injury case is unique, but you could see a request for general damages, including:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment
  • Disfigurement or scarring

These types of damages are subjective. There is no rule or set price for how much a car accident injury can affect someone.

Your car accident case is unique. Your attorney will consider many factors, including the non-monetary damages you endured when negotiating a settlement amount.

Insurance Company Delays

It's normal to be anxious about getting your settlement. Chances are, if you contact the insurance company, they will say your claim is under review.

The larger the possible settlement, the longer the insurance company will attempt to delay payment. Their primary goal is to avoid paying large settlements.

On the other hand, the insurance company doesn't want negative publicity or a possible bad faith lawsuit. An experienced personal injury lawyer understands how insurance companies work and how to get them moving along to determine your settlement.

Once your attorney submits the settlement demands, many things can occur that lengthen the settlement process.

Some of these time delays include:

Demand for Proof of Damages

The insurance company will want your attorney to submit all your medical treatment records to help determine the damages you claim. This step can be a slow process and contributes to the length of time it takes to get your settlement.

Doubting Your Claim

The insurance company doesn't want to pay you a large settlement, so they may begin to whittle away at your attorney's demands. This is a common insurance company tactic.

An experienced car accident lawyer expects these types of tactics and will fight for you and the compensation you deserve.

Proving Liability

The process for determining liability can be difficult and can slow down your case. Your attorney will want to identify any parties that are liable in your accident case.

In most situations, the liable party is the at-fault driver. The most common type of liability is negligence.

Your attorney will work to prove the other driver was negligent. They can do this by demonstrating:

  • Each driver has a legal responsibility to keep passengers safe
  • A driver who acts carelessly by texting or speeding is negligent
  • The accident resulted in your injuries and/or property damage
  • The other driver's negligence was the cause of the accident

Your car accident lawyer will use a step-by-step method, beginning with the fact that the driver had a duty to drive responsibly. Your attorney will show how the driver's actions affected you.

For example, in a drunk driving case, the attorney will first prove that the driver's duty was to be sober while behind the wheel. Since the driver was not sober, this was the cause of the accident, injuries, and loss of the vehicle.

Your Lawyer Won't Cause Unnecessary Delays

After a car accident, people typically contact the insurance company first. Then, they may decide to contact a personal injury lawyer.

In many cases, the insurance company tells claimants that hiring a lawyer will slow down the claims process. This is not true.

Don't be fooled into thinking a personal injury lawyer will slow down your settlement. Insurance companies would prefer for you to represent yourself in a car accident case. Some reasons why include:

Understanding Personal Injury Law

Most people don't have the legal expertise to understand the ins and outs of personal injury law. These laws are complex, and insurance companies are at an advantage when you don't understand your rights.

They may try to get you to accept part or all of the blame for the accident when you're not at fault. This can lower your chances for a favorable settlement.

Feeling Stressed

The aftermath of an accident can be a difficult and stressful time. You may be dealing with mounting medical expenses and lost wages as you try to recover. Insurance companies understand that claimants often settle for less when they are stressed about money. Don't settle for less than you deserve.

If you're in this situation, contact a car accident attorney for advice and guidance. Remember, if you accept the insurance company's settlement offer, they are off the hook.

They are no longer responsible for paying additional money for any of your losses. This is something to keep in mind if your insurance company tells you your lawyer is taking too long.

Most personal injury lawyers do not get paid unless you do. They don't have anything to gain by dragging out the process.

What Types of Medical Bills Are Covered in a Car Accident Settlement?

Car accident settlements can cover a wide variety of medical expenses. Some of these expenses may include:

  • Emergency room visits
  • Ambulance services
  • Surgery
  • Doctor's appointments
  • Prescription medications
  • Diagnostic testing
  • Physical therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Mental health services
  • Follow-up medical appointments
  • Chiropractic care

A car accident settlement is payment for a claimant's damages and is intended to make the injured individual "whole" again. Medical expenses directly related to your accident should be included in your settlement.

Can I Receive Damages for Emotional Distress?

A car accident can be an overwhelming and traumatic experience. This is especially true if you're seriously injured in a crash.

Beyond physical injuries following an accident, you must consider emotional distress. This is often referred to as "pain and suffering," which also includes physical pain.

Emotional distress may include:

  • Anxiety
  • PTSD
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Psychological effects following the accident

Emotional distress isn't tangible, but it's a common result of a car accident. An experienced car accident lawyer can help you gather the evidence you need to support a claim of emotional distress.

What Is "Bodily Injury" in a Car Accident Claim?

Bodily injury typically refers to injury or physical harm suffered in a car accident. These injuries include:

  • Minor injuries such as cuts, abrasions, and bruises
  • Moderate injuries such as fractures or dislocations
  • Serious injuries such as traumatic brain injury or spinal cord injuries

Bodily Injury also refers to long-term or chronic conditions that occur due to an accident.

Can I Receive Compensation for Disfigurement After a Car Accident?

If you were in a car crash that resulted in a form of disfigurement, you can receive compensation for your injury. Disfigurement can affect you physically and emotionally.

It can hinder your future job prospects and your day-to-day life. You may be able to claim compensation for reconstructive or cosmetic surgeries or the psychological trauma associated with disfigurement.

How Do Policy Limits Impact My Settlement?

Your policy limit is the maximum amount the insurance company has to pay for a claim, as stated in the insurance policy. These limits can affect your car accident claim and limit the compensation you recover from the at-fault driver's insurance company.

If your damages are greater than the policy limits, your attorney will investigate other sources of compensation. They will check whether the at-fault driver carries umbrella insurance or other types of insurance on vehicles.

You can also pursue a claim against your insurance company for any difference in your damages and what your insurance will pay. If you need another avenue for compensation, you can pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver.

Can I Receive Compensation for Physical Therapy Expenses?

After a car accident, you may need ongoing physical therapy sessions. These costs can add up. The good news is physical therapy can be included in car accident settlements.

This may include:

  • Rehabilitation services for regaining strength and mobility
  • Ongoing physical therapy sessions for serious or permanent injuries
  • Follow-up physical therapy appointment to monitor your progress

Be sure to keep records of all your medical appointments, including physical therapy, to be sure these costs are accurately reflected in your accident claim.

What Are Punitive Damages in a Car Accident Claim?

Punitive damages are not rewarded in every accident case. They are reserved for cases where the at-fault party acted particularly egregious, intentional, or reckless.

Punitive damages are meant to punish the one at fault and deter others from acting in the same type of behavior in the future. Only certain cases qualify for punitive damages. These standards vary by jurisdiction.

How Is the Settlement Value Determined?

Many factors determine the settlement value of your car accident claim. These include:

  • The severity of your injury
  • The insurance company's policy limits
  • The degree of property damage involved
  • The specific jurisdiction laws
  • Type and amount of evidence
  • The attorney's negotiation skills

Although a personal injury lawyer cannot predict the exact amount of compensation you will receive, they may be able to offer an estimate based on the facts of your case.

Car Accident Injuries

Car accidents are an unfortunate and all too common fact of life. A car crash can be a traumatic experience and leave individuals with serious injury and emotional trauma.

Some common car accident injuries include:

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

Car accidents often lead to traumatic brain injuries. This occurs when the individual experiences a blow or injury to the head.

Each year over 50,000 people die from TBI. Thousands more suffer long-term disability due to their head injuries.

Spinal Cord Injuries

The force of a crash can lead to spinal cord injuries and long-term disability. Spinal cord damage can lead to partial or total paralysis.

People with spinal cord injuries often need ongoing care, surgery, and rehabilitation. These are often life-long injuries that significantly alter a person's life.

Back Injuries

The human spine isn't designed for heavy impact. Back and spine injuries are common results of car accidents.

Certain injuries, including back and neck injuries, may be delayed following a car accident. The pain and mobility issues from a serious back injury can be long-lasting and require ongoing therapy, medication, or surgery.


Crashed vehicles often become burning vehicles, leading to devastating injury or death. When a vehicle crashes and catches fire, steam, hot fluids, or harsh chemicals can come in contact with the skin and cause serious burns.

Very serious burns often require hospitalization, surgery, and skin grafting.

Internal Injuries

A crash is a traumatic event that often forces the body into an object. Glass and flying debris can lead to serious injury as well.

Damage to internal organs or internal bleeding is possible. This type of injury is serious and requires emergency medical treatment.

Broken Bones

Car accidents can lead to broken arms, legs, ankles, wrists, and ribs. Some serious accidents can result in a broken pelvis.

The severity of these injuries can range from mild fractures to serious compound fractures that require surgery.

Disfiguring Injuries and Scars

Facial injuries are common and can be caused by shattered glass, flying debris, or a sudden impact with a dash, steering wheel, airbag, windshield, or side window.

Disfiguring injuries may require surgery and can leave lasting physical and emotional scars.


A crash can lead to a severed finger, toe, arm, or leg. This can be severe enough to require amputation.

The loss of a limb is a permanent disability with a lifelong impact on the individual.

Other car crash injuries include:

  • Foot and ankle injuries
  • Knee injuries
  • Wrist and hand injuries
  • Bruises, lacerations, and road rash
  • Crush injuries
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Neck injuries and whiplash
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder

Should You Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer After an Accident?

Car accidents happen when you least expect it. Even the best drivers can have a car accident at any moment on the road.

Car accidents can be devastating and leave you struggling to recover from your injuries and pay your medical bills. A serious car wreck can lead to time away from work and a lifetime of health issues.

if you're dealing with the aftermath of an accident, you don't have to deal with the insurance company or the paperwork on your own. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you navigate the legal process and get the compensation you deserve.

Here's a look at why it's a good idea to enlist the help of a car accident attorney after a crash.

Investigates Your Crash

Personal injury cases can be complicated. To get compensation for your losses, you need evidence to prove your case.

You must show the other driver was responsible for the crash and your bodily harm, financial loss, and emotional turmoil. A car accident lawyer works with investigators to collect evidence such as eyewitness testimony, police reports, video footage, and more.

Once your car accident lawyer has the evidence they need to hold the other driver accountable, they can file an insurance claim to recover your losses.

Negotiates With Insurers

When you've been involved in a serious car accident, your world turns upside down. You may be trying to heal from your injuries and deal with the insurance company by yourself.

This just adds more stress to your life. An experienced and caring car accident lawyer can take on the insurance company for you. They are expert negotiators who understand the complexities of personal injury law.

If you deal with insurers on your own, it's highly unlikely you will get maximum compensation for your injuries. A car accident lawyer can negotiate with the most stubborn insurance adjuster.

A seasoned attorney will have many hours of negotiating experience under their belt and can protect your rights and ensure you receive every penny you deserve.

Meet Important Deadlines

With car accident cases, deadlines matter. Instead of worrying about deadlines and statutes of limitations, you can let your personal injury lawyer handle all the details for you.

They are aware of all the deadlines and can work quickly to make sure you have everything completed and submitted on time. If your claim is late, you're risking the compensation you need for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.

Forget about shuffling paperwork and worrying about the calendar. Hire a qualified car accident lawyer to handle your case from start to finish.

Determine the Damages You're Owed

Unless you're an expert in personal injury law, you may not be aware of the damages you could qualify for after a car accident. A personal injury lawyer can evaluate the impact your collision has made on every area of your life to determine which losses you can recover.

They will work to make sure you receive the maximum compensation for your damages, including:

Medical Costs

Car accident injuries can be minor, but sadly many are catastrophic. You may be dealing with bills for doctor's appointments, surgeries, tests, procedures, prescriptions, assistive devices, and more.

Your attorney can help you get the compensation you need to pay for your current and future medical costs associated with your injuries.

Lost Wages

If you're out of work due to your injuries, it can create a real hardship for you and your family. A personal injury lawyer can help you receive compensation for your time away from work so you can focus on recovery.

Decreased Earning Ability

A long-term injury can prevent someone from performing their normal job tasks. This could lead to an extended time away from work or even losing your job.

If you can't earn what you normally do due to your injuries, your car accident lawyer can fight to secure compensation to cover your decreased earning capacity.

Vehicle Repair Bills

After a car accident injury, you also have a damaged vehicle to consider. Be sure to collect any car repair bills to give to your attorney.

You may be able to recover your property damages or even get a new car if yours was totaled following your accident.

Pain and Suffering

The pain and suffering that comes after an accident are both physical and mental. Ongoing pain can make life difficult and everyday tasks impossible.

If you're dealing with significant physical pain or emotional suffering due to your accident, your car accident lawyer may be able to get you the compensation you deserve.

Pay Only When You Receive Your Settlement

Most car accident lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. That means they do not expect payment until you receive your settlement.

In most cases, you won't pay a retainer or out-of-pocket fees for your attorney's services. They will charge a fee contingent on the completion of your case.

The contingency fee is part of your car accident settlement or jury verdict. In exchange for their legal services, most personal injury attorneys take about 30% of your settlement amount.

This is in exchange for their service and expertise. If your claim is denied, you don't owe your attorney anything. Typically, there is no fee unless you win your car accident case.

When Can You Expect Your Car Accident Settlement?

Car accident settlements don't happen overnight. They can take time for a variety of reasons. In most cases, your personal injury lawyer is not the cause of the delay.

They are working on your behalf to get you the full compensation you deserve for your injuries and losses. On average, a car accident settlement takes six to nine months to settle. Some cases may go to court and take much longer to finalize.

Most accident cases are settled out of court. It's important to let your car accident lawyer lead the way and fight for your right to fair compensation.

Find the Right Car Accident Attorney for You

The aftermath of a serious car accident is stressful, and you may wonder which way to turn. If you're asking 'Why is my car accident settlement taking so long?', there could be a variety of reasons for the delay.

Car accident cases take time. You have to reach maximum recovery and have the documentation you need to prove your case. An experienced car accident lawyer can help you understand your rights and get the compensation you're entitled to.

At Roberts Lambert, we know how difficult it can be for someone injured in an accident to deal with the insurance company and wait for their settlement to come in.

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