When we’re in a car accident due to someone else’s negligence (perhaps they were driving drunk or texting while driving), most of us understand that we can file a personal injury lawsuit against that person to pay for the damages to our property and any injuries we may have suffered. Once that lawsuit is filed, then you should be getting the compensation you deserve, right? It may not be that simple.
The legal process can be a complex and lengthy one, even if the case never goes to trial. Your attorney and the at fault driver’s attorney will likely go back and forth, as well as correspondence between insurance companies. Not only that, correspondence and documents between parties may be delayed, mail could be lost, and so forth. So while filing just a claim may seem like the quickest way to settle things, in reality, it may take longer than you think.
Why does it take so much time to settle?
Some car accident settlements are quicker than others. It depends on the complexity of the case. If you were in a multiple car accident, it will likely take longer due to determining who was at fault, and possibly dealing with multiple insurance companies that are all looking to deny their insured client’s liability.
Other reasons a settlement can be complex is due to schedules and correspondence times. This is unfortunately one of the main reasons that cases can take as long as they do to be settled. Waiting for insurance companies to respond to your claim, for the correct parties to respond to your lawyer, your lawyer waiting for the court’s schedule to allow for litigation, and so on. Everything takes time. Everyone has a different schedule, different lives, and the respondent’s insurance company’s desire to delay the proceedings as much as possible. (But we’ll get to that.)
Unless there is no doubt as to who caused the accident, your Sevierville attorney must investigate the accident to prove the at-fault party. This means that gathering evidence is crucial. From police reports and body camera footage, to medical reports from the physicians and surgeons that treated your injuries, to the bills from your auto repair shop, to pictures of the accident, there are many different sources where you and your car accident lawyer can gather documentation and evidence to submit to strengthen your claim. These are vital in proving to insurance companies that they have to pay up, but it can take time to gather as much evidence as you need.
Determining the compensation to which you are entitled – from damages to your property to your bodily injuries – can cause the process to slow down as well. In order to determine how much should be paid for the damage to or loss of your vehicle, you may have to wait for your insurance company to respond to you or your body shop to bill you. When it comes to your physical health, your doctor needs to offer a report or documentation about the extent of your injuries, and that there is no further medical treatment to improve your condition. Due to the medical community favoring conservative treatment measures like physical therapy, it is not uncommon for auto accident victims to treat for a year or more.
One of the more common reasons why settlements can take some time is the respondent’s insurance company dragging their feet. They do this because the longer the settlement lasts, the more time they have to build up a defense for their client. This is common, especially if they believe the potential settlement is going to be high. They may do this by extending deadlines, taking their time with correspondence, and filing motions. This is why having a car accident lawyer on your side is beneficial. Lawyers know to look out for these tactics, and they know how to respond to them.
Insurance companies are businesses
Just like most businesses, insurance companies are in the business of making money. If you ever get into an accident, all that money you have been paying them every month for however many years is supposed to protect you from having to lose that money yourself.
This also means that if you are the complainant, waiting for the respondent’s insurance to pay you, you may be waiting a while. A business doesn’t want to “lose” money, even though the point of insurance companies is to pay out money when it is needed. These companies will do everything within their legal capabilities to find a way out of paying. They will look for evidence that might suggest their insured isn’t at fault, they might blame that you had something to do with causing the accident, they may even try to downplay the injuries you sustained by saying that you had a preexisting condition that cannot be blamed on the accident, and therefore are not responsible for.
A Sevierville car accident attorney knows the tactics these companies use in order to prolong and possibly hurt your personal injury claim. In such legal proceedings, it is exceptionally beneficial for you to have someone not only knowledgeable of the legal process, but also experienced in dealing with insurance companies.
The team at Delius & McKenzie, PLLC will fight for your compensation, and we will do everything we can to make the process as painless and as quick as possible, all while ensuring that you do not settle for anything less than you deserve. Please call or fill out our contact form to set up an appointment with one of our attorneys. Our firm has served clients in and around Sevierville, Seymour, Gatlinburg, and Pigeon Forge for over two decades.
Attorney Bryan E. Delius was born and raised in Sevier County, TN. He founded Delius & McKenzie more than 20 years ago, after receiving his JD from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. He is admitted in Tennessee and in several federal court systems. Learn more about Bryan E. Delius.