Why is My Personal Injury Claim Taking So Long? | Staver
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Why is My Personal Injury Claim Taking So Long?

Written by Jared Staver

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Jared Staver is a Personal Injury Lawyer based in Chicago, Illinois and has been practicing law for over 20 years.

Jared Staver

CATEGORY: Insurance, Personal Injury

After an accident, you could be facing financial challenges. No matter if it was a car accident or something like a slip-and-fall, odds are you haven’t been able to return to work while your medical bills and other expenses have continued to pile up. If someone else’s negligent actions caused your injuries, you can reasonably expect your personal injury insurance claim to help you fight the costs caused by the at-fault party.

It’s not that simple. And although claims can take times to process, you may experience further delays when trying for a settlement to help you recover after an accident. Learn more about what could hamper your efforts at closing a personal injury claim.

The Timeline of a Personal Injury Claim

Understanding how a typical personal injury claim should work can help you identify if something feels “off” during your own process. Each case is unique, and your circumstances might affect the process a little differently.

If you’ve been hurt in an accident, you can start your claim by:

  • Getting Medical Treatment
  • Consult a Lawyer
  • Investigate Your Accident
  • File a Claim or Lawsuit
  • Review Evidence from Discovery
  • Begin Settlement Negotiations
  • Go to Trial
  • Resolve Claim

Your case could be different from someone else’s, but these are the typical steps in an insurance claim lawsuit. You might not need to go to trial, but if a settlement is taking longer than usual, or the at-fault party’s insurer is offering a lowball settlement, you might need to file a lawsuit.

What Would Delay a Personal Injury Claim?

Insurance claims are complicated. You must identify the at-fault parties, send a demand letter to their insurers, and then prepare for negotiations. It might seem straightforward, but you could experience delays at different steps of the process.

Calculating an Accurate Claim

After an accident, you need to ensure all your damages are covered. Some are more obvious than others, like your medical bills or any repairs to damaged property. You also need to consider how your life has been impacted. If you’re gravely injured, you could miss work for a lengthy period. Under Illinois personal injury law, you are entitled to compensation for lost wages.

Some damages have a “non-economic” impact, which are losses caused by the injuries and damages you experienced. If you can’t work, for instance, you might feel anxiety or anguish, even panic about your future. You could be entitled to compensation for the mental suffering your accident has caused.

Your attorney will need to calculate all your losses before you submit your demand letter to the insurance company. You need to account for all of your losses. You don’t want to rush a claim because you need money quickly.

Factual Disputes About Your Accident

Whenever someone is bringing an insurance claim against another person, they’re accusing that person of negligence. Because the defendant caused the accident, their insurance should pay for the victim’s damages. Insurance companies, even though they’re advertised as being helpful, don’t like paying large settlements for every claim that comes to them.

An insurance company will dispute your claim, even if you feel your case is cut and dry. An insurer is likely to accuse you of sharing fault for the accident or question if your injuries are even related to the accident at all. If they can show your damages aren’t a result of the accident at hand, they can reduce your payout or not pay you anything.

Case Complexity

Proving someone was at-fault for your damages can be challenging when there is more than one party responsible for your damages. For instance, large commercial vehicles could have several culpable people involved in your accident: the driver, their employer, a parts manufacturer, or even the maintenance supervisor.

Your lawyer will need to evaluate your case’s details and assign fault accordingly. Depending on your circumstances, that investigation could take months.

You’re Still Receiving Treatment

Your attorney might advise you to wait to sign a settlement offer while you wait for an accurate damage claim. This is especially true if you’re still being treated for your injuries. Your lawyer will be waiting for “maximum medical improvement.” This is when you’re completely recovered, or your condition has stabilized.

If you’ve reached MMI, your attorney will likely understand the extent of your injuries and what future care you’ll need. You’ll have a better idea of how much compensation you should receive after an accident.

Insurance Company Bad Faith Tactics

After an accident, it’s likely you’re depending on an insurance settlement to cover your damages and help you financially recover. Insurance companies understand this, and some might use that to their advantage. These bad-faith tactics might include denying liability or offering you a claim without investigating the crash for an accurate damage total.

They might intentionally delay the claims process, hoping to drive you to accept a lower offer than what you need. They know you’re in a difficult financial situation. If they can get you desperate enough, they might feel confident that you’ll cut your losses and accept any claim they offer.

Call a Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer

You’re allowed to file a personal injury claim without the assistance of an attorney. However, you stand a better chance of getting the compensation you deserve in a reasonable timeline if you hire legal representation. Personal injury is complex, and finding someone who can help you with the legal issues and calculations is critical to getting the money you deserve after someone’s negligence hurts you.

A lawyer will recognize lowball settlement offers, when an insurance company is stalling, and be able to determine an accurate total for your losses after an injury. Your attorney should view your case as more than just a payout, but recognize that you and your loved ones are suffering because of your injuries. Find a Chicago personal injury lawyer who will fight for you.

Talk to Staver Today

Dealing with an insurance company after an injury accident can be daunting. After all, they’ve got resources and bureaucracy on their side. They might try to wait you out or deny your claim altogether. Finding a lawyer in Chicago can help you improve your odds. The Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. are ready to hear your case and fight for fair compensation after an accident.

We know that getting a straight answer from an insurance company is challenging. Our team is experienced and knowledgeable in Illinois personal injury laws, and we know you’re depending on a settlement to make your life right after a serious injury. Let us help you.

Call (312) 236-2900 or use our online form to schedule your free consultation.

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(312) 236-2900
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