What Should I Do if My Car Accident Attorney Is Taking Too Long to Get Me a Settlement?
Since you talked to an attorney about your car accident, you’ve become disheartened. It’s taking too long. You thought you’d have money in hand by now. If you think your car accident attorney is taking too long, consider these factors before you act out of frustration.
Make Sure Your Expectations Are Realistic
One of the biggest areas of confusion is how long a personal injury case will take. While some people are hesitant to contact a car accident attorney because they fear it will take months or years to settle. That can be true, but it doesn’t have to be. Some complaints are resolved in a much shorter time. That doesn’t mean your case will be easy to settle.
If it’s been a month and you’re frustrated, we understand when finances make the matter urgent. There can be delays that are beyond your attorney’s control. The insurance company may be arguing that you were at fault or partially at fault and therefore entitled to nothing. Your lawyer may be taking extra time to talk to witnesses and review every possible video of the accident scene to prove your innocence.
You may not have reached your Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI). MMI is important as it’s the term used by doctors to say you’ve healed as fully as is possible given your injuries. Until you’re fully recovered, it’s hard to predict exactly what your medical expenses and loss of work will total.
If the doctor who examined/treated you after the accident is hesitant to say your injuries were absolutely caused by the car crash and not something that happened after the fact, it will slow your case down. Your lawyer needs time to find a doctor who can definitively say the accident is the reason you were injured.
Asking for a large sum of money is another reason your case may be taking extra time. If you’re asking for a lot of money, the insurance company wants undeniable proof that your injuries were that severe. They want proof that you have strong evidence against their client that guarantees a win. They also will want time to search for any evidence of wrongdoing on your part or credibility issues with your version of the accident.
How Long Should It Take?
It’s hard to give an estimate of how long a personal injury case takes. There are underlying factors that help determine the amount of time. One is your injuries and the amount of damage to your vehicle and personal property. That all has to be estimated, which can take weeks. The insurance adjuster may need to submit the estimate to upper management for approval.
Once that estimate is given, a personal claims attorney may want to talk to the insurance company as the settlement offer is too low. There can be back and forth calls to reach a settlement. The settlement offer may never be good enough and get delayed further while waiting for court dates and hearings.
The reality is that some car accident cases are resolved in a few months. Others can take two or three years to resolve. You need to stay in touch with your attorney and make sure you’re being updated on where things stand. If there’s a chance you could speed things up by providing additional information, it’s worth the discussion before you give up and switch to a new lawyer.
Steps to Take if You Switch Attorneys
If you do decide you need to change your car accident attorney, carefully read the contract you signed. You may be responsible for the attorney fees for work that was done to this point. Most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, which means they only get paid if they win your case. If you fire them before they have had a chance to do so, you may have to pay for services to that point.
Type up and send a certified letter to the attorney letting that law firm know you’re switching to a new lawyer. Hire the second attorney before sending this letter as a precaution. Pay any fees that are due so that the new attorney will be sent your case file.
Know that the car accident attorneys at Carpenter & Zuckerman handle tough cases. With multiple offices in California and one in Las Vegas, Nevada, choose an office close to you. You’ll have a car accident attorney with the experience and winning record that you deserve. Request a free consultation by calling the phone number listed below or filling out our online form.
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