You were seriously injured in a car crash that was not your fault. You have sought the legal assistance of Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys and are wondering how long it will take to get your financial settlement. Unfortunately, the best answer to that question is, “It depends.” Here, we go through some of the factors that will determine how long your car accident claim will take to reach a conclusion. The outcome of a personal injury case is determined either by an out-of-court settlement or by a trial, but either way, it can be a long process.
Most Attorneys Avoid Going to Trial
The large majority of motor vehicle accident disputes do not go to trial, so when a claim is taking a long time, it’s not usually because of anything to do with the court system, which many people believe. No one involved in a car accident claim wants to go to trial.
This is primarily for the following three reasons:
- Juries are unpredictable. When it comes to personal injury cases, juries have a hard time being objective. They may relate to one party over the other or they may be unsympathetic to either party if they have been involved in car accidents themselves. No attorney wants to leave their client’s chances up to the whim of a jury.
- Attorneys know what your case is worth. Insurance adjusters and personal injury attorneys know the value of a particular case. Given their experience with similar injuries and the cost of medical treatment, they can usually determine a fair value for your case without a court’s input.
- It’s not worth the cost. Court proceedings are expensive and most attorneys are not willing to trade off the up-front costs of a trial over what they can negotiate in a settlement.
The most common reason these cases go to trial is that one of the parties involved simply will not agree to the terms being offered in a settlement. If one side won’t budge, a trial is the only way out. While the time a trial will take varies from case to case, you can expect a personal injury trial to take at least a year from the date of the accident to the conclusion of the trial.
Issues That Can Drag a Case Out
Even when you and your experienced personal injury attorney have decided to settle your case out of court, you can be looking at a lengthy process. Accidents take time to investigate, medical treatments take time to complete, and insurance companies are not eager to part with their money. Given all of this, it can take months or even years for accident claims to settle. Cases are often extended due to the following types of problems:
- Factual problems with your case. If it is difficult to prove that the other driver was 100% at fault in the accident, your attorney may need more time to investigate what happened in the accident and prove that the other driver is liable. If the insurer does not accept the evidence, your attorney may need to file suit and go to trial.
- The case has the potential for a big payout. If your injuries are severe, possibly involving lifelong disability, your settlement could be quite large. No insurance company will hand over large sums of money without a fight. They may also delay knowing you are desperate for the money in hopes that you will settle for less.
- You are still recovering from your injuries. Until you reach maximum medical improvement (MMI), your attorney can’t know how much your case is really worth. If your injuries are severe, this could take months or years. Your attorney will not want to make a claim until he knows the full extent of your injuries, your long-term prognosis, and need for ongoing care.
Rest assured that your attorney is doing all he can to get you the maximum possible settlement in the shortest amount of time. Sometimes this requires a great deal of patience. Delays may be tactics from the opposing side, but they also may be your own attorney’s need to build a solid case and determine how much money you will need to pay for your medical bills, long-term care, and lost wages.
You Can Trust Our Experience Handling Car Accident Cases
At Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys, we always have the best interests of our clients in mind as we pursue cases. We will keep you informed throughout and make sure you understand what is taking time. No two cases are ever exactly alike, but our dedication to reaching a positive outcome is the same for every client. Our main office is conveniently located in Kansas City, but we also have offices in Overland Park, Lee's Summit, and Parkville. Contact us online or call us directly at 816.471.5111.