Personal injury claims are not equal in the amount of time it takes to process and finalize a claim. Injury cases can often be complicated issues that are defended strongly by the respondent insurance companies, and many times even getting benefits started can be difficult. This can be very frustrating for a seriously injured claimant, as physical rehabilitation should be the first priority for the plaintiff. But, insurance companies are not as concerned about the well being of the claimant as they may present because the ultimate priority of the adjuster is to get the claim either settled quickly for a short settlement amount or wait the claimant out when they hire an attorney in an effort to lessen the claim value. Regardless of the situation, it usually takes a significant amount of time to reach an agreement with the responsible insurance company concerning personal injury settlements, including your own insurance company in some instances. When personal injury cases take a long time to settle, there are usually some similar elements of each case.
Delay by Claim Denial
Certain insurance companies have a general policy of looking for a reason to deny a claim on the initial application. This can be an indication of how difficult they will be to deal with and potentially how long the claim will take to settle. In addition, the companies that tend to use initial denial in almost all claims are the big box insurance companies that we are all know through advertising campaigns. This usually occurs when the adjusters think they can reasonably argue they have no liability because the plaintiff also contributed to the accident. However, in certain jurisdictions, like the state of New York, pure comparative fault law is in use, meaning that even an injured party who is 99% at fault for an accident can still receive 1% of benefits allowable. But, if the insurance company thinks they have a reasonable chance at an elevated comparative negligence rating for the plaintiff, they will often opt for setting a court date, which could also delay a settlement even more.
Delay by Stalling Benefit Payments
Even in obvious cases insurance companies will be meticulous in requiring information associated with each item of a personal injury claim. While physical property damage may be settled rather quickly, personal injury can be much different because the insurance company almost always wants a full release from further medical coverage, which will ultimately and hopefully end the case for the company. Always remember that the priority for insurance adjusters is profit for the company and protection for the client, even when they intend to drop their coverage because of the accident.
Delay Because of Factual Problems with Your Case
Many times personal injury claims can also have problems with material case facts. The defending insurance company has the legal right to investigate any claim that is presented for payment, and many times this is utilized to buy even more delay time in hopes the court will dismiss the case or the claimant will accept a much lower offer, sometimes as low as 5-10%. This could be considered bad faith in some cases, but any time the insurance adjuster can reasonably assert that specific facts in a claim are inaccurate, the potential for the company requesting a trial date exists. Of course, getting a case into actual court is another delay within itself because of caseload, which is a natural obstacle to a quick and equitable settlement.
Delay Due to Slow Physical Recovery
Cases that are filed by those who are permanently injured will often also go to a full trial phase if the insurance company thinks there is little chance of punitive damage awards from a jury. But, many times the plaintiff attorney will still want ongoing medical as a component of the settlement, which the insurance company will not want. When there is a reasonable defense from the insurance company that the plaintiff is not fully recovered, a delay in payment can be reasonably justified. This further slows down the process of being compensated for your injuries regardless of the severity of need for the injured plaintiff. Insurance companies know this, and once again delay becomes a tactic that they still use with reasonable chance of no punishment while forcing a short settlement once again.
If you or a loved one have been involved in an accident, don’t go it alone. The lawyers at the Lamber Goodnow personal injury law team and the lawyers at our partner firms have helped obtain just compensation for victims with a variety of injuries. Our Chicago personal injury lawyers never charge a fee, unless we win your case. Get a risk free consultation today.