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Why Car Accident Settlements Can Take So Long

Written by James J. Kirshbaum. Posted in .

After you suffer a serious injury in a car accident, all you want to do is get the money you deserve so you can focus on recovering from your injuries and get your life back. That gets very difficult when the insurance company fights you every step of the way. You are facing expensive medical treatment, and the settlement they are trying to make you sign off on will not even cover medication. You have filed all the forms and reports they demanded, but you still have not heard anything back about when your insurance claim settlement check might arrive.

There could be many reasons why the insurance company is moving so slowly or delaying your settlement. In the end, insurance adjusters are nobody’s friend, and your best bet is to seek representation from an experienced car accident attorney like those from Kirshbaum Injury Law. Our law firm will advocate on your behalf and push to get the fair settlement and fair compensation you deserve.

What Is the Settlement Process for a Minnesota Car Accident Claim?

Minnesota is a no-fault state for car accident lawsuits. This means auto accident victims here must file their claim with their own insurance company, which begins the settlement process pending any potential lawsuit against the at-fault driver or liable party or parties. Your insurance company then investigates and determines whether your claim is settled or denied. If the settlement is accepted, you will receive a settlement offer.

You can sign off on this offer, but often it will be a very low settlement amount and won’t begin to cover your property damage and medical bills. No matter what they tell you, and no matter how much they threaten you or try to use your insurance policy against you, it is a bad idea to sign off on this initial payout offer. So long as you do not accept it, the offer can be challenged.

Conditions to File a Car Accident Personal Injury Lawsuit

You can only file a lawsuit against the other party’s insurance company in Minnesota if you meet certain requirements under state law. These include exceeding $4,000 in medical expenses not including diagnostic testing (MRI Scan, X-Ray, etc…) disfigurement (scars), permanent injury after maximum medical improvement or 60 days of disability resulting from the accident.

It’s important to get this all sorted quickly, as Minnesota has a statute of limitations of six years after the car crash to file your car accident lawsuit. For this reason, the sooner you file your suit, the better chance you have of getting full and fair compensation for the injuries you’ve suffered, from medical care to pain and suffering and beyond.

The Process of Settlement

Settling your motor vehicle accident lawsuit begins when you seek a free consultation from a qualified personal injury law firm. Your personal injury attorneys will review your case and provide you with advice on how to proceed. Next, your lawyer will build a case using your medical records, any police report from the scene that you have filed, and other evidence to build a strong argument that your personal injury claim is valid and you deserve maximum compensation. In some cases, depositions from witnesses can form part of the case.

Your personal injury lawyer will then issue a demand letter to the insurance company outlining the injuries you’ve suffered and exactly why your case is worth what you are demanding. The other side will then issue a response letter picking apart the demand, and countering with a lowball offer. From there, a back-and-forth process of negotiation takes place until both sides reach a middle point that satisfies everyone.

Getting to this middle point in a personal injury lawsuit, however, can take some time to accomplish and requires knowledgeable representation from a Minnesota personal injury lawyer who knows how to fight back against insurance companies. Contact an experienced lawyer at Kirshbaum Injury Law at (952) 545-2700 or through our contact form today to get a free consultation.

What Is the Average Amount of Time for a Car Accident Settlement in Minnesota?

No two personal injury cases are the same, and every personal injury lawsuit has its own unique issues to deal with. Because of this, every claim process takes a different amount of time. It depends on external factors from the existence of police and witness reports to detailed documentation of medical issues or property damage. The insurance company has a great deal to do with things as well. In the best of all cases, your provider reviews your insurance policy, agrees to your claim, and issues an acceptable check. The process in this case can take as little as a few weeks.

Unfortunately, cases rarely proceed this way, and insurance settlements can often take years to resolve. The worst-case scenario involves a court fight for your rights, though most cases do settle out of court because going to court is not in anyone’s best interests.

What is important, however, is that sometimes it can take from months to years to settle. In the meantime, your car accident personal injury lawyer is your greatest ally in your fight for compensation. Your attorney will be a kind and compassionate ear when you need it. They will give you legal advice and guidance and may be able to help you with resources to cover your medical costs and lost wages while they fight for you. Your lawyer will always keep you apprised of the status and keep you as involved as you like. They can take on the fight for payout while you focus on the fight to get well again.

What Are the Most Common Reasons for Delays in Minnesota Car Accident Claims?

There are many reasons why car accident claims might be delayed. These include:

  • Maximum medical improvement
  • High claim value
  • Insurance company delays
  • Legal representation
  • Issues of fault
  • Limits on insurance policies

Maximum Medical Improvement

Sometimes, to reach the proper settlement, it becomes necessary to wait until you reach a point of maximum medical improvement. This means you have hit a place where you are well again or where you won’t get any better. Reaching this point helps to put a cap on how much your medical bills will cost in total.

High Claim Value

If your claim has a particularly high value, it is likely the other side will fight much harder to significantly lower it. This can drag out negotiations. Some of the highest-value claims do end up having to go to court because insurance companies just don’t want to pay out the full value. Still, it’s often worth the fight and delays to get to the end.

Insurance Company Delays

Insurance companies will often try to drag out settlements. They hope that either the statute of limitations will run out so they do not have to pay, or that you will get tired of the fight and simply accept whatever they put on the table. Sadly, both scenarios do occur frequently. That’s why it’s important to have an experienced Minnesota car accident attorney in your corner.

Legal Representation

Legal representation on both sides can extend a settlement negotiation. This is because attorneys always want to represent the best interests of their clients, which can lead to one or both sides refusing to give ground on one or more issues. When this happens, other avenues include mediation and arbitration, or even a full court trial.

Fault Disputes

Sometimes, as in a truck accident, multiple parties may hold some blame for the accident, meaning multiple providers may come into play. This situation can drag out settlement negotiations as many different entities try to shift the blame on each other.

Minnesota is also a modified comparative fault state for personal injury lawsuits. What this means is if you hold any fault, your settlement will be reduced by a like amount. Thus, if your settlement is worth $200,000 and you are 25% responsible, you can only be awarded $150,000. Worse, if you are 51% or more responsible, you cannot get an award at all. That makes it essential for your car accident attorney to build an iron-clad case to prove you did not cause the accident.

Insurance Policy Limits

Insurance policy limits are a major factor in these cases. If the at-fault party’s insurance has a $100,000 limit and your case is worth $200,000, they will only pay up to the limit. The other party is technically still on the hook for the rest, but if they don’t have it to pay, you may never see it. Finding ways to get around policy limits can be time-consuming.

What Is the Impact of Settling a Car Accident Case Early?

Insurance companies want you to settle early. An early settlement usually means you signed off on one of the lowball offers they tendered. They depend on your extreme, immediate need to lead you to accept less money than you deserve. In the end, however, this short-term solution can leave you out in the cold as the medical bills continue to pile up. Don’t give in early. Instead, contact Kirshbaum Injury Law for a free case review at (952) 545-2700, or complete our contact form today and find out what your case might really be worth.

Why Involve a Car Accident Lawyer in Minnesota?

Legal representation helps make sure you have someone who will fight to see that your rights are protected. A lawyer will treat you fairly and work doggedly to get the money you deserve. The insurance companies have lawyers working for them. Why not have someone in your corner who knows the law just as well to fight back? A personal injury lawyer versed in car accidents might be the best call you make.

Don’t Settle for Less Than You Deserve

If you’ve been hurt in an accident and your insurance company is dragging on the settlement, do not forego legal representation. Legal help is only a phone call away. Contact Kirshbaum Injury Law today by calling (952) 545-2700 or by filling out our easy online contact form to get your free case evaluation with no disclaimer and no obligation. Let us fight for the compensation you deserve.

James J. Kirshbaum

Written By James J. Kirshbaum

Jim is a very experienced trial lawyer having conducted jury trials in multiple states both on behalf of injured people and on behalf of defending insurance companies.

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