Why Is My Accident Settlement Taking So Long?

When you’re an accident victim, and someone else is at fault, you can seek compensation for your losses in a personal injury claim. However, getting a settlement takes time with at least one or more insurance companies involved.

Learn below about why accident settlements may take longer than we like.

Have a local personal injury attorney review your case without charge if you have detailed questions.

What Cases Do Personal Injury Attorneys Handle?

Legal expertise required for handling personal injury cases

When another party’s negligence harms you. You can file a claim and receive compensation.

Common damages in accidents caused by others include medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, property damages, and mental trauma. Personal injury attorneys handle most accidents caused by another person’s or party’s negligence.

The most common accidents handled by personal injury lawyers are:

  • Car accidents: These are the most common reasons people are hurt every day in the US. They usually happen because someone is violating the law and the duty of care, which makes them liable for damages. After being hit by another vehicle, you can try to settle the claim with the other party’s insurance company. If they don’t offer enough money, you can file a lawsuit.
  • Truck accidents: A car accident is bad enough, but a collision with a massive commercial semi-truck can result in far more severe injuries and losses, and truck accident claims require a technical and complex understanding of the law. You need a lawyer with experience and resources to handle your truck accident case.
  • Job-related injuries: Employers must provide a safe workplace, but not all do. Regardless of fault, you can be entitled to workers’ compensation when hurt. You usually cannot sue your employer in most job-related accidents. However, you may sue a third party that caused your injury, such as an equipment manufacturer. Construction sites are particularly common work environments for job-related injuries that might result in third-party claims.
  • Product defects: If a defective product injures you, filing a product liability claim or lawsuit is possible. Most product liability claims are strict liability, meaning the victim doesn’t have to prove that another party caused the injury. Your attorney must prove the product was defective and you suffered an injury.
  • Slip and fall: A slip and fall accident is a premises liability claim. Property owners, both commercial and residential, just keep their premises safe. You can hold the property owner liable if you slip, fall, and injure yourself. Common reasons for slip and fall claims are wet floors, ice and snow in parking lots and on sidewalks, loose or non-existent handrails, swimming pool-related accidents, etc. Insurance settlements handle most slip-and-fall accidents.

Anyone injured through another person’s negligence should speak to a personal injury attorney for a complimentary consultation. The lawyer will review your case for free and only take a case that likely leads to compensation. They receive payment through a contingency fee.

Factors Affecting Accident Settlement Timeline

If you were in a recent accident and waiting for an accident settlement, it’s understandable to get impatient. You might call your personal injury attorney regularly to see what is taking so long.

It isn’t your attorney’s fault if a personal injury claim takes longer than you like. Research shows that many auto accident settlements take at least six to nine months. Resolving the claim can take longer if serious injuries and a trial occur.

Insurance adjusters know you are probably waiting for money from the settlement to get your life back on track. They may use delaying tactics as a negotiating tool to encourage you to accept less money than you deserve.

Some of the factors that may extend the timeline for your settlement are:

Ongoing Medical Treatments

Maximizing your personal injury claim involves reaching MMI or maximum medical improvement before resolving the case. Until you reach the maximum physical recovery, the full extent of your damages is unknown.

MMI doesn’t mean you are back to 100 percent as you were before the incident. It means your health is as good as it will get after the crash. It can take several months and tens of thousands of medical bills before you reach MMI.

If you settle too quickly, more medical bills can come in after you receive your check, and you won’t have enough money. You cannot go back and request additional compensation because your settlement was insufficient.

Severe Injuries

Many accident settlements take longer when there are serious injuries. These are complex injuries that may require years of recovery and therapy. Common serious injuries that lead to longer case times are crushing injuries, traumatic brain injuries, limb loss, paralysis and other permanent disabilities, and mental health issues, such as PTSD.

Gathering Medical Bills And Documents

After your medical treatments, you and your attorney must collect all bills and records to prove your treatments and injuries. You must prove that the other person injured you and you have injuries and damages.

The other party’s insurance company will not take your word for it. Their goal is to always pay you as little as they can. But you can prove you have injuries, lost earnings, and pain and suffering by collecting all relevant documents, bills, and medical records. Many think collecting this information from multiple sources is just a few phone calls or clicks on a browser.

However, many medical facilities are large, and there is often a large records department with a long line of people waiting for records. All medical record requests require the person’s authorization, which may restrict the information one can share. Some medical facilities can have requests backlogged for a month or more.

Your attorney is familiar with the complexity and number of document requests that may be needed. They will do what they can to speed up the process, but at the end of the day, they are also at the mercy of the records department at that particular facility.

Number Of Drivers

Accidents with more drivers and involved vehicles take longer to resolve than two-vehicle accidents. Suppose a driver on the highway rear-ends the vehicle in front of it. Then, that vehicle hits another, then another, and finally, your car is rear-ended. Four cars and four drivers are involved in the crash, and at least three or four insurance policies. Resolving a complicated crash like this will probably take months longer than a conventional car accident.


After your attorney has the information to write and send an initial demand letter, you must give the insurance company time to respond. It must review their bills and records and determine liability. Then, they will decide on a range of settlement offers and send their initial offer.

How long insurance settlement negotiations take depends on many factors, including the severity and complexity of your injuries.

For example, the insurance company might take a month to review a rear-end crash with whiplash and lower back injuries. However, a serious front-end crash involving multiple drivers can take three or six months to determine.

The insurance company may also need more information to determine their settlement offer. They may need previous medical records, for example. But sometimes, the requests for additional information are a stalling tactic. It’s up to your personal injury attorney to determine if providing more information will help negotiations.

Most personal injury claims, such as auto accidents, are resolved during settlement negotiations. It often benefits both sides to resolve the case before a trial. Lawsuits take time and money, but the court may be necessary if the insurance company makes low offers.

If it goes to court, it extends the timeline. Getting the case on the court calendar can add months to the process.

Going To Trial

Out-of-court settlements resolve most accident claims. But sometimes, the plaintiff and defendant cannot resolve it with settlement negotiations. Perhaps you have severe injuries and want more compensation, but the insurance company won’t budge more than their initial offer. In this case, going to trial may be needed to receive financial justice.

Taking a case to court will always take longer than a settlement. First, scheduling the case is necessary, and if the court has a full docket, obtaining a court date can take months. Both sides also need time to collect evidence, file court papers, do investigations and discovery, and prepare for the trial.

After retaining a personal injury lawyer, your attorney will review the factors and complexity of your case. They can usually provide a rough guideline for how long the case will take. They are probably familiar with local courts and judges, too, so if the case goes to trial, your attorney’s advice on timelines is also useful.

How to Get More for Your Accident Settlement Claim

Personal Injury Claim Form

Now that you understand the factors that affect your settlement timeline learn about how to get more money in your settlement:

  • Preserve accident evidence: Your attorney will collect essential evidence for your claim, but you can help by turning over any evidence you have. In a car accident, it’s especially helpful to have pictures and videos in the minutes after the accident. The police will move the cars eventually, which may be before your attorney gets involved.
  • Get immediate medical care: You should get medical attention the same day, whether you think you are hurt or not. If you delay seeing the doctor, the injury can worsen, but the at-fault driver’s insurance may claim you have a pre-existing condition. A doctor will document your injuries and note they are from an accident.
  • Follow your treatment plan: Going to the doctor immediately is important, but so is following your treatment plan. You may receive instructions to return to the doctor or a healthcare provider several times for extended treatments. Be sure to attend every appointment or reschedule them quickly if you can’t make it. The insurance company will check that you are following your treatment plan.
  • Keep all bills and receipts. Ensure you retain all of your receipts and bills related to the accident. You should keep medical bills, car repair bills and estimates, prescription drug bills, and proof of loss of income. The more documentation you have showing the financial impact of the accident, the better. Provide all of your collected documentation to your attorney.
  • Keep the accident report: Ask the police officer for a copy of your accident report. You should verify that the report reflects how the accident happened. If your version differs from the other drivers, you can get less money for your claim.
  • Consider future costs: A common error in accident settlements is not fully considering future expenses related to the accident. Whether it’s lost work for months or long-term medical expenses, it’s important to account for them. One of your attorney’s biggest tasks is properly estimating your future accident-related expenses and damages. A non-attorney may not arrive at a fair number independently.
  • Don’t talk about your case: Whether at the accident scene or online later, talk about the incident as little as possible. Only your attorney and close family members should know the case details. Anything you tell others or post online can affect you during settlement negotiations. You should also refrain from posting on social media until the case concludes. The insurance company will hunt for things to use against you that can result in less compensation.
  • Hire a personal injury attorney: Personal injury lawyers have training and experience in various accident claims, including car and truck accidents, premises liability cases, slip and fall, and product defects. Hiring an experienced lawyer is the best way to get a complete settlement.

Speak to a Personal Injury Attorney Now

You suffered an injury after a car accident with medical bills, and you can’t work. You need money, so why is the accident settlement taking months?

Even in the best circumstances, receiving an accident settlement can take time. It can take longer if the case involves serious injuries and multiple parties. Talk to a personal injury attorney today about timelines and legal options.