The negotiation process is different for each car accident. Some cases settle faster than others. There is no way of knowing ahead of time how long it will take to reach a settlement—or if reaching a settlement is even possible.
Nevertheless, at Khan Injury Law we see some common roadblocks which delay settlement. We fully understand why victims are frustrated at the delay when they badly need compensation. Below, our car accident lawyer takes a closer look at the most common issues which frustrate a swift resolution to your case.
There is a Dispute About Fault
A person isn’t legally required to pay compensation to accident victims unless they are at least partially responsible for an accident. This responsibility is called “fault.”
In many accidents, the fault is obvious. For example, a person might run a red light and T-bone you. Your dashcam shows what happened, as do nearby security cameras. In an accident like this, the driver’s insurance company should quickly admit fault.
But the fault isn’t clear in all accidents:
- Rear-end collisions. The car behind could be at fault for following too closely or not paying attention. However, the lead car could also be at fault if the driver braked suddenly.
- Sideswipes. Two cars might collide while driving side by side, such as when a car tries to merge on the freeway. Either driver could be at fault, depending on the circumstances.
- Head-on collisions. There might be a dispute over which car drifted over the center line. If each side points the finger at the other, then negotiations can slow to a crawl.
In Washington, fault can also be shared. Even someone badly injured could be at fault for the crash, and they might receive less as a result. Until the parties reach an agreement on fault, they will never agree to the compensation. For this reason, your settlement could get delayed as they argue back and forth.
Each Side Disagrees on the Severity of Injuries
In addition to agreeing to the fault, each side in negotiations must agree to the value of a person’s injuries. Some people have pre-existing injuries from a prior accident or workplace incident. An insurer might claim this pre-existing injury is the real source of your pain, so they don’t need to compensate you.
There might also be a dispute about whether you received unnecessary care. Insurers might refuse to cover the cost of massage, acupuncture, or certain mental health counseling if they don’t think it was necessary.
Disputes Over Value of Pain and Suffering
You should also qualify for compensation for pain and suffering, as well as other losses like emotional distress. These are hard to put an accurate price tag on. You might think the chronic pain in your hip, depression, and lethargy are worth at least $50,000. The insurer might only offer $5,000.
Disputes over pain and suffering are hard to resolve, but not impossible. As seasoned lawyers, we understand how much a jury is likely to award, and we will negotiate from a position of strength.
Contact Khan Injury Law today. We are skilled negotiators who will strive to obtain fair compensation following your crash.