Waiting on an auto accident injury settlement can be a long and frustrating experience. There are multiple factors that could enhance the delay, most of which are connected to who is actually at fault for causing the accident leading to the injuries. The extent of liability determines how much money an injured claimant may be owed by a negligent party and their respondent insurance provider, and arriving at an accurate figure is not always easy. This is especially true with multiple vehicle accidents where two or more drivers share fault and are liable for the amount of their comparative negligence percentage. The truth is that the stages of claim negotiation actually control how long it will ultimately take for payment since all North Carolina insurance companies are very diligent about paying claims.
Accident Claim Submission
The first step in being compensated for personal injuries is a claim submission. The respondent insurance company will evaluate the claim first for liability. If the claims adjuster determines they can
pay the claim without further proof, the extent of the injury will be evaluated next. Drivers who have submitted an injury claim can usually expect the case to go to court for an official ruling on fault. In North Carolina, any driver who has any comparative fault percentage at all is denied a claim summarily in court per the contributory negligence law.
Passengers who were not driving will be assessed according to who owns the vehicle they were in and which insurance company is actually required to pay their damages. This could actually be multiple insurance providers, so a court ruling can be needed for passengers as well.
Car Accident Claims Negotiation
After the insurance company determines liability, they will sometimes make a quick settlement offer to end the case immediately. If they know they will be required to pay the claim, they will want to avoid dealing with an attorney at all costs, and offering a quick low settlement to a victim is one of their tactics. They are in business to make a profit, and they know that an aggressive personal injury law firm will be focused on maximum payment through general damages for long-term pain and suffering that may be a future issue for the injured claimant. And when a claimant is pursuing whole damages, it is not unusual for insurance companies to request a second opinion regarding some injury claims that will then extend the wait.
Multiple Vehicle Accidents Can Take More Time
Another issue beyond general damage determination is accidents that involve several vehicles. Two-car accidents can actually be problematic and time-consuming as well because of the North Carolina contributory negligence law. Drivers have more difficulty being compensated for their injuries, but passengers who are not driving at the time typically are not assessed for fault. Regardless of material facts, it can still be an inordinate amount of time for a settlement to be finalized because certain insurance companies could only be required to pay certain injured parties. This will necessitate going to court in many cases.
All court dockets are overloaded in North Carolina, which means that it could take a while before a case is scheduled to begin. The first hearing will be a preliminary submission of the claim to the court for initial ordering of liability, legally termed discovery. If a settlement cannot be reached at the first hearing, a pretrial hearing is then scheduled to allow all parties another opportunity to settle the case. If no settlement is reached in these two court dates, the case will then be scheduled for a full trial. The jury then becomes the ultimate trier of fact in determining fault and level of liability for each driver. However, each juncture in court advancement is an opportunity to settle. In cases where the respondent insurance company thinks they can establish even 1% of the fault for a claimant who was driving or shift liability to another driver, the case will eventually be tried by the court.
Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm
Regardless of how long it may take to settle a car accident injury claim, it is imperative to have comprehensive legal representation from an experienced personal injury law firm that can keep insurance companies honest and maximize an award. Call us today and let us help in expediting your accident claim settlement 1-800-ACCIDENT or click on the image below to schedule your free case evaluation with a Kellum Law Firm car accident attorney.
Additional information on what steps to take following a car accident are quoted here, sourced from https://www.ncdoi.gov/consumers/auto-and-vehicle-insurance/after-accident
- Stop your car in a safe place.
- Move your car, if needed, to protect against further damage and keep from blocking traffic.
- Call the police, especially when there are injuries or hit and run accidents.
- Get the other driver’s name, address, phone number, license plate number, driver’s license number and insurance information.
- Record the name of the insurance company and policy number exactly as it appears on the other driver’s proof of insurance card.
- Get the names of any witnesses as well as their address and telephone number.
- Don’t agree to forget about the accident. You may have hidden damages, unknown injuries or later find that a lawsuit has been filed against you.
- Call your agent if you have any questions or concerns with the claims process. Your agent could be of assistance when filling out forms and documents required to proceed with your claim.
Who do I call to file a claim?
Contact your agent or insurance company. If another individual is responsible for your damages, you need to contact their insurance agent or company as well. The adjuster you are assigned will inform you of any additional steps needed.
How will a company determine who is at fault?
The insurance adjuster investigating the accident will attempt to determine who is negligent or at-fault. North Carolina Contributory Negligence Law bars a driver from collecting damages if determined to be partially at fault. In essence, if you contribute to an accident, you may not be able to collect on a liability claim. Any disagreement over negligence may ultimately have to be resolved in a court of law.
Additional reading on help with car accident injury claims can be found here:
- TOP 5 MISTAKES PEOPLE MAKE AFTER A CAR ACCIDENT
- Signs An Insurance Company Is Trying To Underpay Your Car Accident Claim
- FIVE Things You Should Avoid When Filing a Car Accident Claim
- What Insurance Adjusters Don’t Want You To Know
- What’s The Difference Between A Loss Adjuster And An Insurance Agent?
Don’t leave your car accident claim to chance, contact Kellum Law Firm today and ask for a no-cost consultation with one of our experienced car accident lawyers. We will sit down with you in person (non-contact meetings can be arranged through Zoom and other channels) to go over the details of your accident and present you with a clear path forward in pursuing a claim, either against the other driver, the other driver’s insurance company, or both. There’s no obligation to retain a Kellum Law Firm attorney following your case review.
Contact us now on 1-800-ACCIDENT