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Why does it take so long to settle a car accident suit?

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

In a no-fault state like Florida, a car accident that causes injuries and property damage might seem like an open-and-shut case. It's no one's fault. The insurer pays up. Both parties go their own way. However, this is not always the case. Each personal injury case is unique, and many are complex, especially when more than one person is involved.

Medical injuries vary case to case

Consider this example: A driver is traveling with two passengers – one in the front seat and one in the backseat. Another vehicle sideswipes the car, hurting all three. The driver, who already had a bad knee from a work injury, hits his knee on the dashboard. The passenger – who wasn't wearing a safety belt – suffers a broken arm. The pregnant woman in the backseat has some aches and pains, but otherwise seems to be okay. All three are able to get out of the car. The circumstances surrounding all three make this a much more difficult type of injury case than a simple fender bender.

  • The driver re-aggravated his injury. How badly was he injured before the accident? It's not immediately clear, and prior medical records likely will have to be examined before a determination is made.
  • The passanger didn't have a pre-existing condition, but would the injury have been avoidable had she been wearing a safety belt?
  • This likely will come to light after a reconstruction of the accident.
  • Although the pregnant woman may feel OK, there's no guarantee that her unborn child isn't. In some cases, the extent of injury to an unborn child might not be known until after the child is born.

Insurance matters – even in no-fault states

In the preceding example, if the driver who sideswiped the car has full liability insurance policy – which includes bodily injury coverage – their medical expenses might be covered. However, if the driver was carrying the minimum no-fault insurance ($10,000 for both personal injury protection and property damage liability), injuries to the other drivers likely won't be covered.

If the defendant questions the seriousness of the plaintiffs' injuries – arguing that all three were able to walk away from the scene of the accident – the burden of proof falls on the prosecuting side. Often, the settlement amount offered by the defendant's insurance company is extremely low. It doesn't take into account pain and suffering, serious bodily injury, loss of employment or future related disabilities. A Melbourne car accident lawyer is able to negotiate with the insurance company and file action on your behalf if an agreement cannot be reached.

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