Factors that can delay the personal injury claim process
Understandably you'll want to know how long the personal injury claim process is, and while we can give you a rough idea, many factors can affect the time it will take for you to receive your settlement. Personal injury claims can progress at different rates depending on how complex your case is. The best way to ensure your claim runs smoothly, and you receive your entitlement promptly is by appointing a personal injury lawyer to take care of your claim for you. Here are some common things that hold up personal injury claims.
Assessing medical evidence
A successful personal injury claim has a significant amount of medical evidence supporting it. It's not only the details of the injury, it's many other elements such as pain and suffering, medical costs, transport, loss of consortium, loss of income now and into the future, plus much more. All these areas need to be thoroughly assessed to ensure you are receiving the correct level of compensation for your injury. This can take a considerable amount of time and you may be required to provide more evidence. It's unlikely that you will receive full entitlements if you don't have the medical evidence to support it. Serious injuries usually take longer to assess than minor ones. This is because there is usually more evidence and medical records to go through. Regardless of whether your injury is minor or serious, everyone must go through this process; it may just take longer for some given their circumstances. A personal injury lawyer can help to simplify this process by collecting necessary evidence, organising appointments, and conversing with the insurer on your behalf.
There is an influx of claims
Like any business, insurance providers have busier times than others. Often this is unforeseeable and you just have to be patient, unfortunately. To give you an idea, each month an insurance adjuster will receive up to 100 claims, and it is their job to try and resolve them without the intervention of a higher authority or lawyer.
Your claim has been rejected
If your claim has been rejected and you believe wrongfully so, you have the right to dispute it. The insurer will offer you an internal review through the insurance company where it will be reviewed by a superior. If you have done this and failed to come to a resolution you are satisfied with, you can lodge a complaint with The Australian Financial Complaints Company (AFCA). If you haven't already, seeking legal advice would be a good idea. Going through this process can add to the time it takes to receive your compensation if you are rightfully entitled.
There is a lot involved with a personal injury claim and everything needs to be done properly. Making mistakes or providing misleading or inaccurate information can cause delays. This happens often with people that are handling their claim themselves. It's not only claimants that can make mistakes, but adjusters can also make errors. Making mistakes can cost time, and you may miss out on the full compensation you're entitled to.
Negotiating with the insurance provider can delay the process and more so if an agreement cannot be reached. Accepting the first offer may see you receive a lower amount than you are rightfully entitled to. Going back and forth with the adjuster can be time-consuming and overwhelming, especially if you are going at it alone and are struggling to understand what you should be entitled to given your situation and the extent of your injuries. If an agreement cannot be reached, you may have to take the matter to court which can take even longer.
Waiting for an injury to stabilise
Another reason that personal claim injury claims are commonly delayed is that the injury/injuries have not had time to stabilise. Stabilised means that the injury is unlikely to change drastically over time or with additional treatment. When the injury first occurs, it can be too hard in a lot of instances to determine the impacts that the injury has and will place on your life. You normally have to wait a year for your injury to stabilise. Once it has, your injury will need to be examined by an independent medical specialist/s. This process can take 4 months or more to complete.
Sometimes determining who is at fault for an injury isn't straight forward and it may be difficult to prove that another party played a role in causing the injury. If you don't have evidence to prove that someone else was liable for your injury, not yourself, the insurance adjuster will likely come to the assumption that you were at fault. This can lead to lengthy disagreements. The more evidence you can gather, the easier it will be to prove your innocence in the matter.
Speak to a professional
In an ideal world, we'd love to tell everyone that they can expect their claim to be finalised in 18 months or less, but as you can see there are a few things that can make the claim process slower. Here at South East Injury Lawyers, we understand how frustrating this can be and aim to streamline and simplify the process so you can receive your compensation faster than if they were to go at it alone. If you need legal advice or are looking for an expert personal injury lawyer, get in contact today for your free consultation.