Why Is My Car Accident Settlement Taking So Long?

Two white cars in a serious rear-end accident with one mounted on top of the other's hood.

After an accident, it’s natural to want to secure any damages owed as soon as possible. That said, depending on the complexity of your case, some cases may take longer than others.

If you or the defendant suffered severe injuries, it may take more time to define the exact damages owed. Similarly, if you find yourself negotiating with a large insurance company (or, worse, an unresponsive party), the process may take longer. 

In any case, you’ll want to ensure you have a strong legal team by your side to speed the process along. If you’re just starting your search, reach out to Singh Ahluwalia Attorneys at Law as soon as possible.

Our qualified California car accident lawyers can help you keep every aspect of your case organized and help you address any pain points along the way. 

To schedule a confidential, no-obligation case review, simply call (559) 878-4958 or contact us online today. 

How to Know if My Lawyer Is Dragging Out My Case

If you suspect that your lawyer is intentionally dragging out your case, there are a few signs you can look for:

  1. Lack of communication: If your lawyer is not keeping you informed about the status of your case or is not responding to your calls or emails, it may be a sign that they are not actively working on your case.
  2. Unnecessary delays: If your attorney is continually requesting delays or extensions for no apparent reason, it could be a sign that they are trying to drag out the case.
  3. Failure to take action: If your legal team is not taking any action to move your case forward, such as requesting documents or depositions or filing a writ of mandamus to compel someone to act on a case, it may indicate that they are not interested in resolving your case quickly.
  4. Lack of progress: If your case has been ongoing for an extended period of time with little or no progress, it may be a sign that your lawyer is not actively pursuing your case.

If you are concerned that your lawyer is intentionally dragging out your case, you should schedule a meeting with them to discuss your concerns.

If you are still not satisfied with their response, you may want to consider seeking a second opinion or potentially finding a new lawyer to represent you.

Attorney Payment: Hourly vs. Back-End from Earnings (Contingency)

Keep in mind that a lawyer who is paid hourly may have less incentive to speed the case along than an attorney who is paid a percentage of the case earnings. Hourly billing rewards the lawyer for the amount of time they spend on a case rather than the outcome of the case.

It’s possible for a lawyer who is paid hourly to intentionally drag out a case for various reasons, and in the worst case scenarios, they may be trying to increase their billable hours or delay payment to their client.

This is why it is essential to maintain open communication with your lawyer and stay informed about the progress of your case.

To keep things clear for new injury law clients, Singh Ahluwalia Attorneys at Law only take a portion of the earnings from your case once the case is closed and your damages are secured.

So if you’re looking for a communicative, trustworthy lawyer, consider contacting their team today to make the switch. 

How Long Does a California Car Accident Case Typically Take? 

The length of a car accident case in California can vary widely, but generally, a car accident case in California can take anywhere from a few months to several years to resolve.

Here is a rough timeline of a typical car accident case in California:

  1. Investigation and preparation: Beginning the process can take several weeks to several months and involves gathering evidence, interviewing witnesses, and preparing the case for negotiation or litigation.
  2. Negotiation and settlement: If both parties are able to reach a settlement, the actual negotiation stage can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months, depending on the complexity of the case and the willingness of the parties to compromise.
  3. Litigation and trial: If the case goes to trial, this stage can take several months to several years, depending on the details of the case and the court’s docket.
  4. Appeals: If either party decides to appeal the verdict, the appeals process can take several months to several years.

It is important to note that every car accident case is unique, and the length of time it takes to resolve a case can vary widely. 

What Is the Average Recovery Time After a Car Accident? 

Again, there is no way to define how long it will take for an individual to recover from a car accident, as the actual recovery time can range from a few days to several months or even years. 

Factors that can impact recovery time include the type and severity of the injuries, the age and overall health of the injured person, and whether they receive proper medical treatment and rehabilitation. In some cases, psychological and emotional trauma can impact recovery time.

The most important thing to do immediately after an accident is to seek medical care for any possible injuries. Minor problems may give way to larger, ongoing issues that you’ll want to make sure you have the foresight to continue to care for.

Keep in mind, too, that if you have to miss work due to any injuries sustained, you may be able to secure compensation for your damages owed, so it’s always best to take every step you can to take care of your body after a traumatic car accident. 

How Long Does an Insurance Company Have to Settle a Claim in California? 

Technically in California, insurance companies are required to settle claims within 85 days after the date of filing. 

On top of that, California law requires insurance companies to handle claims in a reasonable and timely manner.

Specifically, California Insurance Code Section 790.03(h)(5) requires insurance companies to “adopt and implement reasonable standards for the prompt investigation and processing of claims.”

If an insurance company fails to handle a claim in a reasonable and timely manner, it may be considered to have acted improperly or even in bad faith, which can result in legal consequences.

Under California law, an insurer that engages in bad faith practices can be liable for damages beyond the limits of the insurance policy.

How Long Do Insurance Companies Have to Pay Out Damages After an Accident?

In California, there is no set parameter for how long insurance companies have to actually pay out a plaintiff after a case is settled. That said, the same Code Section 790.03(h)(5) mentioned above requires the companies to move the process along at a reasonable pace. 

How Long Does It Take To Settle a Civil Suit in California?

If you must take legal action beyond filing an insurance claim after your accident, you may be looking at a much longer process. Traditional personal injury proceedings can take much longer and will hinge on the court’s schedule.

In fact, it’s not uncommon for civil suits to take one to two years or longer to reach a resolution, especially if the case involves complex legal or factual issues, multiple parties, or significant damages.

The civil litigation process typically involves several stages, including pleadings, discovery, motion practice, settlement negotiations, and trial.

Each stage of the process can take several months to complete, and the length of time it takes to settle a civil suit will depend on how quickly the parties move through each stage.

If you find yourself pursuing a civil suit in California, you’ll definitely want to have a qualified Fresno car accident lawyer qualified Fresno car accident lawyer by your side to help you navigate the process and hold all parties accountable in every stage of the suit. 

How Can My Attorney Speed Up the Process?

While car accident cases can take a while to settle, the right lawyer should be able to use a wide range of resources — and their own expertise — to speed the process along. 

For example, if your attorney suspects the court is dragging its feet, they may invoke a writ of mandamus.

A writ of mandamus is a court order directing a government official or agency to perform a specific duty.

In the context of a civil lawsuit in California, a writ of mandamus may be used to compel the court to act on a matter that has been pending for an unreasonable amount of time or to compel a government agency to perform a specific duty related to the case.

Skills Attorneys Need to Ensure a Speedy Resolution

In addition, there are several other ways your attorney can help speed up the process in California:

  1. Efficient case management: Your attorney can manage your case efficiently by organizing and prioritizing tasks, tracking deadlines, and keeping communication lines open with you and the other party.
  2. Early settlement negotiations: Your attorney can initiate settlement negotiations early in the case, and work to resolve the case through alternative dispute resolution methods such as mediation or arbitration.
  3. Effective communication: Your attorney can communicate effectively with the other party, the court, and any other stakeholders in the case to ensure that everyone is on the same page and that the case is moving forward as quickly as possible.
  4. Streamlined discovery: Your attorney can work to streamline the discovery process, which involves exchanging information and evidence with the other party, to avoid unnecessary delays and expenses.
  5. Motion practice: Your attorney can file motions with the court when appropriate to address issues that may be slowing down the case, such as discovery disputes or objections to evidence.
  6. Trial preparation: Your attorney can prepare for trial early in the case, which can help move the case along more quickly if the case does go to trial.

So whether you’re looking to drop an attorney who is no longer working in your best interest, or want to secure the right representation from the get-go, contact Singh Ahluwalia Attorneys at Law today.

Our team can help you quickly schedule a confidential, no-obligation case review. To contact the team, simply call (559) 878-4958 or contact us online