Why Does it Take so Long?
“An incompetent attorney can delay a trial for months or years. A competent attorney can delay one even longer.”Evelle J. Younger
If there is one thing about the judicial system that frustrates most people is that cases seem to linger forever, seemingly with nothing happening for months. That delay can be very burdensome to accident victims — after all, collectors are coming after them for unpaid medical bills and other expenses that grew as a result of their accident. Quite naturally, accident victims want their cases to resolve quickly.
Even what seems like the simplest cases drag on without resolution in sight. Today we look at why this is.
First there is the pre-filing part of the case — after an accident, treatment begins. If it looks as though treatment will come to a definite end, it is often best to wait to pursue legal remedies until the treatment is complete. After the emergency visits, the surgeries, or the physical therapy is complete, we have a very good idea of what the injury cost the victim in actual dollars. The treatment alone can take months.
Once treatment is complete, we send a demand letter to the defendant’s insurance company, and the process of negotiating with the insurance company begins. We can go back and forth with the claims adjuster, trying to find an agreeable settlement to compensate the victim — our client. That process can take a few months on its own.
Note, by the way, that there have been no filings submitted to court. This entire process has taken place out of court, trying to resolve the matter with the insurer. Only when it becomes clear that the insurer won’t settle to our clients’ satisfaction do we file a complaint with the court.
Why do we bother trying to resolve the matter before filing a complaint? Because once the complaint is filed defense lawyers get involved, and then the delays really begin in earnest. Defense lawyers are permitted to file motions attacking the complaint on a variety of procedural grounds — motions that do not address the injuries, but that attack the form of complaint.
Sometimes, these motions point out legitimate problems in the case. Sometimes, these motions are just filed without much to back them up. Every motion, whether strong or weak, delays the case until the judge rules on the motion. Then after the ruling, there will be more motions. Then more. Then more.
Each new motion requires a new ruling, and that means more delay. For accident victims, this means another day of bill collectors and financial woe — and that is the real reason for the delay.
Accident victims need money, and as the pressure mounts on the victims’ lives so too does the temptation to accept a settlement for less than they deserve. Delay is the insurance company’s best weapon — they can afford to let things linger while you can’t.
This is why Panama City accident victims need aggressive and experienced lawyers. We will not buckle in the face of delay tactics. We work tirelessly to resolve your case as quickly as possible, but we won’t let the insurance company outlast you. Justice takes its time, but we know how to move things forward when the insurance company would rather let things linger.