Legal Lessons Week 6 - Why Is My Lawyer Taking so Long to Settle My Case?
Answers to Your Personal Injury Questions
Dear Attorney Norton,
Can you tell me why my lawyer is taking so long to get my case settled? My accident was over a year ago and I do not know what is happening.
- Seeking a Second Opinion
Dear Seeking a Second Opinion,
Sometimes a case can take months or years to resolve, depending on how long treatment is needed. We do not advise that clients try and settle their cases while they are still treating. Upon settling a case, you will have to sign a release. This will prevent you from coming back for more money on your case, even if your medical condition worsens. As such, it is better to wait until you have concluded treatment so that the full extent of your injuries, treatment, and medical bills are known.
Settling a case quickly often means that you are not being fully compensated for your losses. It is not uncommon for doctors to try conservative treatment such as chiropractic or physical therapy immediately after an accident. Often, when the conservative approach does not work, the doctors will recommend either injections or even surgery. The injured person who needs surgery will regret settling very early for a fraction of the true value of their case.
There should not be a long delay in trying to settle your case once you have completely finished your treatment. My biggest concern for you is that you do not know what is happening. This means that your lawyer is either not calling you or not returning your calls. Always remember, your attorney works for you, not the other way around. You should be well informed about the status of your case, your settlement negotiations, and everything happening with your claim. Our clients are provided with an attorney's personal cell phone number because we work for you. Although you already have an attorney, you are entitled to get a second opinion. Also, it should not cost you to switch attorneys if that is what you want to do. The second attorney should pay the first attorney out of his portion of the settlement, not yours.
You may submit your questions, or talk to an attorney, free of charge, by e-mail at email@example.com