Interesting articles

Why do personal injury claims take so long?

About Blumers

Injury claims are unfortunately not well known for being a quick process.

Insurance companies generally don’t want to just open their wallets and pay out claims. They are unlikely to pay out claims for what a claimant might initially seek, and they have to justify to internal auditors and the share market what they do pay. Because of that, they have to properly assess, substantiate and justify what they pay on claims.

But the insurer’s behaviour is not the only factor at play

Often claims take a long time to resolve because the injured person is yet to recover. From a medical perspective, it can take years before someone is back to a stable position where they are as good as they’re going to get, or have undergone all courses of treatment recommended by their treating professionals. Surgery, where risks are high, generally means a claim should not be finalised until afterwards, in case it is unsuccessful and has to be repeated, other operations are required, or there are complications which turn something relatively simple into a catastrophic outcome.

Getting the evidence together

It can take some time for solicitors, investigators and others involved to get all the necessary material and evidence in a form suitable for use in court. This process can take some time if medical evidence is required, witness statements need to be obtained, or checks with government departments such as Medicare or Centrelink are necessary.

We also require material to brief various experts to provide evidence in the case. This evidence is provided in the form of reports, and these can take some time for experts to prepare, and rightly so. Giving experts all the evidence possible and allowing them sufficient time means they can prepare a strong report. Sometimes, further evidence or progress will mean supplementary reports are necessary.

Blumers’ strong case management focus helps us ensure all necessary evidence is obtained as soon as possible. We go to lengths to ensure we have everything relevant to the case, even though it can take some time to get to this point.

The Courts

Once a statement of claim is issued in the court, a timetable is usually issued and things start to move with some certainty toward an out-of-court settlement or hearing. Sometimes, due to circumstances in the litigation process or due to external factors, timetables can fall behind and things don’t happen on time.

At Blumers we use sophisticated legal practice software to keep things on track and avoid delays as much as possible. This software also helps us keep our opponents honest in sticking to the timetable they have agreed to.

Unfortunately, the court system is at times prone to being overbooked and it is not uncommon for a few matters to be listed on the same day. This may be because some of the matters will settle on or before that date, but if that isn’t the case and two matters are ready to run, one will get bumped to a later date.

Sometimes, a defendant just has to be dragged kicking and screaming before they offer the right money to finalise a case, but in those situations it is well worth the wait, as you only get one shot at it.

It is difficult to forecast how long any claim will take from start to finish. At Blumers, we do our best to keep our files moving towards the just resolution they deserve, and will always keep our clients in the loop about where their claim is at.