Delay, in the legal system, is an unfortunate reality in some cases. But there should always be a reason for it, not just the fact that your lawyer is lazy or the insurance company is waiting to see if you’ll just go away. If there’s been a delay in your case, find out why. If you haven’t heard from your lawyer in a while and you don’t know the status of your claim, you should check in. It’s completely reasonable expect a prompt response.
Potential reasons for a delay in your case:
The insurance company is denying benefits. If the insurance company can find a way to deny your claim, they will. Once that happens, the ball is in your court. Many times, the injured worker can successfully get their claim approved by asking for a hearing in front of an arbitrator. Don’t do this without an experienced attorney who knows how to make your case and understands the strategies used by the insurance company. Note that you won’t get this hearing automatically; you have to submit a petition.
You are still in the middle of your medical treatment. If you are still injured and still going through treatment or therapy for your injury, then not much will be changing in your case. You should continue to get benefits, but your claim won’t settle until you are as good as you’re going to get. This is called maximum medical improvement, or MMI.
The insurance company is delaying settlement. If your medical treatment is complete, you might be waiting for a settlement offer from the insurance company. The insurance company doesn’t have to offer you a settlement. Many times they do, because they want to close your case and ensure that you won’t come back later asking for more benefits. However, it’s not unheard of for an insurance company to ignore you and hope you give up and go away. Your attorney should be doing what they can to move things along.
You need a new lawyer. If you aren’t getting benefits and your attorney has not petitioned for a hearing or given you a good reason why they haven’t, then it’s time to have a serious conversation. If you have trouble getting in touch with your lawyer and can’t even set up a face-to-face meeting, it might be a sign that your case is being ignored. You can always get a second opinion, and in some cases, switching attorneys is the only way to solve the problem. The sooner you switch, the better off you’ll be.
Don’t sit around and wonder what’s going on in your case or stress about a lack of benefits. Call your attorney or set up a meeting so you can get your questions answered.