There are a number of things that can delay settlement of a personal injury claim. The main reason a personal injury claim usually takes at least 18 months to resolve, however, is that it is necessary for the parties to wait until your injuries have reached maximum medical improvement and are therefore considered to be stable and stationary before your claim can be progressed. This usually does not happen until at least 12 months after the accident.
Once your personal injuries are considered to be stable and stationary, then your personal injury lawyer can organise independent medical examinations (otherwise known as medicolegal examinations) to have you assessed by appropriate specialists. Those specialists might include an Orthopaedic Surgeon, a Psychiatrist and/or an Occupational Therapist. The insurer for the Defendant will then want to arrange independent medical examinations (ie IMEs) by similar specialists also.
These appointments would normally span over a period of 3 or 4 months and the specialists often then take up to one month or more after you have seen them to provide their reports.
Once the medicolegal examinations and IMEs have taken place, and the medicolegal reports have been received, the parties are then able to assess your claim to determine how much compensation you should be paid.
Your personal injury lawyer would, at that stage, put an offer of settlement together on your behalf and would then, with your approval, serve that offer of settlement on the Defendant. The normal procedure would then be to proceed to a compulsory conference if your claim could not be resolved informally.
Other factors that can delay settlement of your personal injury claim can include having to wait for liability investigations to be completed by the police, workplace health and safety or a coroner (in cases where someone has died), having to wait for medical records or employment records, complying with or waiting for timeframes set out in the legislation to elapse, having to wait for an advice from a barrister, having to wait for court availability and/or simple delays caused by your personal injury lawyer not progressing your claim as quickly as they can.