If you or a loved one was injured in a car accident, and you’re considering pursuing a claim, you may wonder: how long do auto accident settlements take? The duration for settling a car accident claim is not easily estimated, as car accident lawsuits require multiple phases, like filing a claim or lawsuit, pre-trial motions, determining a court date, mediation, discovery phase, and more. The completion time for each of these stages can vary significantly from case to case.
The best way to ensure a smooth process and increase your chances of receiving fair compensation is to seek the help of a personal injury lawyer. A lawyer with expertise in car accident claims can guide you through each phase of the legal process; helping you understand your rights, negotiating with insurance companies, and representing you in court if necessary.
Contact our expert car accident lawyers to learn about the average length of time for a car accident settlement, and how we can get you the justice you deserve. Get a free case review today.
What Factors Affect the Average Length of Time for Car Accident Settlements?
Providing an average length of time for car accident settlement can be challenging without having knowledge of the case’s details. Several factors can impact the duration of a case, including:
Injury Severity and Treatment Time
Severe injuries means an extended recovery period and a higher entitlement to compensation. However, a prolonged healing time can result in the postponement of settling your car accident claim. If you are pursuing significant compensation or considering future medical expenses, the claims settlement procedure may become more complex, leading to a lengthier resolution.
Your attorney will start by conducting a thorough investigation of your case. They will gather relevant information regarding your damages, including details like your medical expenses. They may also interview eyewitnesses to the accident and get your statement. Maintaining accurate records of all expenses related to your accident during this stage will help this process along; however, the investigation process may extend from weeks to several months.
Settlement Request and Rebuttal
Next, your attorney will make an initial request for a settlement, also referred to as the demand, which is submitted to the opposing party’s insurance provider. The insurance company then determines whether to make a settlement offer, which the lawyer will review before advising you on how to respond. This process generally takes a few weeks to conclude. In the case that an agreement cannot be reached, your lawyer will proceed to file their legal complaints with the court. Then, the opposing party will receive a lawsuit notice and have the opportunity to respond.
Both parties will investigate and gather evidence. This phase augments whatever evidence was collected during the initial investigation and builds the strongest case possible. Evidence may include conducting interviews with eyewitnesses and obtaining additional information regarding your injuries and damages. In case there were several eyewitnesses to the accident, and you exchanged contact information with them, enabling them to provide statements, either you or your personal injury lawyer will need to conduct numerous interviews. This process may require several months or more to conclude, as it may prove challenging to coordinate with all the witnesses to ensure they fulfill their crucial role at an opportune time.
There is an abundance of evidence required to establish liability and demonstrate the extent of your injuries. Analyzing and scrutinizing these details can be a time-consuming process, but collecting as much evidence as possible is crucial to secure a favorable settlement.
Reaching a settlement may take longer when the opposing party disputes its responsibility for the accident. In such cases, escalating the case to court may be the best course of action. If the opposing insurance company refuses to engage in negotiation, the injury claim may be resolved through a trial.
Large Amounts of Money or Number of Damages
When you start a car accident settlement claim, your lawyer will assist you in calculating the damages you will seek. This can include both economic and non-economic losses suffered as a result of the accident. Typically, the higher the settlement amount, the longer it may take to settle the case, since insurance companies often aim to minimize their payouts.
Negotiations and Your Patience Level
When pursuing a car accident settlement claim, the duration of the settlement process is somewhat within your control. The negotiation process will commence once you and your lawyer have collected evidence and served a complaint to the responsible party and their insurance company. The negotiation typically involves a series of steps, including sending a settlement request, receiving an initial offer from the defendant’s insurance company (often lower than your request), evaluating the offer with your lawyer, and deciding whether to accept or ask for a higher amount. This cycle repeats until a mutually acceptable settlement is reached.
The duration of this process can vary widely and affects the chances of obtaining a high settlement. However, the longer it takes, the longer you must wait to cover your expenses and return to your normal routine. Ultimately, you have the choice to accept a lower offer to resolve the matter quickly, wait for a larger settlement, or take your case to court, which will lengthen the settlement process.
Car insurance companies may scrutinize your case for any minor details to use against you, reducing the value of your claim. They might also delay the process of offering or disbursing settlements. A legal expert is well-versed in the strategies employed by insurance companies and can manage all correspondence with them while ensuring efficiency.
In the event that a settlement cannot be reached, the court will schedule a hearing where both parties will appear before a judge. Scheduling a trial date can take months or even years. Your attorney will present your legal arguments and the opposing party will have the opportunity to do the same. The judge will then make a ruling, which will determine if the other party is required to provide you with a car accident insurance settlement. Typically, the trial will last for two or five days, depending on the case.
How Long Does It Take To Get a Settlement Check After a Car Accident?
In most instances, you can anticipate receiving your settlement check several weeks following the resolution of your claim. However, several other factors may influence the duration of your wait:
- Insurance adjusters are often hesitant to part with funds, so they may require you to sign and notarize releases before issuing a check.
- The insurance company’s accounting department must process the payment.
- The mailing department must physically send the check.
- If out-of-state banks are involved, the checks must clear (typically within 7-10 days) before funds are disbursed.
- The insurance company may pay Medicare or Medicaid expenses directly before sending the check to your attorney.
- Please note that if you owe medical bills, a lien is put on your settlement that entitles them to be paid back first before you receive any funds.
While it’s impossible to predict the precise length of time it will take for you to receive your check, a lawyer can work to expedite the process.
Settling Your Car Accident Case Can Take Some Time. Contact Us Today
So, how long do car accident cases last? Ultimately, the length of time it takes for a car accident claim to be resolved can vary due to the different stages of settlement negotiations. The best way to know how long your case will take is to contact an experienced car accident lawyer.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident that was not your fault, our experts at George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers can help you seek justice. Contact our law firm today for a free, no-obligation case review today.