In one year, 38,824 lives were lost in traffic crashes nationwide. In 45% of fatal crashes, the drivers engaged in risky behavior.
You might wonder about the next steps if you or your loved one is a car accident victim. It can all feel overwhelming, from a car accident settlement to meeting with lawyers.
You might wonder, how long does a car accident settlement take? While it might seem difficult to find these answers, it doesn’t have to be. Read this guide on how long you can expect your settlement to take today!
Seek Medical Treatment
First, seek medical treatment after an accident. If you fail to do so, it could delay your recovery and impact your settlement amount.
Follow the directions of the doctors to improve. Physical therapy might be a requirement as well, depending on the injuries.
Some injuries could be life-threatening, so don’t delay seeking treatment. This could take a week up to a year.
Contact An Attorney
To file your car accident claim, reach out to an attorney who specializes in auto accidents. Bring a notebook and all relevant pictures from the accident. If you have the police report and medical records, bring those along as well.
Your car accident lawyer will review property damage estimates, medical bills, lost wages, and any out-of-pocket expenses you’ve had. The time this takes your attorney will vary. It could take them a few months to get everything ready.
Before a car accident lawsuit, your attorney might try to negotiate your car accident claim. This response shouldn’t take more than a month.
File With Insurance
Your attorney will contact the insurance and file a claim on your behalf. Each of the defendants will be served.
They’ll have less than a month to respond. Even if you have a car accident lawsuit, it doesn’t mean you’ll go to court. Cases can be solved prior to the courts.
Ensure All Medical Documentation Is Handled
Before you meet with your attorney, you must have all necessary medical documentation. Once they have receipts and bills, they can determine how much compensation you could receive.
Medical records are vital since they can speed up the process and prove your injuries. If you state you have a severe injury and don’t have the documentation necessary, you might receive less than you should.
Factors That Could Extend The Length
Certain factors could impact how long it takes the case. For example, the wrongful death of a loved one, a more serious personal injury, little to no proof of liability, or multiple negligent parties.
An attorney can help you speed up the process and navigate these situations. They’ll also ensure that you don’t leave any damages out of your claim that you’ll be entitled to.
Insurance Companies Can Slow Down Time
Insurance companies tend to delay claims. This could make your case take longer than it should.
An insurer might delay the case in hopes that you’ll drop it. Certain states do have strict guidelines for insurance companies.
They’ll have so many days to state they received the claim, send proof of loss, whether they accept or deny the claim, etc. Again, your attorney can help you answer these questions and speed up the process.
How Long It Takes Can Vary
Each auto accident settlement is unique and can vary. If you’re able to come to an agreement with the insurance, it can be handled in a month.
They’ll have you sign a release form. This states that you’re giving up the right to sue the other driver who caused your injuries.
Once it’s settled, you’ll receive the compensation agreed to. It’s often sent as a check to your lawyer. Your lawyer will deduct attorney fees, and then you’ll receive the remaining balance.
What To Expect When Injured In An Accident
Before you can receive a car accident settlement check, you’ll need to have a few things happen. First, treatment needs to reach completion.
All doctor’s reports and lost wages need to be reported. After this, you’ll need to wait for a response from the package. This can take up to a couple of months.
What If The Case Settles?
Some insurance companies will take their time, which can lead to frustration. Your accident lawyer will need to contact the insurance company to get it moving.
Top-quality lawyers will push insurance companies and stay on top of the process. Many states don’t require a rule for how long insurance companies have to answer you.
Insurance companies will try to pay you as little as possible. A lawyer will work hard to ensure that you receive the fair amount you deserve. Keep in mind that you don’t always have to file a lawsuit.
If you do settle early, you might be missing out on money. When working with a lawyer, they’ll push hard to ensure that you receive the most money possible. Therefore, working with an attorney makes you more likely to receive a larger amount.
How Long Does A Lawsuit Take?
A personal injury case can settle at any time if you’ve filed a lawsuit for your insurance claim. The best time to settle is right after a lawsuit has been filed.
This often leads to an increase in the offer. After the discovery phase is over, you have the pre-trial conference.
After this, you have the courts. Insurance companies are more likely to settle when a trial is coming close. While a settlement can occur at any time, these are the most common occurrences.
How Long The Completion Of Discovery Takes
Each side will exchange information for potential evidence at trial. It often needs a few months to complete. The process can take up to a year or more, though.
Car accident cases can settle immediately after the plaintiff files the complaint. Settlements normally don’t happen until one side reveals or learns important information.
This information could decide the case. That’s why most settlements don’t occur until discovery is complete.
Many car accident cases tend to settle during the insurance claim process. This is often within a few weeks or months.
Once a lawsuit is filed, a settlement is unlikely to occur. Not until a complete discovery happens. When both parties agree, that’s when a settlement concludes.
How Long The Trial Lasts
There might be expert testimonies and eyewitnesses during the trial. Medical records, photos, and relevant documents might be provided.
The plaintiff goes first. Once they finish, the defendant goes next.
They can disagree with what the plaintiff provides. A car accident trial usually only takes a couple of days.
What About The Appeals Process?
An appeal can occur if one or both parties aren’t happy with the trial. There are various levels of appeals.
One level of appeals could take six months to a year. If an appeal is about to occur, a defendant uses it to settle the case.
They might show that it’ll be an expensive and long appeal if it moves forward. If the plaintiff agrees to the settlement amount, they’ll be able to avoid this. If they agree, the amount might be less than they expect.
The Steps Involved
First, you’ll need to report the accident to the police and insurance companies. Take videos and photos of the accident.
Obtain evidence when possible. This includes police reports and witness statements. It’ll show who is at fault for the collision.
Next, you can estimate how much your claim will be worth. This can include the evidence, losses you experienced, and your injuries.
A demand letter is sent to the insurer. It’s to tell them to pay the appropriate amount. See how much compensation you’ll be able to receive.
Even if you’d rather settle outside of court, you might still decide to file a lawsuit. Filing a suit can help protect your rights since there’s a limited amount of time to have your case go to court.
This is because of the statute of limitations. If you do sue, then the other party is more willing to settle. It shows the insurance company that you’re serious.
A Complicated Process
Keep in mind that a lawsuit can be a challenging process. You’ll want to ensure you have the right car accident lawyer to help you.
Suing can also help you obtain the evidence necessary. This is because it begins the discovery process, where information is exchanged with the other driver.
How long the entire case will take depends. There isn’t an average time since each case is unique.
Many cases will be solved within a year or a year and a half. Some claims can be resolved within weeks.
This can depend on the following:
- Your injuries
- How clear the fault is
- The willingness of the insurance company to make a fair settlement
If it goes to the courts, the jury can take as long as necessary to come to an agreement. Many states require at least three-quarters of the jury to agree on a verdict. There isn’t a time limit set for them.
If the jury can’t reach an agreement, the foreperson will tell the judge that they’re deadlocked. The judge might tell them to continue to deliberate. This will depend on if it seems like the jury is close to making a decision.
Once a verdict is made, the judge brings the jury back into the courtroom, and it’s read to the parties. While they could take a few weeks or months, most only last a few days. How long it takes will depend on the witnesses, injuries, and evidence.
Do I Need A Car Accident Attorney?
If you’d like to speed up the process, a car accident attorney will help. They’ll also help you win the most money possible that you need and deserve.
The insurance company will also be more likely to reach a settlement. If they don’t, you’ll have a lawyer to back you up in the courts. Lawyers spend years specializing in car accidents and know what evidence to use.
They’ll also be upfront about the entire process and how much you could expect. Lawyers will discuss your chances of winning the trial or where a settlement negotiation is possible.
Should You Settle?
Settling a car accident settlement will allow you to regain compensation faster than going to trial. You’ll also know how much money you’ll receive.
While you could go to court, you might not receive a large amount. If you choose to settle, you can’t sue.
It’s a good idea to settle if the amount will cover lost wages, medical bills, emotional damages, and suffering you experience. An attorney can discuss whether or not a settlement is fair in your case.
How Long Will You Have To File A Lawsuit?
Check your state since each area’s statute of limitation will vary. Most areas are within two to four years of the time of the accident. If you wait too long, you might not be able to file a lawsuit.
How Long A Car Accident Settlement Could Take
While each car accident settlement length will vary, this is an estimation of how long it’ll take. It’s a good idea to speak with a car accident attorney to see your options for compensation.
They’ll discuss with you whether or not settling or going to court is best. Would you like to read more informational content that’ll help you with your lifestyle needs? Then check out our other articles today.