If you sustained injuries in a car accident, you may be wondering how long it will take to get compensation for your losses. Chances are you want to settle as quickly as possible so that you can pay your medical bills and focus on recovery. But how long does a car accident settlement take, and what can you expect in the process?
As unsatisfying as the answer may be — the truth is, it depends. Some cases take a few months to settle, while others can take several years. Below, we discuss the general car accident claim timeline as well as what factors could cause your case to take longer.
What Is the Car Accident Settlement Timeline?
Your car accident lawyer will gather evidence from medical records, insurance claims, police reports, and other documentation in order to establish proof of your injuries and determine liability. All of this information can take weeks to obtain.
Identifying and proving your losses
Your attorney will try to determine the nature of your injuries and how they will impact your life going forward. They may work with experts who will provide medical opinions about your condition. This is an important step in determining what you can expect in a car accident settlement.
Sending a demand letter to the insurance company
Often, this step can lead to a resolution before a lawsuit is even filed. The demand letter will put legal pressure on the insurance company to pay for your damages. It will also detail your losses and specify an amount of money that you and your attorney think is appropriate for settlement.
Filing a lawsuit
If the demand letter and negotiations do not go well, your attorney may have to file a lawsuit. This will initiate the litigation process.
This is where the bulk of legal casework takes place. The process includes obtaining information from the defendant’s attorneys about their defense strategy, getting witness depositions, and developing a legal strategy for your own case.
Negotiation and mediation
Most cases are settled outside of court. Car accident cases can be expensive and time-consuming for both sides. Your attorney may use the negotiation phase to try to reach an agreement regarding compensation for your damages.
If negotiations fail, you may have to take the case to trial. While this is rare, it may give you the opportunity to maximize your compensation. The jury will determine how much money you will be awarded.
What Factors Could Impact the Length of My Case?
Here are some of the factors that could cause your car accident settlement to take longer than expected:
- Severity of injuries: Proving your injuries, losses, future medical expenses, etc. requires considerable time. The more severe your injuries, the longer it will take to gather the necessary information.
- Unclear liability: If there is a question about who caused the accident, the insurance company may dispute the claim.
- Responsiveness of other parties: It may take a long time to contact the defendant and their insurance company, especially if they left the scene of the accident without giving you appropriate information.
- Compliance of the insurer: The insurer may try to offer a low settlement or refuse to accept that your injuries are as severe as you claim.
- Litigation process: Taking a case through trial, from discovery to jury verdict, can significant impact case length..
- Hospital and health insurance liens: If your hospital issued a lien against your settlement, you will have to investigate the lien’s validity and negotiate your claim.
How long does a car accident settlement take? An experienced car accident attorney can help you examine the specifics of your case and estimate the timeline. To learn more, contact Etengoff Pak Law Group today.