Time is not a luxury for someone involved in a car accident. If you’ve been hurt in a crash, you probably live with a great deal of pain. You might be unable to work while also facing expensive medical bills. The idea of waiting to get payment for these costs only makes you more frustrated. So, how long does it take to get a settlement from a car accident?
The answer isn’t simple. Each case is different. One car accident settlement could be resolved in a few months, while another might take years. If you want a clearer picture of how long your case might take, let’s look at a few factors that determine how long the settlement process lasts:
- The severity of your suffering
- The extent of your damages
- The complexity of the car accident
- The willingness of insurance companies to cooperate.
We’ll dig into these in greater detail below. First, let’s break down some of the steps involved in the process of filing a car accident claim to give you a better idea of what to expect.
Breaking Down the Car Accident Claim Process
A car accident claim can have several different processes before reaching a settlement. Though your case will be unique, you might expect the following steps when filing a car accident injury case.
Hiring a Car Accident Attorney
Hiring a car accident attorney is usually the quickest part of the process. Your attorney will understand how important it is to get started on filing your claim. Take time to hire the right attorney for your case. Look at their experience and meet with them in a free consultation to see if they are the right fit.
Beginning the Claim
Beginning your claim requires preparing paperwork and notifying the person you will name in your claim (and their insurance company) that you will be demanding compensation. This part of the process generally doesn’t take long. It will usually take just a few weeks – at most – to begin your claim.
The discovery period varies greatly from one case to another. One reason for this is that some people require extensive medical treatment for their injuries. Your attorney must determine when sufficient treatment has occurred to make sure they can properly quantify not only your past medical, but any future medical too. This process can take a few months up to a year. In the most extreme cases, it can last even longer. This is where the hard work of filing a claim begins. It includes investigations, correspondence with insurance companies or other attorneys, consultations with experts, recreations of the crash, and several other processes. Though your attorney will work hard to do what needs to be done quickly, they will be dependent on the other side for some of these steps.
Settlement or Trial
If the other side is willing to negotiate your settlement, the process could take several weeks or several months. If a trial is necessary, the process of preparation and the trial itself could also take several months. Settlement negotiations can also take place at the same time as the trial. Once a settlement is reached, you will start receiving payment in accordance with the terms of the negotiation. Your settlement could be received in one lump sum or in several payments.
If a trial is necessary, the verdict of a car accident case will usually happen very soon after both sides make their arguments. However, the other side might appeal the decision, which would delay the payment you receive.
So, the entire process could unfold over the course of a couple months if a claim is small and no trial is needed. However, it is more likely that a case will take more than a year to resolve – or even much longer.
Fast is Not Always Best
You might be tempted to hope for the fastest settlement possible. In many cases, rushing to settle comes at the expense of the amount you receive. For example, an insurance company’s initial offer might only be a fraction of the money you deserve, so accepting it will mean that you receive money quickly, though you could have received far more if you let the process of your legal claim play out.
The more you deserve in damages, the longer it can take to resolve a case. When a lot of money is at stake, insurance companies and opposing attorneys invest more time and energy opposing your claim. So, if you are owed a lot of compensation, consider how patience might serve you well in the long run.
How Long Does It Take to Get A Settlement from A Car Accident? 4 Factors to Consider.
We discussed earlier the factors that determine the length of a car accident case. Let’s take a closer look…
The severity of your suffering. If you’ve been badly injured in a crash, then you might not know how serious the financial impact of the injuries will be until several months following your crash. It’s possible that you will continue to find out the many ways you’re paying the price for another driver’s negligence for months or years following the accident.
The extent of your damages. As we said above, the more compensation you deserve, the longer your case will take to resolve. Though there are exceptions, it’s often true that the more money an insurance company owes you, the more resources they’ll throw at contesting your claim.
The complexity of the car accident. Proving the cause of the crash can be easy or difficult. For example, if you were hit by a drunk driver, then proving fault will be simple. However, many cases aren’t this straightforward. The more complex your car accident, the longer you can expect a case to last.
The willingness of insurance companies to cooperate. Your attorney will understand that you prefer getting compensation sooner rather than later, so they will work hard to do their part as efficiently as possible. Unfortunately, so many of the processes we’ve discussed depend on the willingness of the other side to cooperate. As you can imagine, insurance companies, opposing attorneys and at-fault parties aren’t always willing to work with you and your attorney. Their actions will dictate the length of time your claim takes to settle.
Contact Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law Today to Get Started
How long does it take to get a settlement for a car accident case? It really depends on all the factors we’ve discussed. To get a better understanding of what you can expect in your claim, contact Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law at (713) 973-8888 to schedule a free consultation. We want to hear more about your car accident, so we can tell you more about the process.