You’re in a car accident. There are medical bills, and you’re out of work. You need financial compensation quickly.
What’s a typical car accident settlement timeline? How long does a car accident settlement take?
Our car accident lawyers explain car accident settlement timelines.
What is a typical car accident settlement timeline?
A car accident settlement timeline depends on the circumstances and details of the case. When the damages are minor and fault is not contested, you may have a settlement in several weeks. A case with severe injuries usually takes much longer.
Unfortunately, there is no typical car accident settlement time. Minor accidents may reach a settlement in several weeks, while a complex case may take a year or even longer.*
*Each case is different. Discuss your case with your lawyer for a personalized evaluation.
What you should know about a car accident settlement timeline is that there is an important balance between being thorough and being fast. Getting the compensation that you’re entitled to under the law can take significant research, documentation and negotiation – especially if you have injuries that are significant or severe. However, you also need compensation quickly. Successful litigation strikes the right balance between these two important considerations.
How can a lawyer help me with a car accident settlement timeline?
One of the things your car accident lawyer does to represent you effectively is help you strike the right balance with your car accident settlement timeline. They know what documentation you need to win your case, and they can guide you through the process of securing it as quickly as possible. They can prepare legal documents and respond to the other side efficiently.
At the same time, they know what your case is worth and the process needed to help you strike the right balance. A car accident lawyer helps you manage all the necessary considerations, including resolving your case within a reasonable time given its complexity.
What factors impact a car accident settlement timeline?
Factors that may impact a car accident settlement timeline are:
- Whether fault is admitted or disputed
- Insurance policies and their limits
- How complex medical injuries are; how long it takes to determine the full extent of injuries
- Disputes as to the amount of damages
- Shared or comparative fault
- Discovery and legal processes necessary to build the claim
- The availability of witnesses
- Whether an insurance company acts in bad faith to deny a valid claim
- Your diligence in pursuing the case
Why is my car accident settlement taking so long?
A car accident settlement may seem like it is taking a long time because of the time it takes to document complex injuries. Alternatively, the legal case itself may be complex. When there are issues of who is at fault or what insurance company should pay, it may take time to build up the evidence.
Getting compensated isn’t automatic – the compensation that you deserve takes diligent and skillful work. The plaintiff is the victim who seeks compensation. They have the burden of proof. That means they must prove their right to damages. When a case is disputed or extraordinarily detailed for any reason, gathering the proof can take time. That isn’t to say that the case isn’t great – it might be a great case. But still, it can take time to gather the evidence that you need to succeed. Focusing exclusively on a fast resolution can result in a settlement that is inadequate based on the victim’s losses and what they truly deserve under car accident laws.
Common causes for delays in car accident claims
Some common causes for delays in car accident claims are:
- Trouble serving the defendant with the legal paperwork
- Gathering documentation of medical bills, lost work and other financial losses
- Investigating long-term medical care and the financial implications of severe injuries
- Developing evidence like medical experts and accident reconstruction
- Multiple vehicles being involved in the crash
- Pending criminal charges, like drunk driving
- Interplay between insurance companies when multiple policies are involved
- Waiting for the court to schedule hearings or trial
Some delays are not within your control. Other causes for delay are things that your lawyer can address to speed up the process.
What can I do if my car accident settlement is pending and I need medical care now?
Even if you know that a fair car accident settlement takes time, you need medical care now. What can you do to get medical care that you need? A medical lien can allow you to receive the medical care you need now. Later, you pay the health care provider out of the funds you receive from the settlement. You get the medical care that you need now with a legal promise to the health care provider that they are going to get paid as soon as you have a settlement.
A medical lien isn’t appropriate in all case. It may be right for you if you don’t have your own health insurance or if the deductibles or co-pays are too much. Not all providers are willing to accept a lien. Our lawyers can help you determine if it’s appropriate in your case.
What can I do if I think my car accident settlement is taking too long?
When we represent a car accident victim, we want them to have confidence that the legal system is working for them. If you have questions about your car accident settlement, how long it’s taking and the timeline, we invite you to reach out to us. Let our lawyers explain the legal process and what is going on at each stage in the case.
Our experienced car accident lawyers help clients balance the need for fast compensation with the need for compensation that is fair and complete. While a settlement takes time, it shouldn’t take longer than necessary. It’s our goal to manage the delays that are within our control and work to the best possible result in your case, whether your claim is large or small.
We’re taking new cases. Contact our lawyers for car accident settlements today to talk about your case.