If you have the unfortunate experience of being involved in a road accident, it can be one of the most stressful and frightening times of your life.
A car accident is one of the worst possibilities that can happen to you when you’re driving. Most of the time, someone is at fault but if you suffer a personal injury and you were not to blame, you have the right to file for a personal injury claim and get compensation for any damages.
If you were the one responsible for a crash, you will be liable and may need a defense lawyer. This can be a very stressful time and very expensive. Whatever the situation is, the wait for a car settlement can seem like an eternity. Many people wonder how long this will take and, truth be told, it can vary from three months to a year.
Working on insurance negotiations and resolution processes can take a long time. Once the settlement release is signed it will be a frustrating wait for any outcome.
We are going to discuss the process and the amount of time you should expect to wait for your car settlement so you can move forward with peace of mind.
Factors that Affect the Time Taken
Various factors can contribute to the time it takes for a settlement. The following factors should be taken into consideration for your personal situation.
The Entire Process of Obtaining the Settlement
Trying to seek compensation from your insurer after an accident can be trickier than many would prefer. To get your claim you will need to:
- Obtain witness statements
- Exchange insurance information with the other driver involved in the accident
- Find a reputable and renowned car accident law firm to hire and sign an agreement with
- Negotiate with your insurance company
- Note down your medical charges along with other damages that you want to seek compensation with
- You’ll have to prove liability - This is if the other driver led to your accident and injury. Proving this can be difficult as there can often be a disagreement with who caused the accident. If you can not prove that the subsequent driver was at fault, it could take a while for your claims to process and the insurance company to release any compensation
- Prove the extent of your injuries - The money your insurance company pays out also takes your medical bills into consideration. If you have severe injuries that require a lengthy stay in the hospital, it could take some time to determine your medical damages overall. It can take a long time for your doctors to determine how long it could take for you to fully recover as well as how extensive certain treatments may be. You will have to send information on the extent of your injuries to your lawyer to account for all the damages involved in your claim. Injuries that are not so serious such as whiplash or soft tissue injuries would be harder to prove as your insurance company will require more detailed information to ensure the claim is not fraudulent.
- Consider Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI) - This is a certain point in your treatment when your condition has improved to the amount it was expected to. Before your case is settled, it is advised that you wait until this point. This is because your lawyer can calculate your damages more accurately.
- Take into account your insurance company’s response time - Some companies delay the process in the hope you will give up and drop the claim. Many insurance companies will investigate precise aspects of the case in detail which can be a long process.
- Determine the damage caused - It can be difficult for your doctor to determine whether your injuries were caused by the accident or your own negligence. Insurance companies can use this uncertainty against you and deny compensation. To combat this, you will need to look for a doctor who will testify that your injuries were caused by the other driver.
If you have successfully settled a car accident claim, most insurance companies will mail checks out within around 30 days. After the resolution of a claim, the usual wait for a settlement check is one to two weeks.
However, as we have discussed above, this process can take longer depending on which insurance company you are dealing with. If the insurance company requires all parties to sign a release first, this could stall any payment.
Medical bills, attorney’s expenses, court costs, and subrogation liens are all driving factors that can affect the time it takes for a payment to be made as these need to be covered before you receive your payout.
When is it necessary to file a lawsuit?
If your insurance company has accepted your claim, they can make you an offer or deny it. Either way, you will have to consider the best course of action.
You can accept the company’s offer or appeal your claim’s denial. You can also reject the offer and negotiate for a higher payment or file a civil suit for compensation. This can be a very difficult and stressful decision so it is recommended that you seek professional help from a car accident lawyer. They will discuss the pros and cons of each possible decision.
For the fastest method with less hassle, accepting the offer is best. Nonetheless, this may not be worth it if the amount put forward by the insurance company is so low, it wouldn’t even cover your damages. Negotiating will take longer while court proceedings will take the longest amount of time.
As you can see, there are many factors to consider when waiting for a car settlement. It can be a long drawn out and frustrating process especially if there are disagreements between you and the other driver.
Once you and your insurer agree on an amount, this check should be with you within four to six weeks but as we stated above, it can take a lot longer. Signing a release form will settle the claim officially and states that you will not sue the other drive or any other party involved in the accident.
Once the insurance company sends the check to your lawyer, they will deduct the necessary fees and send you the balance as a check. If you are still unsure, discuss your case with your lawyer for more information.