Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all time frame for a settlement after a car accident. This is because many different factors play a role in the time frame. Every car accident case is different and the time varies based on the facts and details of the case.
Generally, auto accident claims may take 9 to 18 months. Each party or attorney investigates on each end, and if there are severe injuries and property damage, the settlement process tends to be even more complex and time-consuming.
Different ways to pursue compensation
You may seek to recover compensation in two ways: file a claim with the insurance company or file a lawsuit for a car accident settlement with the appropriate court.
Both options take time and are not overnight processes. Frequently, an insurance company will attempt to exploit delays to force you into an unfavorable settlement agreement. Therefore, it’s important to consult a Philadelphia car accident lawyer when dealing with unscrupulous insurance agents.
If you file a car crash settlement lawsuit, you will likely have to participate in a series of hearings and other legal proceedings before a settlement or trial is reached. Sadly, normal legal processes simply take a lot of time and can delay your settlement.
The car accident lawsuit process
Many car accident cases do settle without a lawsuit. However, the whole process can generally be summed up as follows:
- The plaintiff files the complaint
- The defendant gives an answer to the complaint
- In the discovery phase, parties exchange information and gather evidence for the trial phase.
- Next comes the car accident case settlement. Many cases do come to a settlement after the discovery phase and before the trial phase.
- The trial phase happens if the case has not settled by this point. In this phase, the plaintiff presents their allegations and evidence in court.
- Finally, if a party does not agree with the judgment, they can file an appeal.
A full car settlement process can take several months, even years. Every case is unique, so if a potential attorney tells you to expect a specific time frame right off the bat, you may want to view this as a red flag.
Several factors determine the course of the settlement process
Depending on your circumstances, you may even have to wait until after a settlement is approved for your compensation claim. Since the process is complicated and time-consuming, there may be several creditors in line for payment before you receive your share.
Some more factors that may affect your settlement process include:
Determining liability: It is difficult to determine liability and prove negligence in car crashes. Furthermore, if you share fault in the accident, such as not following car seat laws or not wearing a car seat belt, it can further complicate things. Furthermore, damages and severity of injuries may increase the average time to settle auto accident claims.
Eyewitness statements: If there are multiple eyewitnesses at the accident scene, they may be able to provide useful evidence. However, talking to each witness can take additional time in the case.
Recovery time of the accident victim: If you are getting medical treatment for your injuries for an extended time, it further adds to medical expenses. Only after complete recovery can medical expenses be fully estimated. Thus, your unique recovery timeline can vary widely from the average car accident settlement time.
Negotiation with the insurance company: According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), in 2015 and 2016, accident rates increased along with the size of insurance claims. If an accident is fatal, it almost invariably increases the average time to settlement. Remember that car insurance companies will always try to devalue your claim. Different insurance providers may have different average times to settle car accident claims.
When will I get my settlement check?
After an accident claim settles, the victim can expect a settlement check in approximately six weeks. However, there can be exceptions and delays depending on the circumstances surrounding the filing of a car accident lawsuit.
What happens if I do not receive a car settlement check within six weeks?
Although the average time of receiving a settlement is six weeks, there may be some delays. These delays can occur due to more time taken by the investigating officers or insurance companies. Be sure to discuss your specific case with someone who gives you specific, and trustworthy, legal guidance.
What is a demand package for settlement?
A demand package is a written submission to an insurance company inviting them to settle a case. This happens before any lawsuit begins.
Some things that may be required in a demand package include:
- Provide documents when your medical treatment is almost completed or you are at maximum recovery
- Sending documents of all medical bills
- The insurance company will evaluate the claim which may take at least 15 to 90 days.
The timeframe may differ based on the specific case. Schedule a free evaluation with a personal injury attorney to get useful insights into your case. They can fight with the insurance companies and negotiate to pursue a settlement.