It can be very frustrating to deal with an insurance company after a car accident. Even if you are convinced that you are entitled to a certain amount of money, the insurance company may take a long time to process your claim. They may also try to take advantage of the fact that you need money quickly.
This can be a very stressful and overwhelming time for accident victims and their families. The good news is that you may be able to recover compensation for your damages by filing a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
In this two-part guide, we’ll go over everything you need to know about handling car settlements.
How Long Does it Take to Get a Settlement?
Car accident settlements can take a long time to finalize. The amount of time it takes for a personal injury case to settle depends on a lot of different factors. Some cases are very simple and can be resolved in just a few weeks, while others can drag on for years. It all depends on the specific details of the case and the parties involved.
Most car accident cases take 9-18 months to settle. Some cases may settle sooner, while others may take longer or not settle at all and go to trial.
Factors that Lengthen Your Settlement Process
Some of the most common factors that tend to drag out car accident settlement negotiations are:
1) Clear Fault
If the other driver is clearly at fault for the accident and there is no dispute as to who is responsible, the settlement process will likely be shorter and less complex.
When there is no clear evidence of fault, insurance companies will often have to rely on their own investigators to make a determination. This can often lead to a dispute between the insurance companies, which can further complicate matters for the drivers involved.
The insurance company may try to argue that their driver was not at fault or that you were also at fault. To counter these arguments, you may need to do your own extensive investigation, which could include talking to experts in different areas, reconstructing the accident, getting any dash cam or security footage, and more. All of these can take some time to process.
2) Value of Your Car Claim
If your car is totaled and you have collision coverage, the insurance company will pay the actual cash value of your vehicle at the time of the accident. The value of your car will be determined by your car’s make, model, year, and condition.
If you have a small claim with only a few thousand dollars in damages, the adjuster may approve it more quickly. Or, if it’s clear that their driver is at fault and the damages you’ve suffered greatly exceed the maximum amount of coverage the policy offers, they may offer a policy limits settlement quickly.
3) Reaching Maximum Medical Improvement
If you have been injured in a car accident, you may have suffered a serious injury that prevents you from returning to work. If you are still undergoing medical treatment, your car insurance company may wait until you reach maximum medical improvement (MMI).
When you’re in a car accident, you’re already feeling a lot of stress. The factors above can give you a rough estimate of how long before you can reach settlement. In the next part of this guide, we’ll dive deeper into talking to a car accident lawyer and what else to expect during settlement.
Circeo Law Firm can help you weave through legal matters during this time. We are experts in cases involving car and truck accidents, including settlements. Get in touch with us today to learn how.