The average waiting time for a car accident settlement will depend on many factors. It is difficult to determine how quickly a claim may settle. Some take only a few weeks, while others could take months. If a case goes to trial, it may be a year or more from the accident date before the victim learns the verdict.
One of the best ways to ensure your case moves forward as quickly as possible while maximizing the strength of your claim is to work with a car accident attorney from the start. A law firm will have the resources and knowledge to determine what happened, file your claim, and negotiate a settlement.
What Determines How Long Car Accident Settlements Take?
Several factors can affect how long it takes to wrap up a car accident claim. In some cases, you will not be able to file your claim and demand an appropriate payout before completing other steps.
Factors that could alter the timeline for your financial compensation include:
How Difficult It Is to Prove Negligence and Liability
In some cases, it is much more challenging to determine what happened and who is liable than in others. This can significantly delay the process. In addition, investigating the crash itself can have delays. For example, identifying and interviewing witnesses depends greatly on their schedule. This could take weeks or even months.
Other steps in the process of building your claim that could delay the investigation include:
- Accident reconstruction
- Obtaining medical records and other relevant documents
- Gathering evidence from the driver’s employer in a commercial vehicle accident
- Working with experts necessary to prove the case
The Severity of Your Car Accident Injuries
When a crash victim suffers serious injuries, it could take a long time to reach maximum medical improvement. If you have not yet healed from your accident injuries, you may not know how much your medical bills will be. You will either need to wait until you recover or have documentation of:
- What your medical bills will be to date when you file
- Your future medical needs and an estimated cost
If the Case Requires a Lawsuit
If your car accident case goes to trial, it will take much longer than most insurance settlements. There are a few reasons why you may need to sue to recover appropriate compensation:
- Time is running out to sue, which is as little as one year in some states, including Louisiana under La. Civ. Code Art. 3492
- The insurer denies liability or alleges you contributed to the crash
- The insurance company will not agree to a fair case value
In some cases, victims sue, and then their attorney manages to negotiate a better settlement with the insurer before the case progresses in court. This is a common outcome in these cases.
The Insurer Drags Its Feet
Insurance companies often delay offering agreements or continue to lowball possible settlements hoping you will give up because you need money quickly. Alternatively, they hope you will run out of time to sue.
The best way to stop this in your case is to work with a law firm. A car accident lawyer will know the insurance carriers’ tricks and tactics and how to handle the communication to push the case forward.
For a free legal consultation, call (800) 537-8185
How Long do I Have to Wait for My Check After My Case Is Settled?
Once you reach a settlement or the court makes its award, there are several steps before you receive your check. First, your attorney or another party will prepare the official documents, and you must sign them.
Only after these documents are final will the insurance company mail a check. This generally happens within 30 days of the agreement date. However, in many cases, it takes only a week or two.
If you worked with a car accident lawyer, the insurer will mail the check to the law firm. The legal team will deposit the check, take their agreed-on percentage, and cut you a new check. Then, they should deliver it to you as soon as possible.
Is There a Quicker Option to Settle My Car Accident Claim?
In many cases, insurers offer an initial settlement to an accident victim quickly following a crash. This is not a good idea to accept in the vast majority of cases. You will not know the value of your case, including the extent of your injuries, time away from work, or property damage at this early stage.
These are usually lump-sum offers that seem like a lot of money. However, accepting those means you have to sign away your right to pursue any additional compensation. You do not want to trade the opportunity of a fair settlement for a quick solution. Therefore, it is a good idea to speak with an attorney before you sign anything so they can advise you.
Contact Our Law Firm Today to Receive a Free Case Review
The Morris Bart law firm offers free case consultations for car accident victims in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Arkansas. We have 15 offices across four states, and case results show our team knows how to fight for the financial compensation our clients need and deserve.
Call (800) 537-8185 to get started today.
Questions?Call (800) 537-8185
to find a Morris Bart office near you.