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How Long Does A Car Accident Settlement Take?

It is difficult to predict how long a vehicle accident settlement may take. The length of a vehicle accident settlement can vary greatly according to a variety of reasons. In some circumstances, the settlement process can last anywhere from a few weeks to many months. The intricacy of the incident, the severity of the injuries sustained, and the amount of money involved in the settlement are all elements that will have a significant impact on the settlement’s duration. Going to court is another major event that can have a significant impact on the time it takes to reach a settlement, as going to trial can add months or even years to the resolution of the case.

How Long Does A Car Accident Settlement Take 2
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What factors affect how long it takes to settle a car accident case?

Severity of the injuries

One of the most deciding factors of a car settlement duration is the severity of the injuries sustained by the victim. To make sure you will receive fair compensation for your injuries, you and your lawyer will have to wait until you are completely healed or you are close to being completely recovered. Reaching a settlement when the victim is still far from being recovered may result in accepting much less money than necessary. Sometimes things may get more complicated and the victim may need a new surgery, some kind of physical therapy that can be costly, or another type of medical care. Therefore, it is always best to wait until the medical expenses are clear. Once you accept a settlement offer, you also accept not to pursue further compensation in the future. 

Evidence gathering

If you are working with a personal injury lawyer, they will probably be investigating the events that caused the accident and trying to get the maximum amount of evidence possible, while you are recovering from your injuries. In some cases, the obtention of the evidence may be difficult and takes time. Sometimes, lawyers will have to work with other professionals like accidents reconstructionists to have a better idea of what happened. Additionally, if you were able to collect the personal information of any eyewitnesses, your lawyer may need to contact and interview them. If many people witnessed the accident, this step may take a long time. 

Negotiating with the insurance company

You will have to wait a few weeks for the insurance company to contact you with their initial offer to settle the case. Typically, the initial offer is far from a fair settlement. As a result, your lawyer will have to begin negotiating with the insurance company in order to obtain a fair settlement offer. This negotiation can take several weeks, especially if the amount of money granted by the insurance company and the amount of money requested by your accident lawyer are vastly different.

What are the steps to settle a car accident claim?

An accident claim has some steps that have to be followed in order to receive compensation for your injuries. 

Seek medical care

Even if you feel well, the first thing you should do following a car accident is to seek medical attention as quickly as possible. In many circumstances, injuries are not immediately visible after an accident. If you go to the hospital, doctors will examine you and may order some tests to ensure that everything is in order. Furthermore, all medical records, bills, and documents will be used as proof later in the claim procedure. If you choose not to go to the hospital after an accident, the insurance company may argue that your injuries were probably not as severe as you claim.

Contact a car accident lawyer

Working with a professional is always a good idea. Personal injury attorneys that specialize in car accidents can make a huge difference in the amount of money you could receive. Most experienced car accidents lawyers will also be able to gather useful evidence that will definitely help your claim be more credible. Personal injury attorneys are also used to negotiating with insurance companies and they know their tactics very well. 

Initial settlement offer

The insurance company will send you and your lawyer an initial offer. In most cases, this offer is below what would be considered a reasonable settlement. It is crucial to review this and any other offer sent by the insurance company with your lawyer before accepting a settlement. 

Negotiating with the insurance company

Most likely, you and your lawyer will agree that the initial offer is too low and will not cover all your expenses. Next, your lawyer will start a negotiation process with the insurance company. This process can take some time because the insurance company will always try to pay as little as possible and your lawyer will fight to get fair compensation. If your lawyer manages to reach a fair settlement with the insurance company, then your case is practically resolved. In some cases, a settlement cannot be reached through negotiation, therefore, you and your lawyer will have to discuss the option of initiating an accident lawsuit. 

Filing a personal injury lawsuit

If your lawyer and the insurance company were not able to reach a settlement, your next step will be to file a personal injury lawsuit. Personal injury lawsuits can be long and exhausting legal processes. Fortunately, if you have a lawyer, they will take care of the most tedious parts of the process. Sometimes, insurance companies will try to make a final offer before going to court. They know that a lawsuit can be more costly for them, therefore it is very likely that they will offer a reasonable amount to settle the case before the trial begins. 

Going to court

If nothing has been resolved up to this point, the final step will be to go to trial. Here your lawyer will represent you as the plaintiff. A trial can take years to reach a verdict. If you and your lawyer have built a solid case, it is possible that the jury will award fair compensation for you. Keep in mind that going to court also adds expenses that may or may not be covered by the party that loses the case. 

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Is it better to settle a car accident case or go to court?

Going to trial is not always preferable to settling a lawsuit outside of court, but it will undoubtedly take more time. Because each accident is unique, you should consult with your lawyer to ensure you make the best decision. Consider that if you go to court, you might be able to acquire a decent recompense that the insurance company is probably unwilling to provide you. However, if you lose the case, you will not only not receive any compensation, but you will also most likely be required to pay for the legal expenses associated with a lawsuit.

What factors are most likely to delay a car accident settlement?

  • Severe injuries: As previously mentioned, severe injuries may delay the settlement process because it would not be a good idea to reach a settlement without actually knowing the extent of your injuries and the future costs they may represent.
  • Delays from the insurance company: The insurance company can take weeks to get back to you once you have sent the demand package. Additionally, they can delay other processes on purpose to push you to accept an unfair offer quickly. 
  • Accusations against you: In some cases, the insurance company may argue that your injuries were not caused by the accident and were pre-existing. If this happens, you and your lawyer will have to gather the evidence necessary to prove that your injuries were actually caused by the collision. 
  • Multi-vehicle crashes: Collisions that involve more than two cars can take longer to be settled. If more cars are involved, then more investigation and more evidence are needed.

How long does it take to receive payment after a case is settled?

Once a car accident case is settled, it may take about 6 weeks for you to receive your payment. First, you and your lawyer will have to sign the release documents and send them to the insurance company. After that, the insurance company will send a check payable to you and your lawyer. Your lawyer will deposit this check into an escrow account to clear the funds. Once the bank has cleared the funds, unpaid liens and legal fees and costs will be deducted. Finally, your lawyer will send you a check with the remaining amount of money. 

What are the things you need to communicate with your lawyer for the car accident settlement?

To be able to successfully get fair compensation for your injuries after a car accident is necessary to have great communication with your lawyer. You and your lawyer must always be on the same page, if the insurance company makes an offer to settle, it is necessary that you discuss it with your lawyer before accepting anything. Similarly, you need to listen to your lawyer’s advice. They are there to look for your best interests. It is crucial to be completely honest with your lawyer, they need to know anything you know about the accident. That way it will be easier for them to help you. 

If you have recently been involved in a car accident and you need a personal injury lawyer, do not hesitate in contacting us. At Greenberg & Stein P.C. You will find some of the best attorneys in New York. Our legal team has years of experience working with car accident victims. We have represented numerous people in court and we have recovered millions of dollars in compensation for them. Call us at 212-969-2535 to schedule a free consultation with one of our personal injury lawyers to review your case.