A car accident can affect a person’s life in more ways than one. In addition to the physical injuries that you may have sustained, there are also financial damages from the wreck.
If you choose to file a claim for compensation, it is important to know how long this process takes so that you can plan accordingly and get back on your feet as soon as possible.
Some cases are resolved quickly, and some may take more time before a fair settlement can be reached. Each case is unique, and there are many variables that can affect how long it takes for a case to be resolved.
This article will outline some insight into what kind of time frame should be expected throughout each step of the car accident claim process.
Variables That Affect How Long a Car Accident Settlement Takes
There can be dozens of variables that affect how long a case takes to settle or resolve. An experienced car accident lawyer can analyze the variables and provide an estimate on how long a case may take to resolve.
A car accident lawyer will typically examine three main variables to estimate how long a case may take to settle or resolve. These include:
- Is it clear who is at fault?
- How bad are the injuries?
- Will the insurance company try to delay the case or take it to court?
Is It Clear Who Is at Fault?
In some accidents, it may be immediately obvious who is at fault. However, in other accidents, there may be a dispute as to who caused the accident. For example, each party may claim that the traffic light was green for them or that they had the right of way.
In disputed fault situations, car accident cases generally cannot be settled until both sides can complete an investigation to determine who caused the accident to happen.
The fault investigation can include photographs, interviewing witnesses, statements, and sometimes depositions and discovery. Each party may want to look into some or all of the above items before a case can be resolved.
Should that be the case, a settlement will be delayed while the investigation is completed. This is typically because an insurance company will not make a reasonable offer until sufficient facts can be provided to prove that they can compensate the car accident victims.
Determining fault can seem simple, but insurance companies frequently dispute fault even in seemingly straightforward cases.
Our experienced car accident lawyer team can explain all the factors that go into determining who was at fault.
How Bad Are the Injuries?
Even if fault can be determined quickly, a case is not usually settled before the extent of the injuries has been evaluated.
For example, will the injuries require many doctor visits or just a few? Will there be a need for long-term treatment or just short-term treatment? How will this impact future medical bills? Is there a need to see a specialist? Is surgery recommended? Is there a possibility that more than one surgery might be needed to fix the problem?
Settlement opportunities cannot be properly evaluated until these questions are answered, and the injuries have been completely evaluated by medical professionals.
A common misconception is that a car accident claim is generally settled far quicker if someone suffers severe injuries. However, severe injuries require more treatment than minor injuries, and treatment takes time. Therefore, an insurance company will make low-ball offers until the injuries can be evaluated and the treatment can be completed.
An inexperienced personal injury lawyer or individual may settle a case for too little or before the injuries have been fully evaluated. However, our experienced personal injury lawyer team knows what to look for in the medical records and medical bills when evaluating a case for settlement opportunities.
Will the Insurance Company Try and Delay the Case or Take It to Court?
Insurance companies are notorious for unfairly denying and delaying a personal injury claim. A common misconception is that insurance companies only delay or deny frivolous personal injury cases. But, when an insurance company refuses to make reasonable offers on any valid claim, a car accident lawsuit is likely your best bet at fair compensation.
Even when a lawsuit is filed, an insurance company will often use every delaying tactic they can to avoid paying what they owe. However, if an insurance company refuses to see the light and make a reasonable offer to resolve the case, then a car accident case may even go to trial.
And there are often certain aspects of a case that might make an insurance company less willing to negotiate fairly. For example, is there a history of prior injury claims or car accidents? Could the injury be a pre-existing condition? Could there be a misdiagnosis? Unfortunately, many times insurance companies will use these as excuses to delay or deny your car accident settlement.
Our experienced car accident lawyer team have dealt with a wide variety of insurance companies in counties all over Florida. Our experience enables us to anticipate the delaying tactics that each insurance company uses to drag out your car accident settlement. For each delaying tactic, our office has effective countermeasures in place to keep your car accident case on track.
It is important to keep in mind that there are many factors involved when estimating the car accident settlement process.
At Christopher Ligori and Associates, our team of personal injury lawyers work with clients to help them understand their legal rights and options with car accident claims.
With over 30 years of experience, we know how insurance companies work – so if you have been in an auto accident or are dealing with medical bills from the injuries sustained as a result of one, get in touch with us today for a free consultation.
If you have any questions about how our firm can help with your car accident case, please don’t hesitate to contact us at 813-223-2929. Our experienced attorneys can answer any questions you may have and help you understand the process of how long it takes for a settlement or case to resolve.