How Long Does a Car Accident Settlement Take?

After a car accident, one of the first things you need to do to receive compensation is file an insurance claim. Based on the details of your claim and the consequential lawsuit, you will have to wait a certain amount of time to receive compensation for your settlement.

According to personal injury law firm, Ellis Law, usually accidents that involve personal injuries or extensive property damage may take longer to come to a settlement. This is because there is more information that must be assessed by your insurer, necessitating communications with multiple parties such as police officers, medical professionals, and the other party’s insurance company. The interplay of these factors will directly influence the time your settlement takes, however, you are not at the mercy of these details alone. Hiring an accident attorney can streamline the process of your settlement as they will be able to communicate on your behalf and provide guidance in interacting with the defendant and court.

The Process of Filing a Car Accident Lawsuit

Unfortunately, estimating the timeline in which you will receive your settlement check is nearly impossible. Each settlement is dependent on the individual factors of the collision including any instances of personal injury and the extent of property (public and private), primarily. This also means that the final compensation awarded may significantly differ between cases.

The typical claim proceeds in the following manner:

  • File a complaint: This document may be referred to as a petition and functions as the initiation of the lawsuit. The petition must include any allegations you, as the victim, have against the defendant. The defendant will have the opportunity to formally respond to the petition.
  • Discovery phase: During this time, both parties will share the evidence they plan to bring to trial, both in response to formal requests from the other.
  • Trial: All evidence from both the claimant and the defendant will be presented to a jury. Based on all the presented evidence, the court will award the appropriate compensation to the claimant.
  • Settlement: This most often comes directly after the discovery phase, as the shared evidence will make liability clear. If it occurs after a trial, however, it is unlikely to represent the end of the case, as the defendant may file an appeal.

Note that not all cases go through this process. Some accidents are so simple that they settle immediately after the claim is filed, while others can be completed just before the trial begins. As noted above, if the defendant refuses to pay and attempts to appeal the settlement, your timeline may extend to significantly longer than what was first estimated.

Hire an Attorney to Guide You Through Your Settlement

There are so many factors that compound to either extend or shorten your settlement time. Accidents in which victims incurred injuries or extreme property damages can take significantly longer than a simple fender-bender, for example. Even your insurance company can significantly slow down the process if they are slow to communicate or review evidence.

Before you begin the process of filing a lawsuit, hire an experienced accident attorney. They will be able to advocate on your behalf while communicating with the defendant and all other relevant parties to avoid unnecessary hiccups that may prolong your settlement.