Many factors combine to determine how long it could take to get a settlement from a car accident. From the severity of your injuries to the existence of insurance coverage, these factors could speed up or slow down the process.
There is no easy way to estimate how long a car accident case might take to resolve. Some cases are settled in a matter of weeks, while others drag out for years. It might be impossible to know how long your case will take. You could learn more about the factors that determine how long the process could last, though.
When Settlements Often Occur
There is no firm deadline regarding when a car accident case might settle. The reality is that settlement offers are made and accepted throughout the process. Some settlements occur in the days or weeks after an attorney takes a new case.
This is especially common in situations where the defendant does not dispute that they were at fault. In cases where liability is clear, it is not uncommon for insurance companies to try to resolve the case as soon as possible.
At the End of the Negotiation Process
Not every case will wrap up that quickly. There are some situations where both sides could engage in negotiations for weeks or even months before a lawsuit is ever filed. It is not uncommon for the at-fault party to settle just before the plaintiff files a lawsuit.
After the Lawsuit Begins
Sometimes, the defendant will not make a settlement offer right away. Filing a civil lawsuit against the responsible party often motivates the other side to resolve the case. Some cases resolve soon after lawsuits are filed, while others might not conclude until after discovery is completed. At this point, six months to a year could have gone by since the collision date.
There are times when a car accident case will only settle on the eve of trial. These are the cases that are most likely to take months or even years to resolve.
Factors That Can Delay the Settlement Process
Different factors can impact the amount of time a car accident case takes to settle. Often, more than one of these factors could combine to delay a settlement. While some of these factors might be unavoidable, legal counsel could address others.
Disputed liability is often the primary cause of delays in car accident cases. If the other side acknowledges they were at fault, all that is left is to settle fairly.
On the other hand, a liability dispute could mean that the other side doesn’t make a settlement offer at all. If the other side is certain that they are not at fault, they might even pursue their own injury case against you. This could draw out a case for months or years until a trial date approaches.
The severity of your injuries and the amount of time you need to recover will also impact how long your settlement takes. In fact, if your injuries are debilitating, it is in your best interest to wait on settling your case.
It can benefit you to hold off on settlement until you have reached your maximum medical recovery. If you settle your injury case too early and then require additional treatment, you could be forced to pay for that care on your own.
Lack of Insurance
Car accidents usually settle faster when the at-fault driver has liability insurance. When liability is clear, these claims are usually resolved in fairly short order. Uninsured drivers, on the other hand, often lack the ability to resolve their case at all. Some uninsured drivers opt to take their cases to trial since they have little to lose.
There are some delays that are entirely avoidable during the car accident negotiation process. The insurance company representing the other driver is often happy to allow these cases to drag on endlessly. This is because these insurance companies benefit from holding on to the money owed to injury victims for as long as possible.
Your attorney could pursue a car accident settlement and prevent the insurance company from dragging its feet. By keeping a case moving, your attorney could avoid these unnecessary delays.
You Have Timelines to Consider When Pursuing Damages
Insurance companies have deadlines before which accident victims have to file insurance claims. Similarly, O.C.G.A. § 9-3-33 states that most accident victims typically have two years to file a lawsuit. Your lawyer can perform legal research to discover your options.
Discuss a Car Accident Settlement with Kaine Law Today
If you still have questions about how long it could take to get a settlement for a car accident, the team at Kaine Law has answers. We have multiple decades of experience fighting for the rights of the injured.
To learn how we could use our experience in your car accident case, call (404) 214-2001, and get a free consultation right away.