After a car accident, one of the most burning issues is how long will it take to reach a settlement. The answer is not always straightforward as several factors come into play in a car accident settlement.
In this blog post, we will explain these factors and explain why it’s crucial to have an experienced Columbus car accident lawyer by your side throughout the process.
The Average Timeline of a Car Accident Claim
On average, a car accident claim takes six to twelve months depending on the severity of injuries and the willingness of the insurance company to settle. Here are the steps in the process.
- Getting treatment for your injuries – 1-2 months: This period can vary significantly if you suffered severe or life-changing injuries, and may extend to 5-6 months
- Your car crash lawyer works with the insurance adjuster for 2-6 months.
- Filing an insurance claim – 2-4 weeks.
- The insurance company gives you a check for vehicle damage, but a settlement for medical bills and pain and suffering won’t happen until a physician completes treatment.
- Negotiation – 2-4 weeks: a skilled lawyer will conduct negotiations to reach an out-of-court settlement. Most car accident claims end with a settlement.
- Filing a car accident lawsuit – 1-3 days: filing suit is the last resort. However, it does not mean that negotiations will stop.
Generally claims for minor injuries take six to twelve months, while claims for more substantial injuries can take multiple years. Several factors can affect this timeline.
1. The Severity of Your Injuries
One of the critical factors that can greatly affect how long a car accident settlement takes is the severity of your injuries. This is because the extent of your injuries will determine not only the amount of compensation you may be entitled to but also the length and complexity of the legal process.
It’s important to note that minor injuries typically result in shorter settlement timelines. These may include things like sprains, strains, or other soft-tissue injuries that heal relatively quickly. In these cases, a settlement can often be reached within a few months.
However, if you have suffered more serious injuries such as broken bones, spinal cord damage, or a traumatic brain injury, it can take much longer to reach a resolution. This is because extensive medical treatment and ongoing rehabilitation may be required before an accurate assessment of damages can be made.
2. Whether Fault Is Contested
The settlement process is generally faster if it’s clear the other driver was at fault, for example, if the police report shows the driver was speeding and ran a red light. If the insurance company can argue you share some responsibility for the accident, they will do so in order to offer a lower settlement.
Georgia is a comparative negligence state for car accident claims. You must be less than 50% at fault to be eligible to seek damages. Your compensation is reduced by your percentage of fault.
When the insurance company tries to shift some of the blame onto you, it can drag out negotiations. If your lawyer and the insurance company can’t agree on a settlement amount, the case may need to go to trial.
Litigation may also be necessary in cases where the other side denies any liability.
3. Gathering Evidence
In cases where determining fault is not straightforward, your lawyer may have to obtain traffic camera footage or recordings made by CCTV cameras installed on private properties.
Without adequate evidence, your car crash lawyer in Columbus cannot start negotiating with the insurance adjuster. Whenever the adjuster tries to downplay the severity of your injuries or their client’s negligence, your lawyer will need to prove these claims with documents, photos, and videos.
4. Amount of Damages
Before negotiating a settlement, your lawyer must assess your damages. This may include past and future medical expenses, lost wages, diminished earning capacity, and pain and suffering.
Calculating your damages is more complex and time-consuming if you suffer serious injuries that will require ongoing medical care and impact your ability to work.
Additionally, insurers fight with every resource they have against large claims. They often use delay tactics, hoping that you will give up or that you won’t notice that the statute of limitations is getting near when they hit you with a denial.
Thankfully, these tactics won’t work with an experienced car crash lawyer in Columbus. They know how long to negotiate so that they still have sufficient time to prepare your case for trial, if necessary.
Let Our Firm Negotiate Your Car Accident Settlement!
When it comes to car accident settlements, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of how long it will take. However, throughout this process, one thing remains constant: you need an experienced lawyer by your side.
A skilled attorney understands the intricacies of personal injury law and knows how to build a strong case on your behalf. They have experience negotiating with insurance companies and fighting for fair compensation for their clients.
Do not waste any valuable time! If you were injured in a car accident, call us now at 229-210-6226 to schedule a free case review with an experienced car accident attorney in Columbus!