How long does an accident claim last?

How long does an accident claim last?

After being in a car accident that was not your fault, you have the right to file an injury claim to recover compensation for your damages.

Many victims wonder how long an accident claim lasts, however, the answer is not simple. It depends on the case, but normally it takes from a few months to several years.

Sometimes an agreement can be reached in just a few months. But there are also more complex cases that require a lot of work and waiting.

How long does an accident claim last?

Factors Influencing a Settlement Schedule

There are a few factors that can influence how quickly a car accident claim is resolved, including:

  • Problems in determining and proving liability
  • The extent of injuries and other damages.
  • The quality and quantity of evidence of damage.
  • How soon the insurance company responds to the claim settlement negotiation
  • To understand how these factors impact the timing of a car accident claim , let’s look at each of them individually.

Read also: How long do I have to report a car accident?

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1. Determination and proof of responsibility

If a driver’s negligence caused your accident and your injuries, they will likely be liable for damages.

However, sometimes it is difficult to prove fault or there is disagreement about who actually caused the accident.

If you’re having trouble proving that the other driver was at fault, you may have a hard time getting the insurance company to make you a reasonable offer.

This can slow down the entire claim process. Fortunately, a car accident attorney can guide you on the best path forward.

2. Extent of car accident injuries and other damages

The details of the injuries can also play a significant role in how long it will take to resolve a car accident claim.

If you have serious injuries that you are still receiving treatment for, it can take weeks or even months to fully calculate what your medical damages will be.

It may take some time for your doctor to determine how long your recovery will take or how extensive your treatment will be.

Less specific injury claims can also slow down the process.

If you have soft tissue injuries, such as whiplash or generalized pain, the insurance company may raise a red flag and require additional information , as these types of injuries are often used in fraudulent claims.

Achieving maximum medical improvement

Maximum medical improvement (MMI) is the point at which your condition has improved as much as expected, even if you had to receive additional treatment.

It is better to wait until you reach the MMI before settling your case. Otherwise, you or your attorney will not be able to assign the correct value to your damages.

If you try to settle before MMI, you will not be compensated for additional losses you face from your car accident injuries in the future.

3. The quality and quantity of evidence of damage

Sometimes an injury victim’s doctor will have trouble determining if their injuries were actually caused by negligence in the accident.

If this happens, you can be sure that the insurance company will use it as a reason to deny compensation for those damages.

You should find a doctor who can testify that your injuries were caused by the negligence of the other driver. This takes more time and can increase the time needed to reach a fair settlement.

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4. Insurance company response time

Insurance companies can take their time responding to a claim, which can be frustrating and will make the case last longer.

An insurer may delay responding so that you get tired of waiting and drop the case. Although it is also possible that more time is required to investigate each detail of liability and damages.

5. Negotiation or filing of a lawsuit

Once the insurance company has accepted your claim and made you an offer or denied your claim, you need to decide how to proceed. You will be able to:

  • Accept a claim offer
  • Appeal a claim denial
  • Reject an offer and negotiate a higher deal
  • Reject the offer and file a civil lawsuit for compensation

It is best to consult with a car accident attorney before proceeding with the process. They will be able to help you weigh the pros and cons of each and analyze what is best for you.

Obviously, accepting a claim offer will resolve your case as quickly as possible. However, it’s not worth it if the offer is way below what you need to recover your damages.

If you appeal or start negotiating a higher settlement, the claim will take longer. And if a civil suit is filed in court, the process will take even longer.

How long does an accident claim last?

Most car accident cases settle and do not lead to litigation (the civil lawsuit process).

However, if there is a dispute over who was at fault for the accident or the extent of an injured person’s damages, a car accident lawsuit becomes a distinct possibility.

So let ‘s see how long an accident claim lasts .

The litigation process for each case will differ based on a number of factors, but the following personal injury lawsuit timeline provides a rough idea of ​​how long the entire process may take.

Phases of a car accident claim

  • Step 1: The plaintiff files the complaint and the lawsuit officially begins.
  • Step 2: The Plaintiff will serve a copy of the Complaint on the Defendant.
    This usually takes a few weeks to complete, but can sometimes take several months if the defendant is particularly difficult to locate.
  • Step 3: The defendant responds to the complaint.
    Depending on the specific court where the lawsuit is pending, the defendant will have approximately one month to file their answer to the plaintiff’s lawsuit.
  • Step 4: Discovery occurs. Each side will request and exchange information that could serve as potential evidence at trial.
    Discovery almost always takes at least a few months to complete, but can sometimes take up to a year or more.
  • Step 5: The car accident trial is held and usually only takes a day or two to complete.
  • Step 6: possible appeal. If one of the parties is not happy with the outcome of the trial, it is possible to file an appeal.
    There are several levels of appeals. Even a single level of appeal could add several years to the length of a case.

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Read also: How to Report a Stolen Car : Easy Guide

The above timeline actually leaves out several phases of litigation that can add several more months to the overall car accident case process.

For example, before the defendant answers the lawsuit, he can file a motion to dismiss in an attempt to win the case before having to file an answer.

Or once discovery is complete, but before trial, one of the parties can try to win the case by filing a motion for summary judgment.

From start to finish, a car accident lawsuit will likely take at least a year to complete, assuming it goes to trial and there is no appeal.

But just because a car accident lawsuit has started means it will be completed. In fact, that is highly unlikely.

It often happens that, at some point in the process, the case is resolved before trial.
How long could you wait for your settlement check?

If you and the insurance company can come to a fair settlement, the process of receiving your check usually takes about four to six weeks.

The insurance company will ask you to sign a form that officially resolves the claim and states that you are giving up any right to sue the driver or other party who caused your injuries.

Once you submit the release and the insurance company receives it, they will pay the amount of money you agreed to.

The amount is usually sent to the car accident attorney by check. Once the attorney’s fees are deducted, you will receive a check with the remaining balance.

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