When a car accident occurs, especially when there is an injury, victims often ask "What is the time frame on receiving a settlement?"
We find that victims want to put the accident behind them and move on. Yet, they need the funds from the settlement to pay medical bills or support their family. Unfortunately, it's hard to answer this question considering the variety of cases we see. Every case is different, and depending on the severity and complexity of the accident, the settlement could take months or years to settle.
In most cases, the case can be settled quicker if you are willing to take less money. But there are other factors that can drag out a case. We'll discuss those factors in this article.
Are you still receiving medical treatment?
Your case will be delayed if you are still receiving treatment. If you are able to wait, it's best not to settle your case until you are at a point of maximum medical improvement, which means you are as good as you are going to get. At this point, you and your lawyer can accurately value your damages. If the accident left you permanently disabled or unable to work, your attorney can factor that into the damages instead of your return to work being questionable.
Is there big money involved?
The bigger the money, the longer the case generally takes to settle. This is especially true if there are severe injuries or a death involved. Insurers will generally do their due diligence before they write a big check. They will not settle quickly if they have a solid defense to the case, if they can prove that your injuries aren't as severe as you say they are, or if they can attack your credibility. If you are willing to settle for less money, the case could be settled faster.
Are there problems with the case?
The more information you can give the insurance company, the better you will be. The value of your case rests on whose fault the accident was and how badly you were injured. If you can't prove liability, if a judge says you don't have a right to sue, or if your doctor is unsure that the defendant's negligence caused your injuries, you will have a hard time winning or settling a case.
Is the insurance company holding up the process?
The insurance company will need time to review the demand package (this outlines the case against them, and the money owed to you), and this can take anywhere from three weeks to several months. In some cases, the insurance company will intentionally take longer to see if you will give up and take less money. Your attorney can help navigate those tough conversations with insurance companies in order to get your case settled with the maximum dollar amount.
As you can see, there are many factors that can extend your car accident settlement. Sometimes it's in your best interest to wait it out and get the highest dollar amount you can, and other times, settling sooner may be the best option. It will depend on the case and your financial situation. Whatever the circumstance, it always help to have an attorney on your side to help you collect the necessary information and guide you through the case. If you have questions, don't hesitate to call our offices.