How long it takes to settle a car accident case depends on various factors, including the severity of the injury, accident complexity, insurance types involved, potential lawsuits, and client expectations. Car accidents, being a significant cause of death among young individuals, have also led to escalating health expenditure worldwide. While accidents happen suddenly, settling car accident cases can take considerable time due to certain priorities that need addressing before focusing on legal matters, such as providing treatment to victims and determining fault.
Car injury claims may sometimes take an extended period to resolve, leading to frustration for those facing medical bills, lost wages, and property damages during the lengthy compensation process. However, it’s essential to understand that certain factors beyond the legal team’s control can contribute to the extended timeline. Depending on the circumstances, a car accident case can stretch on for years.
What Takes So Long?
Several critical factors influence the time required to settle a car accident case:
- Severity of Injury and Medical Treatment: The seriousness of the injuries sustained in the accident plays a crucial role in determining the duration of the case. Cases with minor injuries can often be closed within a few months, while more severe injuries may require months or even years for the injured party to reach their maximum medical improvement. Waiting until this point is reached is common before initiating settlement negotiations.
- Insurance Coverage: A case’s timeline is also affected by the amount of insurance coverage available to cover damages. If a negligent driver has inadequate insurance coverage, it may be necessary to pursue legal action and take the defendant to court in order to receive adequate compensation for medical expenses and other losses. This can add considerable time to the case as well.
- Complexity of Liability: Establishing which party is at fault for the accident can take time. If there are multiple parties involved, it could complicate the settlement process and extend the timeline. Additionally, if a crash involves just one vehicle, determining driver negligence or fault may be more complicated than in a multi-car collision. The process of uncovering the facts and determining who is responsible can also add to the timeline.
- Insurance Company Disputes: After establishing who caused the accident, if an insurance company disputes the facts or denies liability, it may be necessary to take legal action and file a lawsuit. This can cause delays in reaching a settlement as both parties await a court date for a resolution of the dispute. Additionally, if multiple insurers are involved, they may disagree on their respective coverage
- Establishing the Facts of the Accident: Accidents involving complex factors, such as disputed liability, multiple vehicles, government employees or vehicles, commercial vehicles, drunk drivers, or hit-and-run incidents, can lead to delays in settlements. Gathering evidence and investigating such cases may take considerable time.
- Insurance Delays: Insurance carriers often require thorough investigation and evidence before determining liability for an accident. Delays in insurance payment to medical providers can also impact the settlement process, especially in no-fault states.
- Insurance Carriers and Coverage: The approach of different insurance companies can vary significantly. Some may offer reasonable settlements, while others may prolong negotiations or offer low settlements, especially with discount insurance carriers.
- Legal Representation: Seeking the advice of an experienced attorney can help ensure that all evidence is gathered and presented to insurance companies, so proper compensation can be awarded. An attorney with a track record of success in litigation involving personal injury cases will also be able to provide valuable guidance should a case end up going to trial.
- Statutes of Limitations: Depending on the state, there may be a time limit on filing a personal injury claim. An experienced attorney can help ensure that the statute of limitations is not violated, so those injured can receive the compensation they deserve.
- Settlement Negotiations: Due to the complex nature of these cases, negotiations between insurance companies and claimants are often unavoidable. An experienced attorney will be able to effectively negotiate on behalf of their client to secure a fair settlement.
- Trial Representation: In some instances, it may be necessary for an injured party to take their case to trial. A skilled attorney will be able to handle the entire process from start to finish, ensuring that their client’s rights are protected. They can also provide invaluable guidance throughout the entire process.
- Medical and Billing Records: Obtaining medical records and bills from all relevant medical providers can be time-consuming, as some providers may be slow to respond to requests.
- Negotiation Period: Settlement negotiations between your attorney and the at-fault party’s insurance company can take weeks of back-and-forth discussions to reach an agreeable resolution.
- Court Delays: If a settlement cannot be reached through negotiation, a lawsuit may be necessary, which can further prolong the process due to various factors, including difficulties in locating and serving the defendant, length of discovery time, and the specific court where the lawsuit is heard.
- Defense Legal Team: The defense lawyers representing the at-fault party can impact the case’s settlement duration, as some may prefer to extend the defense to increase their billable hours, while others may aim for an efficient resolution.
- Client Expectations and Cooperation: Client cooperation and settlement expectations also influence the time taken to resolve the case.
In conclusion, the settlement time for a car accident case varies widely depending on multiple factors, and it’s essential to have realistic expectations and cooperate with your legal team throughout the process.
A competent Miami car accident attorney will be able to guide you through the process and ensure that your rights are protected. The lawyer will put in the effort required to prove your case and calculate a proper settlement amount. With their expertise, they can also assist with important steps such as obtaining evidence, locating and serving the defendant, determining the length of discovery time, filing motions if required, and more. With the help of a good lawyer, you can expect to have your case settled in a reasonable amount of time.
You can call the Miami car accident lawyers of Wolfson and Leon right now at 305-285-1115 for a free consultation. They defend clients throughout the State of Florida from their offices in Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Miami, Hialeah, and Cape Coral. Our lawyers have earned more than 500 five-star reviews on Google – check out the reviews and decide for yourself if Wolfson and Leon are the best car accident lawyers for you.