Perhaps you haven’t secured representation for your claim and wonder if it’s worth the hassle.
You might wonder, How long does it take to get a settlement from a car accident?
The insurance company says they’ll negotiate, but for how long? Does a car accident settlement take months? Years?
Settlement times vary depending on the facts of your case and the willingness of the insurance company to negotiate.
Either way, securing representation is the first step to maximizing your recovery.
Auto Accident Settlement Timeline
You likely understand the steps required to get to a settlement after your car accident, but how long does it take?
To get a settlement from a car accident an attorney needs to evaluate the facts of your case and preliminary evidence (like medical bills) that you will use to substantiate the damages of your claim.
But this is only the first step in the process. Each step of the settlement process takes time.
Seek Medical Treatment
Seeking medical attention and completing treatment is key to maximizing your potential settlement. Depending on the extent of your injuries, this step can take months or years.
However, completing treatment for as long as your medical provider suggests is important.
If you stop treatment too early and try to receive a settlement check as soon as possible, you might miss out on medical costs that your settlement should have covered.
For example, physical therapy is a common step for injury recovery. However, it is also expensive and can take an unknown amount of time, depending on the extent of your injuries.
Continuing physical therapy until you have fully recovered helps ensure your settlement includes the full cost of physical therapy.
Get Your Case Evaluated by a Lawyer
Once you determine that representation is best for your case, the lawyer will want to request your medical records and ask you questions regarding your treatment.
Your attorney must review all medical records, bills, wage loss, and other out-of-pocket expenses or damages related to your case. Generally, this can take two to six months.
The sooner you provide your attorney with this information, the faster the process can go.
Send a Demand Letter
A demand letter is generally your attorney’s first attempt at settlement negotiations. It details the accident and medical treatment and summarizes the damages.
If the insurer agrees to your demand, you could receive your settlement in two weeks to two months.
Insurers aren’t allowed to delay the settlement process unnecessarily, so things will move quickly once they agree to a settlement amount.
File a Lawsuit
If the insurance company rejects your attorney’s settlement offer and negotiations are unsuccessful, your will attorney will prepare a complaint and initiate a lawsuit.
Even though your attorney starts the litigation process, it does not necessarily mean your case will go to trial. Cases can settle at any time.
The pace of your lawsuit depends on your jurisdiction, the number of defendants, and the complexity of legal issues.
Mediation, Trial, or Settlement
During the beginning phases of litigation, your attorney may recommend an alternative dispute resolution method, like arbitration or mediation. If your case doesn’t settle at that point, then the trial will likely go forward.
The trial lasts only one to three days, depending on the case’s complexity and whether expert witnesses are required. However, it can take many months to prepare for trial.
As mentioned above, at any point, the insurance company or other party may choose to settle. Even the day before the trial!
Once the parties settle, you could see your check in as little as two weeks.
Wondering How Long Do Accident Settlements Take? Call Us to Learn More
If you need representation with your personal injury claim and want a better idea of your potential settlement time frame, give us a call.
Our experienced accident attorneys fight hard for injured victims in New Mexico and West Texas.
Our partners are part of The National Advocates Top 100 Lawyers—where membership is extended solely to highly qualified attorneys exemplifying leadership, reputation, influence, and stature in their designated areas of law.