How long does a car accident settlement usually take?

After a serious car accident, many people want a prompt settlement of the claim. However, there are several considerations that will determine how long the settlement process will take and whether it is in your best interest to attempt to settle as quickly as possible. This article explains how the time your car accident settlement will take depends on how long you receive medical treatment, followed by the length of the settlement negotiations.

The settlement proceeds from a personal injury case usually come from the insurance company of the culpable driver. The professional adjusters and other employees of this insurance company do not care about you, their job is to care about their employer and pay you as little as possible. You are under no obligation to pay your medical bills, lost wages, or other expenses as they arise. In most cases, you will receive an amount from the culpable carrier that will permanently and fully compensate you for your claim.

Before you can negotiate, you must complete all of your medical treatments and obtain a professional medical opinion on a permanent disability. If you settle your case and later discover that you still need further medical treatment or that you will never fully recover, it is probably impossible to go back to the insurance company and ask for more money. In serious car accidents, medical treatments can last a year or more. These cases can take a long time to process. In smaller cases, e.g. a single visit to the emergency department, the time to resolution can be much shorter.

The insurance company also expects you to fully and professionally present and negotiate your claim to get the maximum amount you can get. Even with serious injuries and clear fault, it’s not uncommon for an insurer to initially deny a claim outright or to offer only a fraction of the final amount. A quick settlement or accepting the insurance company’s first offer may not be in your best financial interest. It is not uncommon for each side in a serious case to spend several days evaluating the latest settlement claim or offer before determining its next steps.