Did you know that more than 31,785 people died in traffic crashes in the United States in 2022?
Fortunately, many of these do not result in personal injuries. However, it is still a horrible experience and something that no one ever wants to undergo again. When it happens, you need to know the steps to take in the auto accident settlement process.
It’s important to know exactly how long this process takes so that you can be adequately prepared.
Read on to learn about how long the settlement will take if you are injured in car accident.
Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit
If you’re considering filing an auto accident lawsuit, you may be wondering how long the process will take. The answer depends on many factors. This includes the severity of your injuries, the amount of damages, and whether the other driver is contesting liability.
In general, however, most personal injury lawsuits follow a similar timeline:
Investigation and Case Assessment (Up to 6 Months)
This is the stage where your attorney will gather evidence to support your claim and determine whether it’s worth pursuing. This can take a few weeks up to 6 months, depending on the complexity of the case.
Filing the Lawsuit (20 Days)
Once your attorney has decided to move forward with the case, they will file a complaint in court. This starts the formal legal process and gives the other side 20 days to respond.
Trial Preparation and Trial Itself (Up to 14 Days)
If the case doesn’t settle during discovery, it will go to trial. Your car accident lawyer will begin preparing for trial by selecting jurors and working on jury instructions and opening statements. The trial itself usually lasts about a week or two but can take longer if there are multiple parties involved or complex issues at stake
Negotiations with Insurance Companies (Up to 60 Days)
If you experienced car accident injuries, one of the first things you’ll need to do is file a claim with your insurance company. Then, it’s time to start negotiating with the insurance company to get the best possible settlement for your damages.
The negotiation process can take anywhere from 45 to 60 days, depending on the severity of your accident and the amount of damage you’ve incurred.
If you have a good relationship with your insurance company, they may be more likely to work with you to reach a fair settlement quickly. However, if you’re dealing with a difficult insurance company, it may take longer to reach an agreement.
Here are some tips for negotiating with an insurance company:
Gather all your documentation before you start negotiating. These are medical bills, repair estimates, and other documentation that will support your claim.
Know What You’re Owed
Calculate the total cost of your damages so you know how much money you’re looking to receive from the insurance company.
Don’t Accept the First Offer
The first offer from the insurance company is usually lowballed. If you want to get a fair settlement, be prepared to negotiate until you reach an agreement that’s acceptable to both parties.
Be reasonable: It’s important to be reasonable when negotiating with an insurance company. If you make too many demands, they may walk away from the negotiation entirely.
Mediation (2 Days)
The average mediation for an auto accident settlement takes about two days. This is the time when both parties, usually with the help of their lawyers, meet to try and come to an agreement.
The mediation process can be lengthy, depending on how many issues need to be resolved, but most mediations only last a day or two. If an agreement is reached during mediation, the case will probably settle soon after. If no agreement is reached, then the case will likely go to trial.
Settlement Agreements (Up to 6 Weeks)
Car accident settlements are typically reached within 4 to 6 weeks after the trial. The amount of time it takes to settle a case depends on many factors. Below are some of the common factors that affect settlement agreements:
The Severity of the Accident
The severity of the auto accident greatly affects how long the settlement process can take. A minor fender-bender or a minor rear-end collision can often be settled easily between the insurance companies of both parties involved, and the settlement process can be quite swift.
On the other hand, a major accident that has resulted in serious injury or death can take many months or more to settle.
The Insurance Companies Involved
The car accident case settlement process concerning the insurance companies involved can take quite a long time. Each insurance company will first investigate the accident and ensure that all the paperwork is accurate and complete, then come up with a settlement figure that both parties can agree on.
In some cases, this process can take weeks or even months due to the complexity of the accident or if third-party insurers are involved. Both the legal teams of the insurance companies involved will need to hash out the details, and the parties may also need to enter mediation before the settlement process is completed. Ultimately, the amount of time it takes to settle the auto accident depends on how quickly all parties involved can agree.
The Willingness of Both Parties to Negotiate
The auto accident settlement process depends on the willingness of both parties to negotiate. If the parties can reach an agreement quickly, they can submit a signed settlement agreement within a few weeks. If both sides are unwilling to compromise and agree on a reasonable and fair amount, the settlement process could take longer.
Either side has the legal right to reject any proposed offers until an acceptable agreement is reached. The negotiation process often requires several rounds of offers and counter-offers before an agreement can be reached. Therefore, the length of the settlement process can largely depend on the willingness of both parties to negotiate.
Consider This Auto Accident Settlement Guide
It is important to remember that the auto accident settlement process can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months. However, understanding the steps involved and preparing in advance can help ensure that your claim is processed as quickly as possible. These steps include filing a lawsuit, negotiations, mediation, and settlements.
By working with an experienced legal team and following these tips, you can have peace of mind knowing that your case will be handled professionally and efficiently.
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