Written on Nov 29, 2016 9:31:16 AM
What is the Proper Amount of Time for a Car Accident Settlement?
A very common question for auto accident victims who have been injured by the negligence of another goes something like: “how long does it take to get a car accident settlement? What’s the proper amount of time for such a thing?”
It’s a perfectly understandable concern. After all, being the victim of another driver’s negligence doesn’t stop the bills from coming due—you still need food and shelter, and possibly even pay enormous hospital bills.
The trouble is that this can be a very difficult question to answer.
Why Auto Accident Settlements May Take a While
There are a number of factors that can affect how quickly you can receive a car accident settlement, including:
- Your Ongoing Medical Treatment. In many cases, a settlement will be made based on an estimate of your current and projected medical costs. The trouble is that a projection of your medical costs may fall well short of your actual costs—which is why many auto accident attorneys might try to recommend that you wait until your treatment is complete before reaching a settlement.
Depending on the extent of your injuries, this could take many weeks or months. Also, your adherence to any treatment regimen recommended by your doctor may be a factor in your settlement.
- Your Insurance Company. We all buy auto insurance in Florida to provide protection against medical and vehicular repair (and because it’s Florida state law). However, the important thing to remember is that the insurer is in the business of making money—something they cannot do if they pay out claims blindly. Different insurance companies may have different policies in place regarding the payment of claims, which can affect how quickly your claim is paid.
- Evidence of Your Damages from the Accident. When negotiating a settlement for an auto accident, the strength of the evidence you’ve collected regarding the damages you’ve suffered can have an enormous impact on the speed with which you reach a settlement. Stronger evidence of the other party’s neglect and of your injuries arising from the accident can mean a faster settlement and resolution. However, it’s important to note that even ironclad evidence doesn’t guarantee a fast settlement, because of:
- The Other Party. If you’re pursuing a personal injury claim against the other driver, they may or may not want to push for a jury trial regardless of the evidence. Also, just because the other party offers a settlement doesn’t mean it will be a good offer. You may be presented with a settlement that barely covers a fraction of your damages, and have to enter a long negotiation process or take the case to trial.
Because of the above factors, a car accident settlement might take as little as a few weeks to process paperwork, or over a year.
This is where having an experienced auto accident attorney on hand can help. By reviewing the particulars of your case and helping you organize your evidence, an attorney can help you be better prepared for the battle ahead.