When you file a car accident claim, one of the first things you will want to know is how long the process will take before you receive compensation. There are several factors that can determine the length of time your case takes to close. Understanding these factors will allow you to have a better understanding of the period of time it will take to complete your claim.
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Severity of Your Injuries
If you have multiple injuries or your injuries are life-changing or severe, the length of time before your case closes will be extended. It will always be in our best interest to make sure that your medical treatment has come to a point where your doctors know what the future holds for your care. You will not want to settle a case early only to discover that you need corrective surgery. If this happens, you would have to cover this expense yourself.
Insurance companies are always happier when you do not have legal representation. They will make a settlement offer very quickly, often within a week of the accident, in an effort to settle the case for as little value as possible. These offers are never the actual value of the car accident case and often leave those who accept the offers suffering financially.
When you have legal representation, your attorney will prolong the settlement process to ensure that your injuries have been stabilized and that the real value of all of your losses has been documented and accounted for as part of your settlement.
Responsibility of the Accident
When the fault of the accident is visible, the insurance company is more likely to start making fair offers to the injured party very early in the negotiation process. Even with legal representation, the insurer knows that their client is responsible and that they will have to cover your losses. Prolonging a settlement under these circumstances is not cost-effective for the insurer.
However, if there is any type of doubt about the accident, or if the injured party is cited as partially responsible for the event, the process to settle can be extended. The insurance company will be very aggressive about the injured party reducing their settlement claim because they are partially at-fault for the event. This is where having legal representation is necessary.
If You Have Filed A Lawsuit
If you have filed a lawsuit, you must also consider the court docket. Your case may be delayed based on the time frame of the court and when they can actually bring your case to trial.
Other Factors That Must Be Considered
The other factors that you must consider when trying to determine how long a case will take include:
The negotiation process can be quick or prolonged. Each party has a specific number of days to respond to the offer received. If they both act quickly, the process moves fast. If either party waits to the last day to respond, the process can be prolonged. Depending on how much time each party takes to respond, and how much negotiation is necessary to get an agreeable amount can determine the length of time for settlement.
Once a settlement has been reached, and you have signed the paperwork agreeing to accept the amount offered by the insurer, you can expect to wait between four and eight weeks to receive your settlement check. The insurance company can take a week or two before it cuts the check and sends it to your attorney.
Once your attorney receives the check, their office will pay all of your legal fees, including the costs of your legal representation. They will verify that all medical expenses, fees, and other bills have been paid and then will notify you that your check is ready to be signed.
Once you go to the law firm and sign the check, it will be made out to you and the law firm, the law firm will hand you the paperwork of the bills they have paid and their fees for you to verify their accounting. One confirmed, they will issue you a check for the remaining balance of your settlement. Most attorneys prepare your check while you wait. Once you receive the check, your case is closed.