How Long Does It Take for a Car Accident Lawyer to Settle a Claim?
The circumstances of every car accident are different, so there’s no guaranteed timeframe an attorney can give you to answer this question. This article will give you some guidance on what influences the time it takes to settle and how a car accident lawyer can help expedite this process.
Factors that Influence How Long It Takes to Settle a Claim
The amount of time that passes from the date of an accident to when you have a settlement check in hand can range from weeks to months, or in some cases years.
Car owners are required to carry a motor vehicle insurance that provides at least $15,000.00 per person, and $30,000.00 per accident, in liability insurance coverage. Of course, most people carry far more liability insurance than that.
While every case is different, some of the factors that determine how long a case might go on include:
- Case complexity
A minor fender bender or an accident with straightforward liability can be settled much more quickly than a complex accident with more than one liable party and murky facts. One of the most difficult aspects at the beginning of a claim is determining who is liable and by how much.
- Extent of injuries
One of the biggest determinants of the size of a settlement claim is the extent of the injuries. For example, in the case of a broken arm that heals cleanly and has little to no impact on one’s quality of life, determining the appropriate compensation is relatively easy.
However, suppose the car accident resulted in injuries that require ongoing treatment or surgery. In that case, the settlement process can take longer so that you can obtain the necessary treatment and try to get better.
If your injury has a life-changing catastrophic effect, you have injured passengers, or there was a wrongful death involved, the settlement timeline might extend even further.
On the other hand, in some cases with severe injuries, your attorney may be able to quickly resolve your case for you.
- Witness testimony
The testimony of witnesses who saw the accident can help a claim move forward quickly. However, if there is conflicting testimony or a total lack of witnesses willing or able to come forward, it can prolong the task of determining liability.
- Available evidence
Insurance companies and lawyers will comb through evidence to determine fault and damages. They may rely on police reports, medical records, expert testimony, forensic data, and other resources to help confirm fault and evaluate the extent of your injuries. If there is a lack of evidence or there is any evidence that seems contradictory or speculative, this could also delay a settlement.
5. Insurance companies
Not all insurance companies are created equal. While some may move to ensure your claim is settled swiftly, others may delay the process as long as possible. It can be a daunting feat to take on an insurance company with an entire team of lawyers by yourself.
Keep in mind that an insurance company’s sole mission is profit, and every cent they give you, the accident victim, takes away from that profit. It’s the role of a car accident lawyer to advocate for maximum compensation for your claim and a timely payout.
If an agreement can’t be reached between you and the insurance company, the claim may need to be litigated in court. Though these proceedings add significant delays, most car accident court claims are settled in time frames ranging from twelve to eighteen months.
What Compensation Is Available for Car Accident Claims?
Car accident victims in Pennsylvania can seek compensation for the following:
– Pain, suffering, and inconvenience (including stress, emotional trauma, loss of enjoyment, loss of consortium, etc.)
– Damages for permanent scarring or disfigurement
– Damages for embarrassment and humiliation
– Damages for temporary or permanent disability
– Damages for Wrongful Death
– Past, Present, and Future lost wages or earnings
– Excess or unpaid Medical Bills
How a Car Accident Lawyer Can Help with Your Claim
Insurance companies are skilled at minimizing payouts for accident victims, and they may try to delay paying a settlement claim. Working with a car accident lawyer can help you determine how much your claim is worth and potentially speed up the process.
In addition to navigating evidence gathering and negotiations with insurance companies, car accident lawyers also ensure that paperwork is filed on time, and they can take a lot of stress off your plate while you’re recovering from your injuries.
If the insurance company denies or disputes your claim, the case may end up having to go to court. Though this can add several months to the process, a personal injury attorney will help you file the lawsuit in civil court and represent your interests. Most Pennsylvania car accident lawyers work on a contingency basis, which means that you don’t have to pay anything until your case is successfully settled.
Find Out How Long Your Car Accident Case Will Take to Settle
At Hal Waldman and Associates, we offer a free consultation. You can call us at (412) 850-3172 to discuss your accident, find out how much your claim is worth, and get an estimate of how long it might take to settle.