Once you make the important decision to file a claim for compensation with the negligent driver’s insurance company, you rightfully want to know how long it will take to settle your claim and receive the money you are owed. Unfortunately, there is no set time limit for settling a claim or a rule as to how long the process takes. However, an experienced car accident attorney should be able to give you guidance on how long it should take to resolve your claim.
Factors That Influence How Long it Can Take to Settle Your Claim
The reality is that most car accident claims do settle without the need to go trial. Some cases are concluded fairly quickly, and others may not be resolved until a lawsuit is filed and the case is extensively litigated. Factors that can affect the length of time it can take to reach an agreement include:
- Disputes. If the negligent driver’s insurance company is disputing who was at fault in causing your crash or the severity of your injuries, it will take your attorney longer to settle your claim. He may need to obtain additional evidence or hire experts to resolve disputes with the insurance adjuster.
- Serious injuries. When your injuries are more serious, the value of your claim can be higher. Because of the potential larger payout of a settlement, the insurance company will need to investigate your claim more thoroughly and may raise more areas of dispute to reduce or deny your claim.
- Your medical recovery. It is important to wait to settle your claim until you have reached your maximum medical recovery—which may not be a full recovery—or your doctor issues a final prognosis. You need to wait for this to happen so that all of your future medical needs and wages you could lose are included in your settlement.
- Negotiations. Even in a case with fewer disputes, negotiations can take time. Your attorney will need to draft a demand letter that includes all your supporting documentation. Once he sends this letter to the insurance company, you will have to wait for the adjuster to respond. Then there is usually a number of communications between your attorney and the adjuster as they discuss the issues in your case and try to reach an agreement.
- Insurance company. Some insurance companies and adjusters have a reputation for taking a harder line in settling auto accident victims’ claims. Your attorney may need to file a lawsuit and litigate your case if you are dealing with one of these insurance companies.
Were you or a family member injured in an auto accident caused by a negligent driver? Call our office today to schedule your free consultation to learn about your legal options, the compensation that you deserve, and how long it should take to settle your claim.