There is nothing good about a car accident, but receiving a fair settlement for another party’s negligence can certainly ease the situation.
When you’re in an accident, typically you are at fault or the other driver is.
Whoever is deemed to blame for the crash will be liable for covering the expenses related to it.
This process is known as a car accident claim, which is made through the other driver’s insurance provider should they be at fault for the accident.
Settlement timing depends on your accident’s circumstances and can easily last for several months or even years.
Your solution here is to understand what affects the duration of a car accident settlement so you can prepare accordingly.
Let’s take a look at the four most relevant factors affecting how long it will take you to receive a settlement from a car crash.
Determination of Liability
First, the determination of liability must be made.
In other words, insurance companies must figure out who caused the accident. Just because you or the other party says it happened a certain way does not mean insurance will agree.
How each insurance company evaluates fault is a little different, but they will primarily use the physical evidence and police report to make their decision.
Where things get tricky is when it is not clear who is at fault.
It may seem obvious to you or a witness, but the picture painted by evidence may be different.
Should an insurance company struggle to evaluate who is to blame, your claim will take much longer and has a higher chance of being denied.
The best remedy for this is collecting as much evidence as possible to eliminate any possibility of a misunderstanding.
Evaluation of Injuries
Next, you’ll need to have your injuries evaluated.
This is to figure out just how serious your injuries are and how impactful the accident was.
In tandem with fault, these are the two most significant factors that determine how much you can receive for your settlement.
Greater injuries often result in bigger payouts, but this comes at the cost of longer settlement times.
Insurance companies have special adjusters dedicated to high-value claims and they require far more documentation before submitting a settlement offer.
As your injuries directly influence the amount of your settlement, any insurance company will want to be positive that they are as bad as you say.
With this in mind, you’ll need to provide documentation of your injuries, their extent, and any treatment needed for them.
This process can cause delays in one of two ways. First, you may not have adequate documentation and need time to gather it.
Alternatively, the insurance company may reject your documentation and request more.
Either scenario is frustrating and prolongs the resolution of your settlement.
Try to ask for documentation as you go to limit any extra gathering when you’re filing your claim.
Another process that extends how long you need to wait is the settlement negotiations.
Once the other party’s insurance company has agreed that the other party is at fault and your injuries are valid, they’ll need to offer you a settlement figure.
You must keep in mind that insurance companies seek to pay as little as possible, so the figure you initially receive may be insulting.
However, you are not required to accept the offer.
You often have wiggle room to negotiate and ask for more money.
Unfortunately, the insurance company can always refuse and this will create a standstill.
Should you not be happy with the settlement offer you receive, nothing will happen until you agree to take less or pursue legal action.
Speaking of which, needing litigation will extend your settlement waiting time.
If you cannot or will not accept any offer provided by the other party’s insurance, then you can choose to sue the other driver.
A lawsuit is an official proceeding, so it takes several months just to progress through the legal system.
Any lawsuit is likely to add a minimum of six months, but don’t be surprised if it takes an extra year or two for final resolution.
While hiring a lawyer and suing the other driver makes a settlement take longer, it gives you a much better chance of receiving the compensation you deserve.
Ensure that they are aware of the status of your credit insurance.
Unlike an accident claim, a lawsuit’s outcome is decided by an unbiased party; a jury.
This gives a chance for a fair trial and to accurately portray what happened at the scene.
Considering this, a good lawyer is highly effective and will make your long wait for a settlement worth it.
Receiving your settlement for a car accident is your right, but the process of an accident claim can be slow and frustrating.
You’re likely to encounter several challenges that delay resolution and aim to limit how much you receive.
Some aspects of a car accident settlement are lengthy and will vary depending on your unique situation.
This includes the determination of liability, evaluation of injuries, and settlement negotiations.
If you need a lawyer, then this makes the whole process much longer.
Should you have any confusion or doubt about your car accident settlement, seek a lawyer for professional advice.
They can point you in the right direction to ensure that you aren’t taken advantage of with your accident settlement.