The amount of time it takes to settle a car accident claim can vary widely, from a month or two to several years, in some cases.
How the Seriousness of Your Injuries Can Affect the Time Needed to Resolve Your Claim
The extent of your injuries is one of the primary factors that will influence how long it will take to settle your car accident case. If you have serious injuries, such as back and neck problems, you may need to seek treatment regularly for a period of months. Some people suffer from whiplash after a car accident, which can have long-lasting complications, according to the Mayo Clinic. If you suffered a permanent disability, such as paralysis, you may need to receive care from an in-home nurse or aide, or you may have to live in a nursing home for the rest of your life.
You may be entitled to compensation for medical care you have already received and for care you will need in the future. In cases involving long-term medical treatment, it can be difficult to estimate costs for future care.
Doctors may disagree on the extent of your injuries, whether you will be able to make a partial recovery and whether you will be able to regain the ability to perform some tasks. Your health may decline in the future because of your injuries, aging, or both, which may further complicate the task of estimating long-term healthcare costs. In addition, factors such as economic conditions and government policies influence the cost of healthcare. Changes in any of those factors may affect the cost of your future care.
Compensation You May Recover Due to Your Injuries
You may be entitled to compensation for lost income and for lost or reduced earning potential. Again, that can be difficult to estimate. You may recover from your injuries enough to return to work at some point in the future, but you may not be able to perform all the duties you used to, and you may only be able to work part-time. If you, your doctors, and your attorney do not know if you will eventually be able to return to work or in what capacity, they may struggle to estimate your lost income.
If doctors are certain that your injuries will prevent you from returning to your former job, you may be able to find some other form of work in a different field. If you do not have previous education or experience in another area, you may have no idea what type of work you could do or would like to do, and your attorney will therefore be unable to estimate how much money you might be able to earn.
How the Insurance Company’s Level of Cooperation Can Affect the Process
Insurers generally try to settle car accident claims quickly by offering low settlements. They hope that injured people will underestimate their losses and think a settlement is reasonable, worry that they may wind up with nothing if they go to trial, or accept the settlement because they are struggling to get by financially and need money right away.
An attorney can weigh all the factors in your case and figure out what amount of compensation would be appropriate. Your lawyer can respond to the insurance company’s initial offer with a counteroffer, which the insurer may accept or reject. The process of negotiating a settlement may be fairly quick, or it may stretch on for months. In the end, the parties may agree on a figure, or they may be unable to reach a consensus.
How the Legal Process May Play Out
If your attorney cannot negotiate a settlement with the insurance company, the case may have to go to court. Both sides will have to share documents with each other and may schedule a series of depositions. They may file motions and argue about procedural matters. The defendant may claim that you were not injured or that you were responsible for the accident and may try to have the case dismissed. The process may drag on for years before the case even goes to trial. Then, both sides will have to present evidence and wait for a decision.
If you seek a large financial award, you should expect the insurance company to fight tooth and nail. If you receive a verdict in your favor, the defendant may file an appeal. That may add a year or more to the whole process.
If you file a personal injury lawsuit, that does not necessarily mean that the case will go to trial. At some point, the two sides may agree to a settlement. Most cases are settled before they go to trial.
You do not have a lot of time to file a personal injury lawsuit. Each state has a statute of limitations that requires injured parties to sue within a specific period of time. If you miss your state’s deadline to file a personal injury lawsuit, you may forfeit your right to seek financial compensation.
Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm Today for Legal Support
Pintas & Mullins Law Firm has sought justice for people across the United States who were injured in car accidents. We are often able to negotiate settlements without going to court, but we will take a case to trial if that is necessary to obtain an amount of compensation that we believe is fair to an injured client. Call our office today at (800) 794-0444 to speak with a member of our staff about your case.