Those who have been injured in a car accident know how complicated and frustrating the path to recovery can be. You might be focused on healing from your injuries and juggling doctor’s appointments with your day-to-day life. Perhaps you wonder how you could possibly fit a lawsuit into your busy schedule.
You deserve to be compensated for injuries that were caused by someone else. An attorney can work with your schedule and help you determine the maximum amount of compensation that you could pursue.
How Long Does A Car Accident Injury Settlement Usually Take?
The length of a car accident injury settlement can vary based on countless factors. For example, the facts of your case are especially complicated and it’s difficult to determine who was at fault or if multiple drivers were involved in the accident.
Speak with an attorney to gain a more accurate idea of how long your car accident injury settlement might take.
For a free legal consultation, call 800-863-5312
What’s The Car Accident Settlement Timeline?
Seeking Medical Treatment
Before you even consider filing your claim, you will need to visit your doctor and receive treatment for your injury. This is because in order to file your claim against the other driver who caused the accident, you must have suffered an injury for which you can be legally compensated.
Understanding the severity and scope of recovery for your injury before you file your claim helps prove that you suffered a serious injury and will also help you know the amount of compensation to seek. The amount of time your treatment takes depends on the injury you sustained. It can take several weeks to several months or even a year.
Having Your Case Evaluated
Once you have a treatment plan for your injury, you can reach out to an attorney to have your case evaluated. The lawyer will investigate your claim, try to answer some of your preliminary questions, and attempt to determine whether you can recover from your injury. Depending on the attorney’s workload, this process could take two to six months.
Negotiating Without Filing A Lawsuit
Sometimes car crash cases are cut and dry and the victim does not even need to file a claim against the other driver. When that happens, a lawyer sends a demand letter to the other driver stating that the other was at fault and detailing the amount that the other driver owes the victim. Drafting and sending a demand letter can take an attorney up to a month.
Filing Your Claim
If the driver at fault does not agree to the demand letter, your attorney will likely recommend you file a claim against the defendant. Filing your claim usually takes a few weeks. Once you have filed against the defendant, the defendant has twenty days to respond.
When you have received the response from the defendant, it is time to begin the legal process of discovery. During discovery, the lawyers on either side conduct interviews and exchange information to learn as much about the case as possible. This is usually the longest step of litigation, often taking six months to a year.
Negotiating With A Lawsuit
When both sides are satisfied with the information they have obtained, they can decide who was at fault and how much the at fault party owes the other party. The lawyers negotiate a settlement that both clients accept. This process often takes up to a month.
Going to Trial
If the plaintiff and defendant do not agree on a settlement amount, then the parties will usually go to trial. The trial itself will probably only take a few days at most, but preparing for and scheduling the trial can take longer.
Factors That Affect the Settlement Process
In any personal injury case, there are two major factors in which either both parties agree or leave a jury to decide. The first is determining which party was at fault for the accident and therefore must pay the damages of the other party. The second is determining the amount that the liable party owes the victim.
Determining Liability for the Accident
The party at fault must pay the damages of the other party. However, some states have a comparative fault rule. This means that you can still recover compensation for your injuries even if you partially caused the accident.
In states with the comparative fault rule, the party that is more at fault must pay the other party’s damages in proportion to the amount of fault both parties have accepted. For example, assume the defendant was 80 percent at fault for the accident, the plaintiff was 20 percent at fault, and the plaintiff’s damages were $100,000. The defendant would pay the plaintiff $80,000.
If you’ve made statements about the accident regarding your fault, it can complicate the situation. You may have tried to calm the other driver down by apologizing for the accident even though the accident was not your fault. The other driver might try to use these statements against you later and claim that you accepted fault for the accident.
Severity Of Your Injuries
The type and severity of the injuries you suffered affect the settlement process because they affect the amount of compensation to which you could be entitled. Compensation in personal injury cases usually comes in the form of economic damages and non-economic damages.
Economic damages cover the financial loss from the car accident, like medical bills and missed wages from time off work. Non-economic damages reimburse you for your pain and suffering from being in the accident.
More severe injuries will increase the cost of your medical care. Several broken bones will be more expensive to treat than minor scrapes and bruises.
You may have suffered a traumatic brain injury or a spinal injury and require immense amounts of physical and occupational therapy after the accident. The more aftercare you need for the accident, the more you will incur in economic damages and perhaps even in non-economic damages.
If you received permanent injuries from the accident, you would have a substantial increase in your non-economic damages because your lifestyle could have changed drastically. If you lost a limb or were paralyzed from the accident, you might not be able to work at your previous place of employment or be able to enjoy the hobbies you partook in before the accident.
If you wait to get a medical evaluation of your injuries, the defendant and insurance companies involved might attempt to argue that you did not sustain a serious injury from the accident. Visit your doctor as soon as possible after the accident and be open and thorough about your symptoms.
Need Help? Contact Zinda Law Group Today
Were you or a loved one injured in a car accident? The process of seeking medical treatment, filing a claim, receiving compensation, and making a full recovery can be very complex. It is often difficult to determine exactly how long it will take if this is your first time going through a personal injury settlement.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident, our car crash lawyers can help answer any questions you may have. Call Zinda Law Group today at (888) 281-6991 for a free consultation with a car wreck attorney.
Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.