How Long Does a Car Accident Settlement Take?

car accident can turn your life upside down in an instant. You may be dealing with serious injuries, medical bills, lost wages, and costly vehicle damage. You likely never planned for anything like this to happen. Now you’re forced to figure out how to get medical treatment while paying your bills and supporting your family. Amidst this chaos, determining how long it will take to settle your car accident claim will likely become a pressing concern. The answer depends on several factors, and the timeline varies from case to case. 

Understanding Car Accident Settlement Timelines

When you’ve been involved in a car accident, one of the most pressing questions on your mind may be, “How long will it take to settle my claim?” The answer, unfortunately, is not always straightforward. The timeline for settling a car accident claim can vary significantly depending on several key factors. Understanding these factors can help you set realistic expectations and make informed decisions throughout the legal process.

The Severity of Your Injuries 

The severity of the injuries sustained in the accident is one of the most significant factors affecting the settlement timeline. If you’ve suffered serious injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries or spinal cord damage, the legal process may take longer. These types of injuries often require extensive medical treatment and may have long-lasting effects on your life. It’s crucial to wait until you understand the full extent of your injuries and future medical needs before settling your claim. This process can take months or even years, depending on your recovery progress.

Evidence Collection 

Gathering and compiling evidence to support your car accident claim is a crucial step that can impact the settlement timeline. This process may involve obtaining police reports, medical records, witness statements, and expert opinions. The time required to collect and present this evidence can vary depending on the complexity of your case and the cooperation of the parties involved.

Your Case’s Complexity

The complexity of your car accident case can also greatly impact the settlement timeline. Several factors can contribute to case complexity, including:

  • Were multiple parties involved? If your accident involves multiple vehicles or parties, it can complicate the legal process. More parties mean more insurance companies to deal with, more evidence to gather, and more negotiations to conduct.
  • Is there a dispute over liability? When disagreements arise about who was at fault for the accident, it can prolong the settlement process. Establishing liability may require additional investigations, reconstructions, and the gathering of evidence.
  • How much compensation are you seeking? Cases involving significant losses, such as medical expenses, substantial property damage, and lost wages, can be more complex to settle. Documenting and calculating these damages take time and may involve lengthy negotiations with the insurance company.

The Insurance Company’s Cooperation

The other party’s insurance company’s willingness to cooperate and negotiate in good faith can also affect the settlement timeline. Some insurance providers may delay or dispute valid claims, prolonging the process. Having an experienced car accident attorney on your side can help you navigate these challenges and advocate for a fair settlement.

Legal Proceedings

If your attorney cannot reach fair settlement through negotiations with the other side, they might advise filing a lawsuit to seek fair compensation in court. This can significantly lengthen the timeline. Court proceedings, discovery, and trial preparation are time-consuming and may add months or even years to the settlement process. However, it’s critical to note that most car accident cases are settled before trial.

Estimated Settlement Timelines

According to Forbes, many settlements take place within 9-18 months of the accident. While it’s impossible to provide an exact timeline for your car accident settlement, here are some general estimates based on the severity of your case:

  • Minor Injuries – If you sustained minor injuries and liability is clear, you may settle within a few months.
  • Moderate Injuries – The settlement process may take six months to a year for cases involving moderate injuries and more extensive medical treatment.
  • Severe Injuries – If you suffered severe injuries that result in long-term disabilities or require ongoing medical care, your settlement may take 1-2 years or longer.

Remember, these are only estimates, and your case may take more or less time, depending on the specific circumstances involved.

Contact The Wilbers Law Firm LLC

While every car accident case is unique, understanding these key factors can give you a better idea of what to expect in terms of a settlement timeline. If you’ve been injured in a crash in Missouri, turn to the car accident lawyers at The Wilbers Law Firm LLC for the qualified representation you need and deserve. We represent clients on a contingency-fee-basis, which means you won’t pay us anything until we win your case. Call us at 1-314-721-3040 or contact us online for a 100% free consultation now.