Car accident cases should get settled before trial, but it may take weeks, months or even years for it to draw to a close, depending on a few factors. You are probably worried about your car accident claim and might be wondering how long it will take to get settled.
Settlements involve a demand letter, negotiations, an agreement, a check, and settlement papers. So whether you’ve got a car accident case you have to handle or are just preparing just in case you’re ever in such a situation, know that a settlement takes a while, and it is good to understand the processes.
As a car accident attorney, Donna Clark Frayne has dealt with a wide range of cases involving car accidents and the settlement process.
A demand letter is your opportunity to present your case in the car accident to your insurance company. You can give out all the facts and details of your injuries as well as any medical treatment needed. The initial amount demanded should usually be higher than the actual settlement amount so that there is room for negotiation.
Your insurance company will respond to your demand with an offer, which you can negotiate. They will usually give the lowest offer they can. You should never accept the first offer.
Instead, write a reiteration including the strengths of your case and counter-demand a price that is lower than your initial offer. Do this until both parties can reach a happy medium that will satisfy you.
Once your offer is accepted, you will want to make sure that it is all in writing. This amount should be sufficient for medical fees, even after attorney fees. After you accept the offer, your insurance company should have you sign a release form that prohibits you from pursuing any other claims on the accident. Your check should come a few weeks after you sign the release form and the case closes completely.
Whether you hire an attorney or handle the claim yourself will affect how long it takes to settle it. An attorney will likely be able to help you get a higher settlement, but this will mean you might need to wait a little bit longer. While managing the claim yourself may result in a lower settlement, you will most likely get it done faster.
Settlements will depend on who was at fault of the accident. The driver at fault will most likely settle, which could happen quickly. But if there is a dispute, the insurance companies for both parties will need to conduct an investigation, which could go on for months before finally reaching a settlement.
Settlements are dependent on injuries suffered. Minor injuries might allow the car insurance company to settle the case more hastily, but more severe injuries will involve more extensive medical documentation, especially if treatment is needed.
If you’ve filed for a lawsuit, the court’s ability to schedule a hearing and trial dates will also affect the amount of time it takes for settlement. Getting your hearing scheduled will depend on the court’s schedule, which might set things back for weeks.
Get in touch with Donna Clark Frayne today! She’s a specialist in personal injury and accident law and she’s happy to help!