If you’re injured in a car accident, chances are you want to settle the case and move on as quickly as possible. But how long does it take for a car accident settlement, and can you accelerate the settlement process? Our car accident attorneys explain what you need to know.
How Long Does a Settlement Take for a Car Accident?
How long does a car accident injury settlement take? On average, we can expect simple car accident claims to take up to 10 months to resolve. The general steps involved are as follows:
- Your attorney gathers evidence to support your claim. We will ensure you have a clear diagnosis so we understand the full extent of your injuries before recommending any offers.
- We negotiate with the insurance company to arrive at a fair settlement.
- If there’s no offer forthcoming, we may need to file an accident lawsuit.
What Can I Do to Speed Up My Claim?
This is one of the most frequently asked questions about personal injury claims. The issue, though, is that there’s not much you can do to change your claim’s timeline.
To help your case move forward efficiently, gather as much evidence as possible in support of your claim. This can help narrow down the issues in dispute which, in turn, can speed up settlement.
Should I Just Take an Insurance Company’s Offer?
This is not recommended.
While an insurance company may seem sympathetic to your case, they’ll want to resolve the claim quickly. Why? Because this reduces the time you have to fully investigate matters. It puts pressure on you to settle for an amount which is less than you deserve.
What Determines How Long a Car Accident Settlement Usually Takes?
Every case is unique, but there are a few factors which will always influence how long a case takes to settle:
- The extent of your injuries
- Who is to blame for the accident
- How many parties are involved in the accident
- The types of damages in issue
- Whether there’s a criminal element to the claim
- How willing the insurance company is to negotiate matters
Let’s consider each factor in turn.
Extent of Your Injuries
This one is straightforward: the more complex your injuries, the longer the average time for settlement. This is because your medical bills, and medical care needs are more complicated.
For example, say you have a severe spinal cord injury. You may require back surgery and it could take months to return to work. You may be unable to even return to your old job, depending on your injuries.
In the worst-case scenario, you may be paralyzed and have long-term care needs. These factors all play a part in how complicated your case is – and how long it takes to settle.
Suing Multiple Parties
In some cases, it may be necessary to sue more than just the driver. For example, if the defendant was driving a commercial vehicle, we may need to sue their employer. And in some cases, it’s appropriate to sue third parties such as manufacturers. Complex cases with multiple defendants take longer to settle.
Determining Fault for the Accident
In Texas, the amount of damages you can claim depends on:
- Whether you were to blame for the accident; and
- How much you were to blame for the accident.
If you were less than 50% to blame for the accident, your damages are reduced depending on your degree of fault. Apportioning “blame” can mean a case takes longer to resolve.
If you were more than 50% responsible, then you will be unable to claim damages.
Types of Damages
If you’re dealing with more complex injuries, we may need to sue for more damages, such as rehabilitation and long-term care costs. We may also sue for “punitive” damages which are designed to “punish” the defendant. The higher the damages you’re claiming, the longer it could take to reach settlement.
Criminal Element to a Civil Claim
If the defendant was driving under the influence (DUI), or they’re facing criminal charges for driving offenses, your case may take a little longer to settle. This is because the initial investigations are more complicated.
Insurance Company Negotiations
If the insurance company refuses to make an offer, or the offer is too low to be recommended, your case will take longer to settle.
Are There Time Limits for Making a Car Accident Claim?
Yes. Under the statutes of limitations, there’s a time limit for making civil claims.
According to Section 16.003 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code, you have two years from the accident date to make a claim. So, whether you’re claiming for property damage or personal injury, you must file a lawsuit within two years of the accident date. If you file after the deadline, your case could be dismissed.
How Much Is My Case Worth?
Until our car accident attorneys evaluate your claim, it is impossible to determine how much your case is worth. However, a claim’s value is typically based on:
- The extent of the injuries
- The strength of the evidence available
- The types of damages payable
Our experienced attorneys will not recommend any settlement offer unless it is fair and reasonable based on the circumstances of your case.
Free Consultation With Car Accident Lawyers in Houston, Texas
If you’ve been in a car accident, the AK Law Firm is here for you. From gathering evidence to handling negotiations, we will manage the entire claim for you, so you can focus on recovering and moving forward. As experienced auto accident attorneys, the team at AK Law Firm want to help you get the justice you deserve. Our car accident attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you don’t pay anything unless we win your case. You have nothing to lose – contact us to schedule a free case evaluation.