How Long Does a Car Accident Settlement Take?
If you’ve been injured in a car accident through no fault of your own, you have the right to seek compensation from the at-fault driver. With the help of a skilled car accident lawyer, you could recover money for your medical bills, missed wages, and other losses through a settlement with the other party’s insurance company.
Wondering how long it will take to get the compensation you need and deserve? Unfortunately, there’s no hard and fast rule. Many factors can affect how long a car accident case will take. An experienced car accident attorney can advise you on what to expect for your unique situation.
At Derek L. Hall, PC, our Mississippi car accident lawyers know the stress and strain that a collision can place on your health and finances. Our full-service law firm provides compassionate and competent legal help to people who’ve been injured in Jackson and the surrounding communities.
Contact us today to speak with a knowledgeable motor vehicle accident lawyer. We’ll review the accident claims process with you in a free consultation.
Factors That Determine the Length of a Car Accident Claim
Estimating the average time to settle a claim after a car accident can be difficult. Numerous factors can play a role, including:
Determining and proving liability
Obtaining compensation depends on whether another party can be held liable for the car accident and your injuries. If the other driver’s insurance company contests liability, it can significantly impact the length of a car accident claim. If the party or parties you seek compensation from accept liability for the crash and your injuries, reaching a resolution can come much more quickly.
But suppose the other side denies liability or argues that you should shoulder some of the blame for the accident. In that case, it may be necessary to file a lawsuit. A judge or jury would be tasked with determining liability and how fault should be divided according to Mississippi’s negligence laws.
Severity of the injuries
The severity of your injuries can also lengthen the timeline of your car accident claim. Typically, it’s wise to hold off on making a formal demand for compensation from the at-fault party until after you have finished treatment for the injuries you suffered in the crash. If you require extended treatment, it can delay the start of formally pursuing your claim.
Of course, if you require months or even years of treatment, you may need to begin pursuing compensation while still undergoing medical treatment or rehabilitation. This can also complicate and lengthen the claims process since any financial recovery you obtain will need to include compensation for your expected future expenses.
In many car accident claims, the dispute between the parties centers not on liability for the crash or for injuries, but rather on the extent of expenses and losses claimed by the injured party. Opposing parties in a car accident claim may try to argue that an accident victim’s injuries did not result from the crash or were caused (at least in part) by pre-existing injuries or degenerative conditions.
The parties may also dispute calculations of anticipated future medical costs and the value of lost earning capacity resulting from long-term or permanent disabilities that impede an accident victim’s ability to work.
Finally, many defendants in car accident claims strongly dispute the amount of compensation that an accident victim may seek for pain and suffering or lost quality of life. Because those losses cannot be readily calculated and are subjective, insurers from the at-fault party may attempt to drive down the settlement value by challenging the requested amounts.
Insurance company response time
The insurance company handling the claim for compensation can greatly impact the length of a car accident claim. Larger insurance companies handle millions of car accident claims every single year. If the insurance adjuster assigned to handle your claim is already managing dozens or hundreds of other claims simultaneously, it can greatly slow down the ability of the insurance company to respond to your demand letter and counteroffers during settlement negotiations.
The litigation process
Most car accident claims settle long before the case ends up going to trial, often even before the claim is formally filed in court as a lawsuit. However, sometimes a claimant will need to initiate litigation to preserve and continue their legal claim. But litigation of car accident cases can take a long time due to crowded court calendars.
Once a case is filed in court, the discovery process begins. The parties exchange relevant documents and take depositions to record testimony from witnesses. Discovery can take anywhere from several months to more than a year to complete, depending on the complexity of the case. Litigation also typically involves multiple hearings, the scheduling of which depends on the availability of the court.
In total, a car accident claim can take as long as two to three years from the initial filing of the complaint before the case reaches trial and verdict. And if one or both parties believe that fundamental errors occurred in the case, a party may seek to appeal the decision, which can add several months and may even result in the case being sent back for a new trial.
Get a Free Consultation with a Jackson MS Car Accident Lawyer
If you’ve been injured in a car crash through no fault of your own, contact Derek L. Hall, PC, today for a free, no-obligation consultation with a knowledgeable Mississippi car accident lawyer. With 25 years of legal experience and a track record of success during settlement negotiations and at trial, our attorneys know what it takes to fight and win a case. Call us today.