How Long Does It Take for a Car Accident Claim to Settle?
Posted on behalf of Gordon & Partners on Mar 04, 2020 in Auto Accidents
There is no set answer for how long it takes to settle a car accident claim. Each case is different and the time it may take to settle depends on factors unique to your situation. However, an attorney may be able to give you a rough estimate of when to expect a settlement based on his or her experience.
Find out what your claim may be worth and how long it might take to settle when you schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with a member of our legal team.
Settlement Negotiation Process for a Car Accident
The settlement negotiation process begins once the insurance company has completed its investigation of your claim. During this period, you may receive what is called a reservation of rights letter from the insurer. This letter notifies you that your claim and insurance policy are under investigation, and the insurer reserves the right to deny it if the crash is not covered under the policy.
After the insurance company has completed the investigation, it will either deny your claim or make you an offer. If your claim is denied, your next step is to appeal. If you receive an offer, you may begin to negotiate for more compensation.
Start the negotiation process by sending the insurance company a demand letter. The demand letter should include the amount you are proposing as a settlement as well as details that support your claim for compensation.
After your demand letter is received, the insurance adjuster will either counteroffer or attempt to dispute facts of your claim to lower compensation. You can ask questions, accept the counteroffer, or make a counteroffer of your own at this point.
This process can go back and forth for quite some time, until a settlement is agreed upon by both sides or one side refuses to budge any further. At any point in the claims process, you may choose to hire a lawyer who can negotiate the claim on your behalf. If you cannot reach a settlement, your other option is to take your case to trial and have a jury decide. Even then, settlement negotiations can continue.
When to Expect Your Settlement Check
Once you send a demand letter, expect one or two weeks to pass before you receive a response. Negotiations may continue for weeks or months, depending on how many offers and counteroffers are made.
Once a settlement offer is accepted, the insurance company has 20 days to submit payment. You will be required to sign a release of liability, which means you are unable to pursue legal action against the at-fault party or the insurance company over this matter.
Settlement checks are typically sent to your attorney. They are placed in a trust account until the funds have cleared, then legal fees are taken out and medical liens paid. Once this is complete, the settlement funds are released to you.
Why Some Car Accident Claims Take Longer to Settle
Some cases take longer to settle due to a few key reasons:
- Legal or factual problems – If liability is difficult to prove in a case, the insurance company is unlikely to offer a reasonable settlement. If there are disputes over negligence, the claims process typically takes longer.
- Large amounts of money involved – An insurer will not pay out a large settlement until they have thoroughly investigated all the facts of the claim, elements of liability and damages, which takes time.
- Your treatment is ongoing – You should wait to settle your claim until you reach Maximum Medical Improvement, otherwise it is difficult to determine your damages because your future medical needs and their impacts on your life are unknown.
Find Out More in a Free Consultation
If you were injured in a car accident, our reputable West Palm Beach car accident lawyers are prepared to communicate and negotiate with insurers on your behalf. We have fought to secure fair settlements for our clients for more than two decades.
Request a consultation at no cost to you to discuss your claim and explore your legal options. We charge no upfront fees and payment is only due if we recover compensation for you.
Speak with a member of our legal team today. Ph: 1 (855) 722-2552.