If you’ve been in a car accident, the immediate aftermath will be stressful and potentially traumatic. Your injuries might require immediate attention and a lot of time to heal. In addition, you might be out of work while you recover – and without a vehicle to get anywhere. The question on your mind sooner or later will be “how long does it take to settle a car accident case?”
And you’re not alone. Most people who are injured in a car accident have to rely on the settlement to pay medical bills or to cover other bills that may have piled up because you were out of work or because you had to pay to make doctors visits and to visit your lawyer. The timeline and process related to a car accident case, can be very specific to each individual case. Not all car accident cases are equal or similiar.
Ask Your Lawyer Directly
If you weren’t at fault for the accident, you may be able to recover compensation for your losses. However, depending on your unique case and your insurance company, recovering damages can be a slow process. Your attorney will explain how long it takes to be compensated, and can give you a much more accurate answer based on the details of your case.
But remember, it’s important to understand that no personal injury lawyer can give you a solid settlement date. If you come across an attorney that promises results in a month or less, or something similar, be wary. The only way they can guarantee that is by accepting a settlement offer from the insurance company, even if that offer is far less than you deserve.
The Typical Timeline for a Car Accident Case
After a car accident, you may receive a settlement offer from the insurance company. If you accept it, your case is over and you forfeit your right to seek greater compensation. However, if you reject the offer and hire a Nashville car accident attorney, the process will continue.
First, your lawyer will negotiate with the insurance company. They will lay out the case for why you deserve greater compensation. If the insurance company offers a fair settlement that satisfies both you and your lawyer, you can accept the offer and end your case then. This process may take only a few weeks.
If they still refuse to offer a fair settlement, your lawyer will officially file a lawsuit, and the defending party will be served a copy of the complaint. The defendant will then answer the complaint. This will likely take a few weeks to a couple of months.
Once the defendant responds, discovery begins. During discovery, both sides provide evidence to the other side. Depending on the court your case is being heard in, as well as the amount of evidence provided by each side, discovery can last a few months to over a year.
Then the trial begins. Both sides will present evidence, typically over a few weeks, to either a judge or a jury. Next, a ruling will be handed down. If necessary, the appeal process may occur after the initial ruling is made, which can last for years.
It’s important to note that the process can end at any point if both sides agree to a settlement. This could happen during the discovery process, or it could happen the day the judge is set to hand down a ruling.
It’s also important to note that the initial lawsuit must be filed within one year of the car accident in Tennessee. This is called the statute of limitations. As such, if you have been injured in a car accident, you must seek the help of a Nashville car accident lawyer as soon as possible.
Factors That Can Impact Your Car Accident Case Timeline
While the above is a good outline for how long your case may take, there are a number of factors that can cause your case to take longer or be resolved more quickly. Some of the main factors that will impact your case include:
- Determining liability: If it’s not clear who is at fault for the wreck, or how much each party is at fault, your case may drag on until enough evidence is provided to give a definitive answer.
- The seriousness of your injuries: If your injuries require extensive treatment that lasts for weeks or months, the total amount of compensation you’re owed may be unclear for a while.
- How much evidence is provided: If there isn’t much evidence, or the evidence available is shaky, it may take longer to settle your case or get a verdict until more evidence is found.
- The insurance company’s response time: Insurance companies will often drag their feet in hopes you’ll take a lower settlement offer to get your money faster, which can delay your case.
- The length of negotiations: Your lawyer will try to negotiate your case to get it settled faster. But at times these negotiations affect the length of your case
- The skills and experience of your lawyer: A good lawyer can see through the tactics insurance companies use to delay your settlement and can fight to make sure you get your money as soon as possible.
Get the Help You Deserve from a Car Accident Lawyer
If you’ve been injured in a car wreck, it’s important you hire an experienced lawyer as soon as possible. The right lawyer can make sure you get every dime you deserve, even if that means taking your case to court. One of the first questions you can ask our attorneys is how long does it take to settle a car accident case on average, and how long we think it will take to settle your case.
At Steinger, Greene & Feiner, we have over 20 years of experience helping our clients get the compensation they’re entitled to. In fact, we have recovered over $1 BILLION on behalf of our clients. We cannot make any promises about how long it will take to get your case settled or won. However, we do promise to fight for every dime you’re owed. Give us a call at (800) 560-5059 or contact us online for a free, no-obligation consultation with a car accident lawyer today.