When you experience a car accident, you have the option of filing a claim to collect compensation for injuries or damages. However, most insurance companies will not process your case simultaneously with others, if at all. As a result, there can be a long wait before your claim is processed and settled. It can be frustrating and inconvenient, especially if you need money to cover your medical bills, property damage, and other losses. Therefore, an average car accident timeline gives you an estimate of how much time it takes to settle a claim, get your money, and move on with your life.
The Accident Settlement Process
Settling a car accident claim can be long and drawn out, taking three weeks to a year before receiving any payment. The amount of time it takes to settle a claim depends on several factors. The type of accident and your injuries are two significant issues in this process and your state’s laws. After all, they determine how fast it will take to complete the claims process. The steps in the claims settlement process are as follows:
- Filing the claim to your insurance company.
- Issue of response from the insurance regarding your claim.
- Review the response by the insurance company. An adjuster or lawyer will look at your case and decide how much money they will give in compensation for your claim.
- Negotiations with the insurance company about the settlement amount. Your insurance company will likely fight to keep you from receiving the largest settlement possible. They do this because it costs them more money if you receive significant compensation and they have to pay you out of pocket. For this reason, according to a car accident lawyer in Ohio, you should never file a claim with your insurance company or another party’s insurer without an attorney. Your law firm will fight an insurance denial and keep on negotiating with them until you receive a satisfactory amount. Insurance companies take advantage of unrepresented clients, making them lowball offers that don’t even begin to cover the costs associated with a car accident. Unfortunately, these negotiations can take months.
- A court case will be created if the negotiations do not lead to an agreement that satisfies both parties.
- After the decision is made in court, the insurance will settle the claim.
The Average Timeline for Car Accident Claims
The average time it takes to settle a claim depends on several aspects. The most crucial factor is whether or not the settlement is contested. If the payment is challenged, the process can take months or years, as there must be a dispute resolution hearing which needs to be approved by the court. The average timeline for an uncontested settlement is usually within two years and four months, while a contested one takes four years and four months.
Other Factors to Consider when Filing a Claim
Many different factors can affect how long your claim will take:
1. The Healing Time of Your Injuries
The time needed to heal your injuries will vary depending on the wound. Some injuries, like broken bones, may take only a few weeks to recover, while other injuries, like brain damage, can take much longer to heal and require more time than simple bone fractures. The identification and healing your injuries are important for keeping up with the statutes of limitations for filing a personal injury claim in your state.
2. The Evidence Collected
The insurance company will ask you for evidence that proves that the accident was not your fault. If you were not at fault, settling your claim will take less time than if you were at fault.
3. Finding Legal Help
If you owe money on medical bills or other damages, you should seek legal help to settle your case. If medical assistance and treatments are to be paid, you should make sure that your attorney can represent you in court before filing a claim.
4. Negligence Laws
If the negligence of another party caused the accident, then you will have to prove this in court. Negligence laws vary from state to state, so you should check with a lawyer before filing your claim.
5. Multistate Cases
Some car accident cases may be multistate, meaning that the case could end up in court in more than one state. It is imperative to check with an attorney before filing a claim because a claim in your state might settle faster than a claim across many states. Insurance companies will take advantage, so legal help in such situations is mandatory.
The average timeline provides a general estimate based on all factors involved in court and settlement cases. For instance, one person’s claim will take significantly longer than someone else’s. Therefore, you must know what to expect regarding your car accident claim and how many people file claims for the same type of injury or accident. Nevertheless, having an attorney will expedite the process and help you recover medical bills, lost wages, pain, suffering, or other damages you have incurred due to the accident.