What is the Average Time for Car Accident Settlements?
After an accident, many victims are wondering how long they must wait before they can get a check to cover their medical bills, lost wages, and property damage.
Unfortunately, there is no “one size fits all” answer. Instead of focusing on the average time for car accident settlement, it is better to focus on the different factors involved.
Seriousness of Your Injuries
Typically, we like to wait until our clients have reached maximum improvement before filing a claim. This doesn’t mean our clients are 100% well. Some injuries are permanent, so many clients will never return to their old selves. Instead, reaching maximum medical improvement means that a person will not get better with more care.
At this point, we have a good idea of the full cost of the injury, so we can submit an appropriate claim to the insurance company. If you have suffered relatively minor injuries, you might reach maximum improvement after a few months. In other cases, it might take a year or more.
Questions of Fault
Under Colorado law, a driver who is at fault for the crash must pay compensation to all the people injured. In some cases, it is obvious who is to blame. For example, a camera might have caught a driver speeding and slamming into a motorist at an intersection.
After other accidents, however, there is a genuine dispute as to liability. For example, if the accident was a sideswipe, it might not be obvious from looking at the cars who are to blame. When fault is in question, insurers need more time to investigate a claim. This can take several weeks or longer.
Cooperation by the Insurance Company
Some insurance companies are quick to offer a fair settlement. Others, by contrast, like to drag their feet by arguing about the seriousness of our client’s injuries or about fault. If an insurance company is motivated to settle, we can often settle in a day.
However, in other cases, it might take a month or more of back-and-forth negotiations before we agree on a settlement value.
Reaching an agreement with an insurer might be impossible, in which case we have to go into court and file a lawsuit. A lawsuit can take a year or more from start to finish, so we do everything we can to settle the claim instead.
Lawsuits take so long because each side can request information from the other during “discovery,” and there are usually many pre-trial motions that need to be briefed and argued. The trial itself should go quickly and end in a few days.
Speak to a Denver Car Accident Lawyer
The auto accident settlement timeline discussed in this article is general. Each case is different, and you should meet with an experienced attorney to review your circumstances. In some cases, it is possible to settle a car accident claim quickly, but you want to make sure you maximize your compensation.
Contact Denver Trial Lawyers ® today. We offer a free consultation to those who call.