HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE FOR A SETTLEMENT AFTER A CAR ACCIDENT?
Car accident victims routinely have a common question - how long will it take for a case to settle? While each case depends on unique variables, before a settlement may be negotiated, four crucial things must happen:
- Medical treatment must be completed. This is routinely referred to as "maximum medical improvement" or "MMI". This is the point where an accident victim's medical condition has stabilized or plateaued. Either the patient has recovered and no additional medical care is necessitated, or the patient has plateaued and continuing medical treatment or rehabilitative programs are required to maintain the patient's current level of functioning. If future treatment is required, you will likely benefit from a future medical needs assessment so all of your medical damages are realized.
- All medical records, medical bills, and wage loss documentation must be secured and analyzed. Depending on the complexities of the case, medical treatment, and volume of medical records, this process may take between a few weeks to many months.
- A confidential settlement memorandum, or "demand letter" is issued to the insurance company. This document details the history of your injury claim - from the point of impact until treatment is completed. The key elements to a powerful and effective demand letter include a summary of facts surrounding the crash; legal and factual analysis of the at-fault party's liability; a detailed list of injuries and medical expenses with applicable diagnosis codes; out-of-pocket expenses; wage loss analysis; statement of pain and suffering, physical impairment, and emotional loss.
- A statement of economic, non-economic losses, and settlement demand calculation.
On average, it typically takes between 20 to 45 days for an insurance company to complete its preliminary evaluation and ongoing negotiations between your attorney and the claims adjuster typically may be concluded a few weeks after the initial offer of settlement. The process of negotiating the language of the settlement release and facilitating payment usually occurs within a week after the settlement amount is finalized.
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE FOR A SETTLEMENT, IF I HAVE TO FILE A LAWSUIT AFTER A CAR ACCIDENT?
In the event, the dispute cannot be negotiated, a lawsuit may be necessary. After a Complaint and Jury Demand is filed, a trial date is set by the parties. The length of time until resolution depends on the court's docket and the parties' progress on pretrial discovery, depositions, and motions.