Are you wondering how long your car accident settlement will take?
Many people who get into a car accident experience financial strain. As a result of the wreck, they have to take their car to the repair shop, pursue medical treatment, and maybe even take time off from work to recover. Pursuing a car accident settlement helps you afford your bills.
Still, you don’t get the money until after the process concludes. So, how do you know the average car accident settlement time frame? Below, we’ll go into everything you need to know about the amount of time your settlement might take.
So, if you’ve wondered “Why is my car accident settlement taking so long?” keep reading!
When You Start Matters
Have you ever wondered, How long after car accident can you claim injury?
Statutes of limitations apply to car accident lawsuits. In South Carolina, all people must file personal injury lawsuits within 3 years of an accident.
Should you fail to do so, South Carolina law will bar you from seeking compensation for your injuries.
If you reside outside of South Carolina, check our local laws regarding car accident injury lawsuits. Most states’ limitations hover around the 2-3 years mark.
Remember, don’t speak to the other driver’s insurance adjuster before talking to your own attorney. They may try to trick you out of getting all of the compensation you deserve for your personal injury claim.
The quicker you get started on your lawsuit, the sooner you will get to your settlement. This puts you at less of a financial disadvantage. So, work toward your settlement as soon as you can do so.
Finding a Lawyer
Next, you need to find a lawyer. How long this step in the car accident settlement process takes depends on you and how much time you can devote to your search.
Look online, check out professional lawyers’ pages like Expertise.com, and ask trusted friends and family for recommendations.
Most attorneys offer free consultations. This allows you and your potential lawyer to get to know each other before entering a legally binding agreement.
When you meet, you should take the opportunity to ask your lawyer any questions you may have. Pay attention to how well they listen to you and whether you like them.
If you don’t like the attorney, find another. Even if it takes you longer, you want to hire someone who believes in your case and can represent it well.
If you live in South Carolina, check out our services! We provide top-notch car accident legal services to our clients.
Understanding Car Accident Settlements
To understand the average car accident settlement time, you need to know about car accident settlements.
Car accident lawsuits fall under personal injury law, a branch of civil law. To win your settlement, you and your lawyer must establish that someone violated their responsibility to keep you safe, causing damages. This includes not following the rules of the road.
If the other party has been ruled at fault for the accident, this becomes a bit more clear-cut. Should the other party possess complete fault, you will get more money from them.
Yet, you can still get a good settlement if the fault remains unclear. In this type of no fault car accident settlement, your lawyer will establish how at fault the other party remains. Then, their insurance company might have to pay you an agreed-upon amount of money.
The Initial Investigation
Once you hire a lawyer, your attorney will start the process by doing their own investigation into your case.
This involves collecting information about your damages, like tracking your medical bills. They may also interview any eyewitnesses of the incident and speak to you about your experience.
At this point in the process, you should keep careful records of everything you spend on your damages. For instance, if you have surgery, keep the bill you get for the procedure. This serves as proof you needed to undergo this type of treatment, which strengthens your case.
This process can take weeks to months.
Next, the lawyer makes the first request for a settlement, otherwise known as the demand. The demand goes to the other party’s insurance company.
Then, the company decides whether it wants to make a settlement offer. Once an offer gets received, the lawyer reviews it and advises you on how to respond. This takes several weeks to complete on average.
Should you not reach an agreement at this point, the lawyer will file their legal complaints with the court. This becomes known as the complaint. The other side then gets served a lawsuit notice and has the chance to respond.
After this, both sides go into investigation mode.
They collect evidence to support their legal arguments. During this phase, they may interview eyewitnesses and gather further information about your injuries and damages. They will also share their findings with each other. They need to do so in order to ensure a fair legal process.
The discovery phase often takes a long time. It often goes on for several months, sometimes veering upwards of a year.
During this part of the car accident settlement process, the insurance company may make a settlement offer at any time. Should an offer come in, you and your attorney will go over it and then respond.
If you come to an agreement, the process ends at this point.
Should you fail to settle, the court will set a date for both parties to appear before a judge. Your attorney will present their legal arguments. The other side then has the chance to do so.
The judge then makes a verdict. If they rule in your favor, the other party will have to pay you a car accident insurance settlement.
Usually, the trial takes only a day or two.
Want to Learn More About the Average Car Accident Settlement Time?
The average car accident settlement time can vary. Yet, most car accident settlements conclude within a few months or a few years.
Do you want to get started on pursuing a car accident settlement? If so, our legal team wants to help you get to the best settlement as soon as possible. If you want to learn more about how we can help you get a car accident settlement, we are here to help.
Please contact us today to schedule a free consultation.
We serve the state of South Carolina and have law offices in the Midlands of South Carolina in Columbia, Orangeburg, and Lexington, SC.