How Long Does It Take to Get Car Accident Settlements?

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How Long Does It Take to Get Car Accident Settlements?

If you take your car to the body shop, you must pay for the repairs to your vehicle as soon as they’re done. The same is true if you visit the emergency room and do not have insurance. You will receive a bill before you walk out the door.

While it’s reasonable for a business to want to get paid as soon as it has provided services, that can be problematic if you are the victim of a car accident. Nobody handed you money minutes after you stumbled out of your wrecked vehicle.

You have to wait until an insurance company sends you a check. And if you have ever dealt with an insurance claim, you probably know that the process can take weeks or months to complete. Unfortunately, the entire time you’re waiting, bills are piling up.

If you are facing mounting bills after a car accident, a car accident lawyer from Morgan & Morgan can help you get the money you need as quickly as possible. Contact us today to schedule a free case evaluation and get answers to all your pressing money questions.

How Long Does It Take to Get Car Accident Settlement Payments?

The car accident claims process begins the moment you get into a car accident and it ends when you receive a payment from the insurance company. There are multiple steps between those two ends that can take days or weeks to complete. You will not receive your money until every step of the process has been completed.

Filing a Claim

While the car accident is technically the start of the claims process, the insurance company can’t take any action until someone informs it that an accident occurred. Every minute you wait before filing your claim is another minute you have to wait to get paid.

The best time to file your claim is while you are still at the scene of the accident. There is a lot of information you need to provide when you file, and most of it will be readily available while you’re at the accident scene. 

Some of the information you may need to provide includes:

  • The names of all parties involved
  • Location where the accident occurred
  • A police report number, if it is applicable
  • Insurance policy information for all drivers
  • Names and contact information of any witnesses
  • Registration and license plate information for all vehicles
  • Contact information and driver’s license numbers for all drivers

The insurance company will require additional information before it can compensate you, but you shouldn’t share any potentially contested information—like who may have been liable for the accident—until you have a car accident lawyer. 

As such, the next thing you should do after filing your claim is to contact the car accident attorneys at Morgan and Morgan.

Investigation

Before an insurance company can pay you money, it needs evidence that your claim is valid. This means that it needs proof that the accident happened, that any injuries and damage you claim occurred during the accident, and that the policy claimed against will cover the incident.

To determine these facts, the insurance company will assign an investigator to the accident. It’s their job to investigate the facts of the case and share the results of that investigation with the insurance company.

Typically, this individual will speak with witnesses, visit the scene of the accident, and examine the damaged vehicles. These are all reasonable things to do, but they also take time. And depending on the cooperation of everyone involved, this step can take days, weeks, or even months.

You can speed up this step of the process by sharing any evidence you have with the insurance company as soon as possible. If you have pictures of your car or the accident scene, contact an insurance agent to determine where to send them. Similarly, you should provide any applicable medical records.

You will also need to provide a statement that reflects your account of the events of the accident. Your attorney will help you craft this statement. Never try to give this information without the help of a lawyer.

Evaluation

The next step—the evaluation—can easily be the longest and the one you have the least control over. During this step, the insurance company determines the value of your claim. Unfortunately, this is rarely simple and often involves a lot of opinions.

For example, if the insurance company needs to determine whether your car was totaled, there is no way to be certain. It will typically use estimates of the value of your car based on the year it was manufactured and the number of miles on it. But two different experts might give different estimates of its value.

Typically, when the insurance company is trying to determine the value of your claim, it seeks the lowest estimates. You need to counter this by providing evidence of a higher value. This means you should provide the insurance company with:

  • Medical records
  • Opinions from your doctor
  • Bills for services rendered
  • Estimates from a body shop
  • Records of income and lost work hours

Additionally, your car accident attorney can provide evidence from prior similar cases that show future expenses likely to arise from any injuries you suffered.

Similar to how you dealt with the investigation stage, you want to provide this information to the insurance company before it asks for it. The sooner it has the information, the faster your claim will be processed.

Additionally, your attorney should approve everything you send to the insurance company. You don’t want to accidentally send evidence that contradicts the claim you are making.

Finally, this is the stage of the process where your attorney will attempt to negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance company. They will use this evidence to determine the approximate value of your claim and will fight to get you compensation roughly equal to that value.

Appeal

This appeal step only happens if you disagree with the decision that the insurance company has made. The appeals process will make the time to resolve your claim even longer. 

During an appeal, you will have to provide evidence to the insurance company that a previous decision it made was incorrect.

Your attorney is familiar with this process and will take the lead throughout it. But even knowing how to handle an appeal usually doesn’t speed it up. There is not much you can do if you appeal a decision other than wait for the insurance company and your attorney to hash things out.

Payment

You would think the final process would be quick. You have agreed to a settlement offer and now all the insurance company needs to do is write a check. Unfortunately, this often takes a few weeks.

You can’t do much to speed this step up, though your lawyer will watch closely to make sure that the insurance company isn’t intentionally delaying payment. 

The one thing you should do is provide your insurer with any financial information it needs as quickly as possible. This usually just means that you need to give it a bank name and checking account number.

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FAQ

Get answers to commonly asked questions about our legal services and learn how we may assist you with your case.

  • How Will I Get Paid for My Car Accident Settlement?

    Typically, you will receive a check from the insurance company for a single lump sum that pays for all of your expenses. This process makes it easier for you to then pay your attorney or any other creditors. Depending on the insurance company, you might get the money via an electronic deposit into one of your bank accounts.

  • How Will Morgan & Morgan Get Paid?

    After you are paid, we will send you a bill equal to the percentage of your compensation that we agreed upon before the process began. You can pay us with the money you received from the insurance company. Our staff will be happy to discuss several payment options and let you pick from the most convenient one.

  • How Long Does It Take to Get Car Accident Settlements?

    Typically, after a car accident, you will get paid within a month or two. We have plenty of experience with these types of cases and can usually prevent them from going longer than that.

  • What Can I Do About My Bills Before I Get Paid?

    If you don’t have enough money to pay your bills while waiting for compensation, ask one of our attorneys where you can get additional help. We can direct you to resources designed to help victims of accidents.

    Additionally, we can also send a letter of intent to your creditors. This letter advises them that you are involved in legal action to get compensation for an accident and that you will promptly pay your bills once that action is complete. Typically, this delays the bill collectors until your case is concluded.

  • Could Anything Delay My Payment?

    Unfortunately, several things that are out of your control could delay your payment. Some of the most common of these are:

    • Difficulty getting the police report
    • Conflicting accounts from witnesses
    • Medical tests that take a long time for results
    • Witnesses or other drivers being uncooperative
    • People working on your case having a busy schedule
    • The insurance company refusing to negotiate a fair settlement

    The last of these is one of the few things that you have some control over. If the insurance company won’t negotiate a fair settlement, you can file a lawsuit to force it to pay you what you deserve.

  • How Long Will It Take to Get Payment if the Case Goes to Court?

    If the case ends up in court, it will typically be at least a year before you are paid, assuming that the jury rules in your favor. Most of that time won’t be spent in a courtroom. Typically, court cases involve a lot of pretrial motions, and the other side often has weeks to respond to each one.

    In the worst scenario, you might have to wait multiple years before you are paid anything. However, when cases take that long, it’s usually because one side has appealed the decision. If the insurance company appeals, that probably means that the jury has recommended a very high award.

  • Experienced Car Accident Attorneys Who Will Get You Money Quickly

    We understand that time is money. And the longer you have to wait for your money, the less value that money has to you. If you want to get money quickly after a car accident, contact us immediately to schedule a free case evaluation.

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