After suffering an injury in a car accident, many wonder, How long does it take to get a settlement check from a car accident? Your medical bills may be mounting, in addition to the stress of being unable to work. You may have also lost the use of your main mode of transportation. All these events compiled together may feel extremely overwhelming. Your main focus during these times may include questioning how long it takes to get a settlement after a car accident. As you move forward to get back on your feet, you may be eager to take the first offer of settlement received. However, it’s important to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney to negotiate a favorable settlement that works to your benefit.
What Is a Settlement in a Car Accident?
A settlement after a car accident is monetary compensation received by an injured party from the at-fault party.
The injured party, or plaintiff, files a lawsuit. Settlements may be negotiated between the parties. Many parties feel motivated to reach a settlement to avoid the often exorbitant costs associated with a trial.
What Should I Do First?
Florida operates as a no-fault state when it comes to car accidents. This law requires that people sustaining injuries from car accidents first seek coverage from their own auto insurance provider.
Your first step after an auto accident in Florida is contacting your auto insurance provider. Florida’s no-fault laws regarding car accidents require all Florida drivers to carry personal injury protection (PIP) insurance to cover medical expenses following an accident.
For more serious injuries, you can pursue a personal injury claim against the at-fault party for damages beyond those covered by your PIP policy.
Factors Impacting How Long It Takes to Get a Settlement from a Car Accident
Many factors influence the length of time from your accident to obtaining a settlement. The answer to the question, How long does it take to get a settlement check from a car accident? varies depending on the type of claim filed.
While you may feel strapped for cash, most personal injury attorneys recommend their clients not accept the first offer of settlement. Multiple factors impact how long it takes to get a settlement from a car accident.
If, for example, the insurance company believes your claim to be invalid, or if proving liability is challenging, then a car accident claim may take longer to resolve.
Additionally, in situations where the negligence or reckless behavior of the defendant is the question, an insurance company may not engage in settlement discussions.
The severity of your injuries following a car accident and your ability to accurately assess those injuries may delay the time it takes to get a settlement check from a car accident. Negotiations may slow in situations where your medical treatment is ongoing.
If a doctor can’t provide a concrete diagnosis of your ongoing medical needs, it may be difficult to obtain an accurate number for sufficient compensation. You may need to wait until your condition stabilizes before you move forward with a lawsuit.
Negotiations include a lot of discussions between both parties. In these situations, negotiations may pause, slow, or halt for inability to reach a settlement number on which both parties agree.
An experienced personal injury attorney can help you strategize regarding how to push the negotiation discussions forward when discussions stall.
Additional factors influence how long it takes to get a settlement after an accident, including:
- Quality and quantity of your evidence, and
- The insurance company’s response to your claim.
Therefore, it’s crucial to speak with a personal injury attorney. Retaining a personal injury attorney may not speed up the process to obtain a settlement. How long it takes to get a settlement after a car accident may depend on how long it takes to negotiate a settlement offer that satisfies your needs.
What Should Happen Before I Settle?
Before accepting any insurance settlement offer, speak with an experienced personal injury attorney. It’s important to consider the following factors before accepting a settlement offer.
Complete Assessment of Medical Treatment
No matter how long it takes to get a settlement from a car accident, before accepting a settlement offer you should receive a complete assessment of your medical treatment needs.
This may require that you reach maximum medical improvement (MMI)—the point at which you have recovered either completely or as much as your doctor expects you to recover. This may take weeks or months.
For example, let’s say you suffer a severe shoulder injury resulting in limited mobility of your arm. Reaching a MMI means you either recover full use of your shoulder or you receive a diagnosis regarding permanent limits on your mobility.
A diagnosis of permanent limited mobility of your arm means a change in how you will live your life moving forward. Any settlement offer should take into account how this will impact your quality of life, cause physical or mental pain, and affect your ability to complete important tasks.
Gather Medical Records and Bills
Gather all necessary and relevant medical records and bills to obtain an accurate calculation for compensation purposes. Additionally, these medical bills may be used to obtain accurate estimates of any future medical care required.
Gathering medical records and bills following a devastating car accident may be a lengthy process. Obtain the assistance of a qualified personal injury attorney to assist in calculating your compensatory losses.
A demand letter and package may be sent to an insurance company outlining the facts of your case and serves as an initial starting point in negotiations.
A demand letter may be specific and include information about how you were hurt, how the accident occurred, and how your injuries will affect you and your loved ones moving forward.