After suffering injuries and property damage in a car wreck, you may wonder how long it takes to settle a car accident claim.
The answer is that it depends. With mounting medical expenses and an inability to work, you may also be eager to accept any offer of money to minimize your financial burden.
While a speedy resolution may be your goal to alleviate these financial stresses, it’s crucial to obtain the compensation that supports you and your family on the road to recovery.
An experienced Georgia car accident attorney can help answer the question, ‘How long does it take to get a car accident settlement?’
How Long Do Car Accident Lawsuits Take?
Rushing through the claim process may sound ideal if it gets you compensation quickly. You may become impatient as you wonder how long it will take to settle your claim. Understanding a realistic timeline for your settlement claim may alleviate disappointment and the mistake of accepting the first offer of settlement.
After the Collision
Immediately after the car crash, taking the proper steps to preserve relevant evidence is vital. Of utmost importance are your health and the safety of your passengers. However, if you are physically able, taking the following steps in the immediate aftermath of a car wreck is in your best interest:
- Call 911. Request police to report to the scene to create a report and assess for any injuries.
- Personal Information. Obtain the other driver’s name, contact information, and insurance information.
- Witnesses. Gather the names and contact information of any potential witnesses to the car wreck.
- Photographs. Take photographs of the scene, your injuries, and any property damage.
- Seek Medical Attention. Maintaining a clear connection between the crash and potential injuries is vital to compensatory relief. Seek medical attention immediately.
- Document Evidence. A written account of the events leading up to the collision can refresh your recollection as your memories fade.
Using this information, a qualified personal injury attorney is better equipped to lead successful settlement negotiations.
Once your attorney acquires the necessary evidence, they may draft a demand letter to the insurance company.
The demand letter provides the following information:
- Your account of the claim
- Injuries suffered in the incident
- Damages demanded
The settlement process begins once the demand letter is sent.
Response and Review
On receipt of the demand letter, the insurance company files your claim and provides you with their next steps. Georgia law provides that insurance companies have 15 days to file your claim.
Once filed, an insurance company must accept or deny the claim within 15 days. At the point of acceptance, your attorney begins negotiating with the insurance company on a fair settlement.
Most attorneys advise their clients to not accept the first settlement offer. Insurance companies often low-ball their initial offer to save money. It’s important to remember that negotiations may go back and forth for a considerable period before settling. Once parties reach a settlement, the insurance company must pay out the claim within ten days.
On acceptance of a settlement offer, the insurance company has ten days to make the final payment.
Factors That Affect the Average Time for a Car Accident Settlement
Several factors may impact the average time for a car collision settlement. Sit down with your attorney to determine how these factors affect your settlement timeline.
Extent of Damages
The extent of your economic and non-economic damages impacts how long it takes to settle a claim. You may not fully understand the extent of your damages immediately after a collision. However, those damages may become more apparent in the months after the crash.
Determining fault is vital to settlement negotiations. Georgia operates as a comparative fault state where both drivers may be found at fault for a collision. However, if your fault amounts to less than 50% of the crash, you can still recover some of your total damages.
Severity of Injuries
If your injuries require extensive medical attention and long-term care, it may be challenging to calculate your total damages adequately. Therefore, catastrophic injuries may substantially impact how long it takes to settle a car accident claim.
For nearly 40 years, the attorneys at Blasingame, Burch, Garrard & Ashley, P.C. have secured over $800 million in compensation for their clients.
Our dedicated team represents clients on various legal matters, including personal injury. We rely on extensive resources, a high skill level, and decades of experience to help you navigate the legal process. We understand this must be a challenging time, and we want to help you.