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How Long Does it Take to Settle a Car Accident Lawsuit?

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What is the Average Timeframe for a Car Accident Settlement?

What is the Average Timeframe for a Car Accident Settlement?

Dec 20, 2021

Suffering a car accident injury can be a traumatic experience that leaves a victim facing a long and arduous road to recovery. Multiple stressors can arise after a car accident involving an injury, including how one will pay for medical bills, whether lost wages will be involved, and dealing with pain and suffering.

While a quick settlement offer from the at-fault party’s insurance company might be enticing, car accident victims may stand to benefit significantly from consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney. But when facing mounting medical bills and an inability to work as a result of your injuries, you may be wondering how long a car accident settlement will take to secure, allowing you make a complete recovery – physically, emotionally, and financially.

Below we will review what’s involved in a car accident personal injury claim, discuss how long the settlement process may take, and provide information on how to file a civil lawsuit in pursuit of a maximum financial damages award.

What is Involved in the Car Accident Settlement Process?

When you hire an attorney to handle your car accident claim, the first step of the settlement process will likely involve issuing a demand letter to the at-fault party (or his or her insurance company). This typically begins the settlement negotiation process, and your attorney will work to secure the largest possible settlement based on liability, the severity of your injuries, etc.

If the at-fault party or insurance company responds quickly to the demand letter, your attorney may be able to negotiate a maximum settlement without even having to file a lawsuit. Such cases can often be settled quickly – often in less than three months. However, insurance companies are frequently slow to respond to demand letters (particularly if a car accident attorney isn’t involved), and in many cases a lawsuit will need to be filed. Once a lawsuit is filed, the defendant usually has between 30 and 45 days to respond. A car accident case involving a lawsuit will typically take a bit longer to reach a settlement – potentially between three and six months depending on the complexity of the claim and severity of your injuries.

If a settlement cannot be reached, your attorney may have to take your case to trial. However, some car accident lawyers do not have courtroom experience, and they may be either unable or unwilling to proceed accordingly (and therefore more likely to accept an unfair settlement offer).

At Dordulian Law Group (DLG), we prepare every car accident claim for trial, and our founder, Sam Dordulian, has more than 100 jury trial victories. When selecting the best car accident lawyer to handle your claim, an important question to ask during the free consultation phase is: Do you have courtroom experience and are you willing to take my case to trial if a settlement isn’t reached through negotiations?

Why Should I Hire a Car Accident Lawyer?

Why Should I Hire a Car Accident Lawyer?
Hiring a car accident lawyer to handle your injury claim can be a prudent decision for a number of reasons. For example:

The Insurance Research Council (IRC) recently conducted a study which confirmed the following:

  • Settlements for injured claimants were 40% higher when they had secured private legal representation.
  • The average insurance payout was 3.5 times higher for injured victims who hired private attorneys (when compared to those representing themselves).
  • 85% of all money paid by insurance companies for bodily injuries is received by victims who have secured representation from a private personal injury attorney.

Injured car accident victims are encouraged to always consult with an experienced, trusted, and proven attorney before:

  • Speaking to the insurance company
  • Making any statement regarding your car accident
  • Signing any official documents
  • Accepting any type of settlement offer

How Long Does it Take to Settle a Car Accident Lawsuit?

As every car accident can vary in terms of overall liability, severity of injuries, and various other factors, no exact settlement timeframe exists. However, a skilled car accident lawyer will be able to evaluate your unique case and help provide an estimate for not only how long the settlement process may take, but also how much your claim will likely be worth. Some car accident lawsuits take just a few weeks to settle, while others may take four to six months or even a year if the claim is particularly complex. If your car accident claim involves straightforward and easily proven liability on the part of the at-fault driver, you can likely expect your settlement to be secured in less than three months. If you were involved in a multi-car crash where severe injuries occurred and liability is shared by several drivers, it may take a year or more to settle your claim. But again, each case is unique, and only your experienced car accident lawyer will be able to give you the most accurate estimate for the settlement timeframe and overall value of your claim.

Although each car accident case is unique, the following is a general overview regarding the average timeframe for a car accident settlement:

Your car accident involves easily proven liability and minimal injuries:

  • *Approximate average settlement time: One to three months

Your car accident involves moderate injuries and liability requires an investigation:

  • *Approximate average settlement time: Three to six months

Your car accident involves hard to prove liability and severe injuries:

  • *Approximate average settlement time: One year or more

* Each car accident case is unique, and the time required to settle your claim will depend on the specific circumstances. A DLG car accident lawyer will be able to provide a more accurate estimate after reviewing your case. DLG’s car accident lawyers always work tirelessly to secure a maximum settlement in the shortest possible timeframe.

What Factors Can Impact the Car Accident Settlement Process?

What Factors Can Impact the Car Accident Settlement Process?

  • Liability: California is a pure comparative fault state. This means that whenever a car accident involving an injury occurs, each driver is assigned a portion of the responsibility. Your overall liability may be 0% (making the other driver’s 100%), in which case the settlement process may be quick. But in some cases each driver shares a significant portion of liability (for example, a 60%/40% split). In these instances, the settlement process may take longer, as one driver may fight his or her assigned liability.
  • Severity of Injuries: If you suffer severe or catastrophic injuries as a result of a car accident, your attorney will have to work hard to ensure that all of your required medical expenses – past and future – are covered, not to mention damages like lost wages, pain and suffering, etc. Accordingly, the settlement process may take much longer. However, by hiring a DLG car accident lawyer you can rest easy knowing that when we accept your case, you will receive the best available medical care while we fight to secure all applicable damages and the largest possible settlement.
  • Evidence or Eyewitness Testimony: Having eyewitness testimony or other evidence that can help prove your claim (such as closed circuit TV or security video footage of the collision) may help expedite the car accident settlement process. At DLG, we understand the importance of securing critical evidence in a car accident claim. That’s why we have an in-house Chief investigator, a retired LAPD Central Traffic Division detective, investigating car accident cases for clients.

Schedule an appointment online for a free consultation today, or call us directly to speak to our top-rated, expert car accident attorneys.

How Do I File a Car Accident Injury Claim?

Contact a DLG Car Accident Division lawyer today for a free consultation. We’ll review the facts of your case and provide an estimate for how long the settlement process may take and how much your claim may be worth. DLG’s car accident lawyers have helped injured victims like you recover more than $100,000,000 while maintaining a 98% success record.

For a free and no obligation consultation with a car accident lawyer, contact us today at 818-322-4056. DLG’s No Win/No Fee Guarantee means you never pay a penny until we recover a maximum financial damages award for your car accident claim.

DLG is led by Sam Dordulian, a former Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County with more than 25 years of experience helping injured victims secure the justice they deserve.


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