How Long Does It Take to Get a Settlement From a Car Accident?

Lever & Ecker, PLLC March 11, 2021 Car Accidents

After a car accident, it can be stressful and frustrating to wait for your settlement money. In certain instances, it can take six to eight weeks, but each situation is unique and in other situations settlements take large amounts time. In order to secure a settlement check, large amounts of energy and negotiations between attorneys and appropriate entities may be required. It may even be a few months to multiple years, depending on the facts, circumstances and damages involved in each case. 

Why Do Car Accident Cases Take So Long?

The number one reason car accident settlements take so long is the length of time needed for the injured party to make a full recovery. The last thing that the victim and their attorney want to do is settle a claim before understanding the full extent of the injuries and damages. The settlement and negotiations process to resolve a car accident claim do not even begin until medical treatment is complete, and the injured party’s condition is either cured or at maximum medical improvement Other reasons why car accidents can take a long time to settle include: 

  • Issue of Fault: proving that the other driver was 100 percent at fault may be difficult if they deny liability or it isn’t clear at the time of the accident. Your attorney will need to take time to investigate the collision and collect evidence to support your claim that the other driver is liable.
  • Evidence is Denied: another problem that can prolong a settlement is if the insurance company does not accept the evidence. In this case, your attorney may need to file suit and take the case to trial.

After sending a demand letter, receiving an opening settlement offer from the insurance company can take between two to six weeks (although they can take longer). Negotiations may go back and forth for two more weeks after that before reaching a fair settlement. The insurance company will then require a signed release of liability before mailing a check. Insurance companies often take their time to issue settlement checks, sometimes up to 30 days. Your attorney will receive it, and at that point, will deposit the check into a special trust or escrow account. This is only temporary, and once the check clears (one to three days), your lawyer will distribute your settlement money. 

On the other hand, your attorney may not reach a fair settlement agreement with the insurer. You then have the choice to proceed to trial, which will lengthen and involve an entirely different timeline. 

Who Pays for a Car Accident Settlement?

The primary source of car accident settlement payments is generally the responsible party’s car insurance company. 

The At-Fault Driver’s Insurance Company

Liability coverage protects at-fault drivers from having to pay for a crash out-of-pocket. However, each car insurance policy has limits, which means an insurer will not pay beyond a certain amount.  Other potential sources of settlement funding are: 

The At-Fault Driver

Car accident cases involving severe injuries and property damage may result in losses that exceed policy limits. In this situation, victims can choose to sue the at-fault driver personally for the remaining amount. Though an auto accident lawsuit may not be successful if the person responsible does not have personal assets, such as cash, investments, or real estate. 

Your Own Insurer

Many people have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage as part of their car insurance policy. If the other driver does not have insurance, a high enough policy limit, or personal assets, this can also be an option to help pay for your settlement.

We Can Help 

If you or someone you love has been involved in a car accident that was not your fault, contact Lever & Ecker, PLLC. Our law firm composed of New York car accident lawyers understand the particularities involved with settlement negotiation and settlement payment. Our attorneys can provide the legal advice victims need to understand their situation. Call us 24/7 at (877) 721-3512 to schedule a free consultation.

memberships + accolades