How Long Do Car Settlements Take?
The large majority of personal injury claims are ultimately resolved between the two parties. That said, the amount of time that it could take for a claim to resolve can vary. Some cases settle within a matter of hours or days. Others can take years to resolve. While there is no way to directly estimate how long your case might take, there are certain factors that could impact the length of your case.
Although it is impossible to pinpoint the exact length of time your case might take, a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer might be able to help. An attorney with extensive experience handling car accident claims might be able to review your case. After considering the facts of your case, your attorney could not only advise you of your chances of recovery but the amount of time it might take to resolve your claim.
Settlement without litigation
It is possible for your Los Angeles car accident attorneys to settle your claim without ever filing lawsuit. While this outcome is not uncommon, it typically only occurs when there is no question of who was responsible for a crash. In straightforward cases with limited damages, insurance companies are often willing to settle within days. In other cases, a short period of negotiations could lead to a settlement. In either of these situations, the process could be surprisingly brief. When settlement is not possible, a lawsuit might be the next necessary step.
The car accident lawsuit process
Approximating the amount of time your car settlement might take is impossible without understanding the litigation process. No two claims play out in exactly the same way, but each of them follows the same general timeline. It is important to remember that your Los Angeles personal injury lawyer could resolve your claim at any point during the lawsuit. Some cases settle shortly after a complaint is filed while others only conclude shortly before trial begins.
Every lawsuit begins with the complaint. In some states, this document is also known as a petition. The complaint formally initiates the lawsuit and outlines the allegations of the defendant. Once the plaintiff formally serves the defendant with a copy, the defendant may file a written answer.
After these documents are filed, the case enters the discovery phase. The discovery phase involves both parties sharing the evidence they intend to bring at trial. This is done when each side makes formal requests of documents or performs depositions. Settlement is common at the end of the discovery phase, as it often gives both sides a clear picture of liability.
If a settlement does not materialize, the trial occurs next. Often, these trials are decided by a jury of your peers. Both sides will have the opportunity to put on their evidence before the jury makes its decision. At the end of the trial, the court could award you a specific amount of compensation. That is rarely the end of the case. Some defendants refuse to pay and file an appeal. Others lack the resources to pay the award for damages. This means many claims continue long after a trial is held.
Factors that impact the time to settle a case
There are a few factors that can impact the length of a claim. The first is the scale of your injuries. If you are pursuing compensation for minor hospital bills, a claim might resolve relatively quickly. On the other hand, if you are seeking compensation for a life-long disability it could take much longer to resolve your case.
Your own insurance company could slow down the process. There are times you will need documents and information from them in order to negotiate with the other driver’s carrier. If they are not helpful, you could find the process to be drawn out.
Settling a car accident case also can take longer if the at-fault driver does not have insurance. While it is possible to recover compensation from an uninsured driver, they are less likely to have the assets available to resolve your claim right away.
Speak with an attorney
If you would like an idea of how long your case might take to resolve, Ellis Injury Law is ready to help. Schedule your free consultation right away to discuss your claim in person.