Woman injured in a car accident using a crutch shakes hands with an attorney in a blue blazer with two other attorneys standing next to them.

Clients often ask our attorneys how much time it will take to settle their car accident claim. We recognize that the answer to this question is very important to injured people who are facing mounting medical bills and loss of income. The accurate answer is that the timing of a settlement hinges on many factors that determine how long a car accident settlement will take. In general, the process usually takes a few months and if the case proceeds to court, it could take more than a year to resolve.

This article explores several of the key factors involved in the settlement process, but every car accident claim is unique in some ways. You should talk with an experienced car accident attorney about how long you can expect your claim to take based on the specific facts. Call Joye Law Firm if you have questions about handling a car accident in which you or a loved one were injured.

Car Accident Settlement Timeline

Medical Treatment

The most important thing that needs to happen after a crash is the injured person needs to recover from their car accident injuries and complete medical treatment. With serious injuries, it may take several months to recover, even a year or more. It’s a mistake to agree to any settlement offer before you have completed medical treatment or reached maximum medical improvement. If you accept a quick settlement and then incur additional medical expenses, you may have to pay those bills yourself.

Obtain Records

The medical bills and medical records related to the car accident need to be obtained. They will document the seriousness of your injuries and the costs.

Insurance Offer

A claim generally needs to be submitted first to an insurance company. The insurance company will need time to evaluate the claim and respond. The insurer will review the medical records and medical expenses as part of the claim review process. If the insurer accepts financial responsibility for the claim, the insurance company will make a settlement offer to the injured person. If there is a dispute about the amount of the settlement, the two sides may negotiate toward a settlement.

Factors that Dictate the Settlement Process

There are a number of factors that influence how long the settlement process will take. Some of the most important include:

  • The Amount of Money at Stake

    — Settlement negotiations tend to take longer when a significant amount of money is at stake. An insurance company will take its time investigating every aspect of a claim if it faces the potential of a large payout or if liability is unclear.

  • The Severity of the Injuries

    —This is a critical factor in determining a settlement. When a car accident victim has serious injuries that require ongoing medical treatment, a settlement offer may include an estimate of future medical costs. This can be a problem. An injured person who accepts a settlement may find that their medical bills exceed the settlement. Generally, experienced personal injury attorneys recommend that their clients wait until they have completed medical treatment or have a clear understanding of their future medical needs to accept a settlement after a car accident.

  • Pre-existing Injuries

    —It’s crucial to have evidence proving that your injuries resulted from the car accident. If you have pre-existing injuries in your medical file, the insurer may try to cite your old injuries as the cause of your condition.

  • Strength of the Evidence

    —The evidence available in a car accident case can affect the speed with which a settlement is reached. Clear-cut evidence tends to lead to quicker settlements. For example, if the evidence strongly suggests that a driver was liable for an accident, then those involved may not need to spend much time debating the question of liability.

How Long Do I Have to Wait for My Check?

If an attorney represents you in negotiating a car accident settlement, the insurance company will send the check to the law firm, usually within 30 days of reaching an agreement. The law firm will deduct a portion to cover their legal fee and case expenses, resolve any medical liens you have and then present you with a check for the balance.

Contact a South Carolina Car Accident Lawyer

If you have been injured in a car accident in South Carolina, speak with one of our experienced personal injury lawyers about your legal options. We can review the circumstances of your injuries and discuss whether you have a right to demand a car accident settlement from the insurance company of the at-fault driver. We cannot guarantee any specific outcome to a case, but we can pledge to make every effort on your behalf.

Joye Law Firm has offices in North Charleston, Columbia, Clinton, Summerville, and Myrtle Beach. We are proud of the testimonials that former clients have shared about their experiences working with Joye Law Firm. We would like to help you too. Our goal is to have a positive impact on each person who turns to us for help. Call 888-324-3100 for a free case review, or use our online contact form.

Proven Experience

Joye Law Firm has represented injured people in South Carolina for more than 50 years and has a proven record of success. Learn more about our attorneys’ experience by reading about the following car accident settlement cases:

  • Half million-dollar settlement for the estate of a Marine killed in a crash caused by an 18-wheeler in Sumter, South Carolina – Read More
  • $1.02 million settlement for a woman who was rear-ended in Mount Pleasant while stopped at a stoplight resulting in severe neck injuries – Read More
About the Author

Mark Joye is the Head of the Litigation Department at the Joye Law Firm. A Board-Certified Trial Advocate with nearly 30 years of litigation experience, he currently serves on the Board of Governors for the American Association for Justice and is a past president of the South Carolina Association for Justice. In a recent trial, Joye headed a trial team that secured $17 million for a family killed in a tractor-trailer accident.

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