17th January 2021
After a car accident, you may be wondering how long it takes to settle an injury claim for your damages.
After you’re involved in a car accident, you may be stressed about the amount of debt that you’ve accumulated. From medical bills to lost wages, the costs of a car accident can add up. The more severe your injuries are, the more you’re going to have in debt. Many people believe that a car accident will never happen to them, so when it does, they’re usually unprepared for the toll it can take on a person. In 2018, there were approximately 37,000 fatalities associated with car accidents. And that’s just fatalities. There are around six million car accidents in the United States each year, with half of those resulting in injuries.
Similarly, filing a lawsuit often seems like a mystery. Generally, you don’t know the process of a lawsuit until you actually have to go through one, which can make things all the more stressful. However, an experienced attorney will be able to walk you through the process easily.
Should I Settle my Car Accident Case?
Deciding whether or not to settle your car accident case can be a tricky decision. The decision to settle ensures that you’ll get the amount of money outlined by your attorney and the insurance adjuster’s decision. However, there’s always a chance you could get more money if you were to take your case to trial.
Your injury claim has two values, its trial value and its settlement value. The trial value is the total of your combined damages (economic and non-economic). Your settlement value is calculated based on the chance you have at winning your trial. For example, if you had a 50% chance of winning your trial and a trial value of $300,000, your settlement value would be $150,000. Basically, the higher chance you have of winning your trial, the more your settlement will be, as insurance companies want to avoid taking cases to court.
What Factors Affect the Timeline of my Settlement?
Getting a settlement can be a long road. And it may take months to a year for your attorney and the insurance company to come to a decision. If a decision is never made, your case will be taken to trial for the judge to decide. However, there are many factors that affect the amount of time it takes for your case to be settled.
Severity of Damages
Most insurance companies don’t want to settle a case until after all of your damages have been reported. If you have high damages because of an ongoing injury or disability, you may need to wait longer for your case to be settled. If your injuries are going to be lifelong, your doctor will need to submit documentation about your lifelong treatment for review. Injuries that usually require lifelong or longer than average treatment include traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and internal injuries (like severe organ damage).
How Cooperative the Opposing Side Is
If the opposing side isn’t being cooperative, this will cause a delay in your settlement timeline. It could be that the at-fault driver isn’t cooperating, or that the insurance company isn’t cooperating. This is a tactic that is used by insurance companies. They specifically choose to elongate your settlement timeline so that when they finally offer a settlement, you’re more encouraged to take the money.
Is Fault Being Questioned?
If fault is still in question, this can cause a delay in receiving a settlement offer as well. Even if fault seems to be clear, insurance companies may still try to argue that you are partially at fault or even fully at fault for something miniscule.
In general, legal proceedings for car accident claims take a long time. And with insurance companies actively trying to delay your settlement offer, it can take even longer. Settlement can’t be reached until your bills have been reported, fault has been determined, and the case has been further investigated. All of these things take time. However, an experienced attorney will be able to provide you with an estimated timeline. Additionally, your attorney will work hard to ensure the insurance companies don’t delay your claim too much.
What if They Don’t Offer a High Enough Settlement?
If you aren’t offered a high enough settlement amount, you can choose to take your case to trial. At trial, a judge and jury will decide how much you should be awarded if they find that you’ve won the case. Your attorney will argue your case on your behalf and witnesses will be called to support your case.
Contact a North Dakota Car Accident Attorney
If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident, please contact one of our experienced attorneys here at Sand Law. We have years of experience working on car accident claims, and we’re ready to take on your case. For more information please contact us online or at 701-609-1510.