How Long Does a Car Accident Settlement Take?

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Seeking compensation in auto accident cases can be overwhelming and time-consuming. Typically, an auto accident case settles in 9 to 18 months. However, less complex car accident cases may take a few weeks to settle, depending on the severity of the damage, the strength of evidence, and how your car accident lawyer negotiates with the insurers.

What Is a Car Accident Settlement?

A car accident settlement is a resolution between parties involved in the crash. It involves financial compensation from the at-fault party’s insurance company to the car accident victims.

You can seek an accident settlement for the costs incurred if you’re injured in a car crash. The compensation depends on the state laws, the extent of your injuries, and any shared responsibility for the car crash. Typically, you have two options for seeking compensation:

  1. File a lawsuit and go to court.
  2. Negotiate a quick settlement outside court, usually with the at-fault driver’s insurance company.

What Is the Timeline for a Car Accident Settlement?

Predicting the timeline of your vehicle accident case can be challenging as several factors come into play. In many personal injury cases, the average time of settlements is around nine to eighteen months or even longer. However, if your accident claim is minor (Fender Bender), it typically takes a few weeks to settle.

Factors That Affect The Car Accident Settlement Timeline

It’s essential to understand that each case is different, and the timeline can vary depending on specific circumstances. The duration of your case depends on many factors, such as:

Clarity of Evidence

Identifying the responsible party in a car accident can expedite the settlement process. Clear evidence can speed up proceedings, while unclear evidence may cause delays.

Extent of Injuries

The severity of your post-accident injuries and the time it takes for you to recover can significantly affect the duration of your settlement. If you have a severe injury and require ongoing treatment, it may take several weeks or even months to accurately determine your medical expenses and the expected timeline for your recovery.

It’s essential to reach Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI) before settling your case. MMI is the point at which your condition has improved up to expectations. Waiting until you reach MMI ensures that you and your lawyer can accurately value your damages. If you settle your case before reaching MMI, you won’t be compensated for any more losses you may face in the future due to your car accident injuries.

Claims for less severe injuries, such as soft-tissue injuries like whiplash or general pain, may also slow the process. Insurance companies may request additional details to verify the validity of these types of injuries, as they are sometimes associated with fraudulent claims.

Little to No Proof of Liability

Proving liability can sometimes be challenging, especially when multiple drivers are involved. Cases with insufficient evidence establishing liability can face delays in reaching a settlement. Fortunately, a car accident lawyer can assist you in determining the best course of action and speed up the legal process.

Wrongful Death of a Loved One

Dealing with the wrongful death of a loved one in legal matters can be complicated, and it often takes a longer time to settle. This is because these cases involve careful investigation and consideration of many legal details. The emotional and legal challenges make the process more complex, and it might take some extra time to work through everything. This extra time is required for careful case evaluation, leading to a fair and just resolution for everyone involved.

Multiple Negligent Parties 

Dealing with multiple parties at fault for an accident, such as a truck driver and their company, can complicate and delay the settlement process. It involves navigating various legal intricacies and determining each party’s responsibilities, which can contribute to a prolonged timeline for reaching a settlement.

Willingness of the Insurance Company

In most cases, an insurance company can settle a claim within a few weeks if they agree to cooperate. If you’re dealing with a car accident, it can take them around 30-45 days to review and settle the case. However, things can get complicated if they don’t accept liability or offer a low settlement, which can prolong the process and lead to negotiations or a legal suit. If you have substantial damages, the insurance company might take extra time to investigate every detail related to liability and damages.

Why Is My Car Accident Settlement Taking So Long?

The settlement process for your car accident is taking longer than expected due to various factors, such as waiting for medical records, determining liability, and waiting for the insurance company’s response. These factors are usually beyond the control of the lawyer handling your case. However, it’s crucial to remain patient and understand that a fair settlement takes time. Your lawyer is working diligently to ensure that you receive the best possible outcome in your case.

Why Should You Settle Your Claim Outside Court?

Settling your claim outside of court can be a quicker and simpler process. In such a case, the insurer agrees to pay you a fixed amount in exchange for releasing the accused from any further liability related to the car crash.

Insurers generally prefer settlements to avoid the risk of strict court judgments. However, it is crucial to carefully evaluate the offered compensation amount to ensure it is fair before accepting it. Once you accept the offer, it may not be possible to change your decision later on. Therefore, it is essential to consider all aspects of the offer and make an informed decision.

What are the Steps Involved in Auto Accident Settlements?

If you’re seeking a car accident settlement, understanding the steps involved is vital. The duration of each stage can be different depending on the individual circumstances. The critical stages of filing a car accident claim are as follows:

Step 1: Reporting and Documenting the Accident

Begin by notifying the police about the accident and informing the insurance companies of all involved drivers. Capture the car crash scene with photos and videos to preserve essential evidence.

Step 2: Seeking Medical Care

Receive medical attention promptly and obtain a diagnosis for your car accident injuries. Make sure to keep your medical records for documentation. The documentation and calculation of damages may take several weeks to months for serious injuries.

Step 3: Gathering Evidence

Depending on the case’s severity, gathering evidence may take less than a few weeks to several months. Gathering evidence is a pivotal step in the aftermath of a car accident. It serves as the bedrock for establishing responsibility and determining liability. The evidence includes witness testimonies, witness history, police records, and photographs.

Witness testimonies provide valuable firsthand accounts of the incident, offering insights into the events leading up to the collision. In addition, police records also play a critical role in documenting the official investigation and conclusions made by law enforcement at the scene. These records often contain vital information, including statements from the involved parties, witness information, and photographs.

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Step 4: Assessing the Value of the Claim

Your lawyer can determine the potential value of your car accident claim by considering the following:

  • The seriousness of your injuries
  • Medical expenses
  • Available evidence

Step 5: Drafting a Demand Letter

You’ll need to write an official letter to the insurer demanding compensation that adequately covers the damages you have suffered. Your auto accident lawyer can help you write and send the demand letter to the negligent party or their insurer. Drafting the demand letter may take a few weeks, while the negligent party typically has 30 days to respond to the demand letter. 

Step 6: Negotiating the Settlement

The settlement negotiations typically take weeks to months after getting the first offer. It is a way to avoid going to court and expedite the settlement process. Always discuss and evaluate the case carefully to reach a mutually acceptable resolution.

Once you receive an offer from the insurance company, you can either accept the offer, reject the offer, appeal a claim denial, negotiate with a counteroffer, or file a civil lawsuit for compensation. It’s essential to carefully consider your options, weigh the pros and cons, and consult your car accident lawyer before making any decisions.

While accepting a claim offer can quickly settle your case, it may not be worth it if the offer is much lower than you need to recover your damages. If you appeal or negotiate for a higher settlement, the claim may take longer. If you file a lawsuit, the process will take even longer.

Step 7: Filing a Car Accident Lawsuit

In certain situations, filing a lawsuit is necessary to protect your rights, mainly when time is limited due to the statute of limitations in your state or when the insurance company does not reach a settlement you want.

If you and your lawyer decide to proceed with a lawsuit, it’s essential to understand the various stages of preparation that will be involved. These stages include pleading (duration: one to 2 months), discovery (duration: a few months to years), trial (duration: 1-2 days), and appeal (6-12 months). Depending on the details of your case, this process can take anywhere from several months to years.

What Is the Timeframe to File a Car Accident Lawsuit?

The timeframe to file a car accident lawsuit varies by jurisdiction, but it’s typically within 1 to 3 years from the accident date. In New York, the statute of limitations for filing car accident claims is three years. However, there is an extended period for specific cases. For instance, minors, severely injured victims, and at-fault drivers with existing trials may be able to file even after three years.

How Long Does It Take To Get Your Settlement Check?

Typically, it takes three to six weeks to receive payment after settling your car accident claim. During the process, the insurance company may request you to sign a release document that officially marks the end of the case and waives your right to sue any parties involved. Once you sign a settlement release, your case will be sent to your insurance company for processing. After they complete processing, your insurance company will close your case and send the settlement check to your lawyer. Upon receipt, your lawyer will deposit the money into an escrow account. The contingency fee for your lawyer will be deducted from the injury settlement amount, and then your attorney will send you your final check.

Additionally, the time it takes to receive your settlement check can depend on various factors. One of the main factors is the strength of your car accident case and whether you decide to settle inside or outside of court. If you have a strong case, you may be able to negotiate a higher settlement amount, which may take longer to finalize. Furthermore, the length of time it takes to receive payment may be affected by the amount offered in settlement. Insurance companies also play a role in the delay as they take time to review the case and evidence.

Why Having an Auto Accident Lawyer is Essential?

An auto accident lawyer can prove immensely helpful due to the complexities of filing court paperwork and starting a lawsuit. Throughout your auto accident case, they play a pivotal role in safeguarding your rights and providing crucial assistance in the following areas:

  • Managing paperwork efficiently
  • Initiating and handling lawsuits
  • Safeguarding your rights
  • Strategizing for a strong case
  • Negotiating with insurance companies
  • Reducing stress
  • Providing expert legal advice

Get Free Advice From Uptown Injury Car Accident Lawyer

If you’re trying to settle your car accident claim in New York, don’t hesitate to seek legal counsel. At Uptown Injury Law, PLLC, we understand the urgency of getting the compensation you deserve. With our expert team of car accident lawyers, you can trust that we’ll work tirelessly to ensure you receive the maximum compensation as quickly as possible.

Our lawyers have a track record securing up to $100 Million in settlements for our clients and hundreds of 5-star reviews from satisfied clients. Our comprehensive support covers both current and future needs, ensuring your settlement covers all damages from the accident.

We know that you’re eager to receive the compensation you deserve, and we’ll keep you informed throughout the legal process with regular updates on the progress of your case.

Don’t wait to start the settlement process. Contact us online or call 917-540-8728 to schedule a free consultation with one of our expert attorneys.


How Much Are Most Car Accident Settlements?

Car accidents can result in settlements ranging from $19,000 to $1,000,000, depending on specific circumstances. In case of minor injuries, the expected settlement value is approximately $29,700. On the other hand, if there are no injuries, you can typically expect a settlement value of around $16,700.

What Factors Influence the Car Insurance Claim Settlement Time?

The settlement timeline depends on various factors. These include the need for more medical treatment, involvement of multiple drivers, vehicle damage, and the expertise of your lawyer. The other driver’s role and your state’s statute of limitations also play a role. The timeline could range from a few months to several years.

What Is the Discovery Phase in an Auto Accident Case?

The discovery phase involves exchanging information and evidence between parties involved in car accidents. It allows both sides to gather facts and evaluate their claims. It also helps prepare for negotiations or trials.

When Should I Consider Settling My Auto Accident Claim?

You can settle your claim when you’ve fully recovered from your injuries and have calculated all the medical expenses and damages before settling.

What Role Do Personal Injury Lawyers Play in Car Crash Settlements?

A skilled personal injury attorney can significantly increase the value of your auto accident claim as they can handle effective negotiations with insurance companies and seek maximum compensation.

Can I Settle My Car Accident Claim for the Maximum Amount Without Going to Trial?

Yes, you can maximize your auto accident claim settlement without going to trial by thoroughly documenting damages, providing strong evidence, and negotiating effectively with the insurance company. Thus, talk to a skilled personal injury lawyer to ensure you understand the process strategically and secure the best possible outcome.

What Damages Can You Pursue in a Car Accident Lawsuit?

Auto accident victims can receive compensation for damages such as medical bills, future medical care, property damage, lost wages, and the pain and trauma caused by the accident. Your auto accident lawyer will file a personal injury claim on your behalf and secure maximum compensation for your losses.

When Will You Receive Your Settlement Check After Reaching an Agreement?

Depending on the complexity of your car accident case, the efficiency of the involved parties, and other factors, you can expect to receive your settlement check within four to six weeks.


Kyle Newman Founder and Senior Trial Lawyer at Uptown Injury Law New York's Best Personal Injury Medical Malpractice and Accident Law firm New York's Top Trial Lawyers
Kyle Newman Founder and Senior Trial Lawyer at Uptown Injury Law New York's Best Personal Injury Medical Malpractice and Accident Law firm New York's Top Trial Lawyers

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