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Not sure how long it will take to get money from a car accident settlement? Many people are rightfully concerned with whether they will get fairly paid before getting too deep into debt.  They are unsure if it will take weeks, months, or even years before they see the insurance claim settlement. 

In this blog post, Vermont accident attorney Drew Palcsik covers common factors that help him determine how long it takes to reach a car accident settlement.

Many people who call me want to know how long a personal injury claim and, if necessary, lawsuit usually takes. The truth is, accident lawyers can never be sure of how long it will take before we reach a settlement with the insurance company. But we do know the factors that impact the length of your injury claim or lawsuit.

So let’s talk about some of those factors involved in how quickly you will get money from an accident settlement.

What is the general timeline for a personal injury claim?

Generally speaking, most cases wrap up somewhere between six months and three years after we first meet you as a client. Now, where you fall within that spectrum is going to depend on a number of different things. 

As a general matter, whether your case is handled as an insurance claim or goes to court is going to make a big difference in terms of how quickly it finishes. On one hand, insurance claims are typically resolved quicker than cases that go to court and, in particular, to a jury. 

But there are risks and benefits to each approach, so we can’t say for certain that you should resolve your case as an insurance claim, or will need to go to court to get a fair outcome.

Factor #1: When is the statute of limitations?

One of the first issues we look at when determining how long your car accident settlement will take is the amount of time that’s passed since the injury happened.

If the first time you’ve called a lawyer is just before the statute of limitations is about to expire, your lawyer is probably going to have to file a lawsuit, and you can expect another year and a half to two years before your case resolves. 

On the other hand, if you were just injured last week, and you give us a call, we’ll probably have an excellent opportunity to work your case up and give it its best shot to resolve as an insurance claim without having to file a lawsuit. In that case, we may be able to get the job done quicker.

Factor #2: How has the injury impacted your life?

The second factor in determining how long your case will take requires us to evaluate your injuries.

If you’ve been permanently injured in a way that affects your ability to work and take care of your family, that’s going to be a more complicated case, and that’s probably a case where we’re going to have to file a lawsuit and take it to trial. And you can expect that that will take longer. 

On the other hand, if you have an injury to a specific body part, say a broken arm or a broken rib, and you’ve recovered for the most part, and you can still work and take care of your kids, that’s a case that we have a pretty good chance of resolving as an insurance claim and that you can expect that it might be a little bit quicker to wrap up.

Factor #3: What is the insurance coverage?

We will also need to figure out which insurance companies are responsible to pay for your injuries and what the limits of coverage are. The amount of insurance available can impact how long it will take until you receive your accident settlement. 

Oddly enough, the more insurance there is, the harder the insurance companies are going to fight against you. And those are cases that often wind up in court, and they’re going to take longer.

Factor #4: Is the insurance company denying your claim?

Another thing that affects how long your injury case takes to resolve is what’s in dispute. A personal injury claim requires you, as the injured person, to prove a few different things in your case. 

  • You have to prove that the other person is at fault (fault, or liability or negligence);
  • You have to prove that you were harmed (damages); and
  • you have to prove that there is a connection between the two (causation).

If the defense is arguing that the crash wasn’t the fault of its insured and also that you weren’t hurt, that’s a case that’s going to take longer than a case where the defendant admits that they were at fault, and they acknowledge that you were hurt, but you’re only arguing over how much you were hurt.

Factor #5: What do you need out of your car accident insurance claim?

Finally, there’s the question of what do you need or want out of your personal injury case? You may be relying on this case to provide necessary medical care and replace lost income. In that case, you may have no choice but to stick it out and go all the way to make sure that you get the justice that you deserve. 

On the other hand, you may have recovered from your injuries, and you’re ready to move on from this chapter in your life. Everybody has a different need, and so every case is going to be different in terms of how far we need to push it to get the outcome that you want and that you deserve. Remember, it’s up to you to decide whether or not to take a case to trial or settle.

Remember, every case is different, of course, but these factors will probably play a role in your case. Eventually, though, it will finish, and you’ll be able to put this experience behind you.

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