Vehicle use is so common in the United States that in 2022, less than 6% of people aged 16 and over did not drive regularly or occasionally. High traffic volumes are one reason motor vehicle accidents (MVAs) occur daily. In 2019, more than 12 million vehicles in the U.S. were involved in MVAs, which injured over 2.7 million people and caused 36,096 fatalities. 

Many who’ve suffered property damage or injuries or lost a loved one in an MVA are stunned or traumatized by the accident and its impact on their lives. If you’ve been in an accident, you may wonder how to pay for medical expenses and other costs and how to get justice from the at-fault driver. You may also wonder how long car accident settlements take. An experienced car accident attorney will answer your questions and keep you informed throughout the claims process.

If you have been injured in a car accident, let Sette Law help you.

HOW LONG DO CAR ACCIDENT SETTLEMENTS TAKE?

The timeline for resolving a car accident settlement depends on multiple factors. In an ideal situation, the insurance company responds promptly to the demand letter issued by your car accident lawyer. The insurance company accepts their client was at fault, accepts your claim, and pays immediately. But this isn’t always the case.

Ideally, you’ll discuss your accident with your attorney. Your legal team will investigate and gather evidence supporting your claim and help you calculate the damages you seek. Your attorney needs enough information to justify the alleged at-fault party is liable for your accident. Once your attorney has the necessary information, they’ll issue a demand letter to the at-fault party’s insurance company. 

The insurance company has 15 days to confirm it received your demand letter. It then has 40 days to investigate the claim. It uses this investigation to determine whether to accept or deny your claim. 

Suppose the insurance company accepts your claim. In that case, they have 30 days to pay the claim. In an ideal scenario, you could have your settlement in less than three months.

FACTORS THAT CAN EXTEND A CAR ACCIDENT SETTLEMENT CLAIM

Your claim timeframe can be extended when the insurance company doesn’t agree to pay immediately. There are many reasons a car accident lawsuit may take several months to resolve, including the following:

  • Extension requests: Although the insurance company has 40 days to investigate and accept or reject your claim, they can request extensions to conduct their investigation
  • Disputes over fault: Some accidents may involve multiple at-fault drivers. When this happens, the insurance companies may dispute their clients’ percentage of liability. 
  • The complexity of the case: It takes longer to investigate complex MVAs. Other factors may also affect the compensation amount, such as pre-existing injuries. Accidents with uninsured motorists, underinsured motorists, and hit-and-run drivers can also take longer to resolve.
  • The severity of your injuries: You may need time to calculate the total compensation to seek because doctors need to perform more medical tests to assess your condition, determine your prognosis, and develop a treatment plan
  • Quality and amount of evidence: You must establish the at-fault driver’s negligence and demonstrate that their negligence caused your injuries. Insufficient evidence can make it hard to establish the at-fault driver’s liability. 
  • The insurance company denies the claim: Some insurance companies are inclined to deny claims and extend the claims process through prolonged settlement negotiations or take the case to trial. Resolving a claim could take several months or a few years if the case goes to trial.
  • Punitive damages: Gross negligence justifies a claim for punitive damages. Since punitive damages can significantly increase the total compensation amount, insurance companies may challenge a claim involving punitive damages. 
  • Self-representation: Individuals who try to navigate a claim without an attorney must learn the legal requirements, conduct their investigations, gather evidence, and respond to communications from the at-fault party’s insurance company. Coping with your recovery while trying to handle a legal claim can extend the timeline for resolving your claim.

AN EXPERIENCED CAR ACCIDENT ATTORNEY CAN HELP YOU GET THE COMPENSATION YOU DESERVE IN A TIMELY FASHION

Your attorney will ensure you consider all the costs you have incurred because of your accident when calculating economic damages, such as the following:

  • Burial expenses
  • Childcare costs
  • Funeral expenses
  • Home care 
  • House cleaning bills
  • Lost income
  • Medical expenses 
  • Property damage 
  • Transportation costs

Your attorney will also determine all reasons you can seek non-economic damages, which can include any of the following:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Grief
  • Impact on quality of life
  • Loss of intimacy
  • Pain and suffering
  • Phobias
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

In addition to helping you calculate the damages to seek, your attorney will use their legal team to confirm the at-fault party’s liability through a thorough investigation and gather evidence they can use to negotiate on your behalf. Substantial evidence can expedite the process because it supports your claim and makes you more likely to win your case at trial. Consequently, the insurance company is less likely to deny your claim. 

IF YOU HAVE BEEN IN A CAR ACCIDENT IN SACRAMENTO, LET SETTE LAW FIGHT FOR YOU

Having an expert legal team on your side after a car accident allows you to focus on your recovery with the confidence that your legal team is fighting on your behalf. The Sacramento legal team at Sette Law is ready to investigate, answer your questions, and ensure you get compensation for the personal and financial toll stemming from your accident. 

Let the car accident experts at Sette Law help you recover the damages you are entitled to.

SOURCES:

American Driving Survey: 2022. (2023). 

Carlier, M. (2023). Road Accidents in the United States – Statistics & Facts

Goguen, D. (2023). When Should the Car Insurance Company Respond to My Demand Letter?

Number of road traffic-related injuries and fatalities in the U.S. from 1990 to 2020. (2024).

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