You’ve been in a car accident and aren’t sure what to do now. It wasn’t your fault, and you aren’t sure what steps to take or how long it takes to complete the process. Lucky for you, you have a car accident attorney to answer your questions about how long it takes to get compensation after you’re injured. Keep reading to discover more about the process and average timelines.
Overview of the Process
Getting into a car accident is a traumatizing event. 43% of accidents involve an injury to the driver or a passenger. When you get injured, it’s important to follow the steps correctly to ensure you receive compensation. Those steps include:
Step 1: Hire a Car Accident Attorney
The first step and possibly the most important is to hire a lawyer. This not only ensures you get the compensation you’re entitled to, but it also protects you. Not only are they experts in the law, but they know how to navigate the process so you don’t have to. This is especially important when you are injured because you are entitled to compensation but may not feel like pursuing it. A lawyer can help.
Step 2: Gather Evidence and Expert Witness Statements
Once you have submitted the claim, the insurance provider issues an investigation. During this time, police reports, photos, and witness statements are collected. The insurer and the lawyer may also speak to expert witnesses, such as your doctor or an engineer, to understand what happened to you during the accident. This information is important to support the claim.
Step 3: Seek a Settlement
After a thorough review of insurance policies and evidence, the lawyer can seek a pre-lawsuit settlement. Many cases are resolved this way and are easier for all involved parties. This also keeps you from going to trial.
Step 4: Negotiate and Finalize the Settlement or Go to Trial
After a settlement has been proposed, the insurer may try to negotiate. Your lawyer may decide to file a lawsuit if they can’t settle, but this doesn’t mean it goes directly to court. They would go through another round of negotiation. If they can’t settle, then the case would end up going to trial.
If this happens, the time for compensation is significantly longer. It wouldn’t be issued until the entire trial was completed and a decision given.
Average Timeline to Compensation
Unfortunately, there isn’t an average timeline for compensation. Most people get compensated sometime between a few months and a few years after an accident. This is because many factors go into consideration when dealing with a car accident. If you want to speed up the process, you can speak to a car accident attorney in Kansas City. Otherwise, you must navigate the following alone:
If there is not a clear responsible party, a big part of the process is determining liability. This can make the settlement considerably longer. It takes time to investigate the incident and determine fault if it is not clear. If both parties are at fault, it also creates a longer settlement process. Working with a lawyer who specializes in car accidents helps you speed the process up.
Speak to Witnesses
Around 13 accidents happen every minute in the US. More likely than not, there was at least one witness to your accident. If there are many witnesses, then it can take a while for the necessary parties to talk with them and get a statement. Police offers generally get a statement at the scene of the accident, but when the cases become more complicated, it’s necessary to speak further with witnesses.
Have a Full Recovery From Injuries
You can’t get a full settlement amount if you are still receiving medical treatment. A large portion of the compensation you’ll receive includes medical expenses, so you must be fully healed from injuries before the case is settled and compensated. If you require future medical care, the case may be able to proceed once a medical professional has determined so.
Many states have strict rules around how long an insurance company has to respond to a claim. This is generally for the initial response, meaning it may take longer than what your state says further into the case. Some insurers delay processing on purpose in hopes you will drop the claim. By working with an attorney, you have someone who can speak on your behalf and negotiate with insurers to make sure they stay on track.
Check Processing Times
Once you have reached a settlement amount and everyone signs off, you still have to wait 4-6 weeks for the check to be mailed to you. Most people receive the check within 30 days after the claim is finalized.
Now you have a clear understanding of what to expect when waiting for compensation following an accident. Contact a car accident lawyer to learn more.