Receiving the compensation that you’re entitled to after a car accident doesn’t happen overnight. It’s going to take some time for you to recover from your injuries, build a strong case with your lawyer, negotiate with your insurance company, and if needed, go to trial.
Depending on the facts of your case, you can expect to be working on your settlement for 9-18 months after the accident. We provide the whole settlement process below to give you a better idea of the timeline.
The Car Accident Settlement Process Timeline
Getting a settlement for a car accident claim involves a series of steps, each taking anywhere from several days to months, depending on the complexities involved in your case.
Medical Treatment (1-12 Months)
Before even thinking about fighting for your compensation, you should first prioritize getting medical attention for your injuries and working on your recovery. Even if you feel that this step can wait, you should know that your recovery can impact your personal injury claim and settlement amount.
Seek medical attention immediately after a car accident and cooperate with the treatment plan curated by your doctor. Depending on the nature and severity of your injuries, it can take 1-12 months for you to reach full recovery or maximum medical improvement.
Lawyer Assessment (2-6 Months)
After you recover, you can begin pursuing your claim. At this point, you should speak to a car accident lawyer in San Antonio who can evaluate and assess your case and help you through the settlement process. Your attorney will collect evidence to support your claim, including your medical bills and records, expenses involved in the accident, property damage, wage loss, etc.
This whole process can take 2-6 months, depending on your unique case. But you can fast-track this by quickly providing your attorney with any information or documents they need to build your defense.
Demand Letter (4-6 Weeks)
When your attorney gets a good grasp of your case and assesses your damages, they will start negotiating a claim with your insurance provider. This is done through a demand letter, which the insurance company will have to respond to. The whole back-and-forth correspondence can last from 4 to 6 weeks.
Insurance Claim Filing (2-4 Weeks)
If a settlement cannot be agreed on, your attorney may initiate a lawsuit and serve a complaint to the defendants. The latter will have to respond to the complaint within 20 days.
While the lawsuit has been filed, this doesn’t mean that your case will go to trial. The defendants may agree to a settlement at any point in the process.
Discovery (6-12 Months)
The discovery process is when all the parties involved in the case gather and exchange information. This is done to assess the damages that you are entitled to, as well as to help your lawyer and the other parties build their defenses.
For simpler cases, discovery can take as short as a couple of months. But if your case is complex with severe legal issues and multiple parties involved, you should expect discovery to take a year to complete.
Mediation and Negotiation (2-4 Weeks)
After the discovery process, the parties get an idea of where they stand and their likelihood of succeeding in a trial. They are given the opportunity to negotiate with each other and hopefully, reach a fair settlement.
This alternative dispute resolution process can take 2-4 weeks and ends when your attorney or the other party decides to either agree to a settlement or proceed to trial.
Trial (1-3 Days)
If a settlement cannot be negotiated, the case can proceed to trial. This process is relatively quick and will require only 1-3 days for the parties to present the case to a judge.
The parties can settle at any point in the process, even during trial. Your attorney will help you assess a settlement offer to see if it’s favorable. If you opt to sign and return the settlement agreement, you can expect a check with the settlement amount within 30 days.