Pursuing justice can feel fruitless as legal proceedings drag on and the bills pile up. Most people underestimate the timelines that come with pursuing any accident settlement.
If you are wondering how long does an accident settlement take to resolve itself, the answer is that it varies. For example, on average, most auto accident cases are settled in nine to eighteen months, but sometimes it could take years.
In this article, we’ll answer questions like, “Why is my lawsuit taking so long?” and “What factors influence settlement times?” to help you plan for your upcoming accident lawsuit.
What is an Accident Settlement?
An accident settlement is an agreement between parties on a dollar figure to end legal proceedings. Settlements are ideal because they save both parties time, money, and stress. But contrary to popular belief, a settlement is not an award from a court. Instead, you agree to settle the matter without receiving a judgment.
Your lawyer will do everything possible to agree on a settlement as soon as possible to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve without the stress of dragging your case through the courts.
So, what can you expect to receive? Your settlement will depend on the extent of your injuries and the skill of your lawyer. While the average auto accident settlement was $23,000, most received less than $10,000.
What Do I Need to File an Accident Settlement?
Accident settlements are damages for any number of injuries. Experienced lawyers know that damages extend beyond your medical bills, so they’ll explore every avenue to maximize your settlement.
Like any legal case, you must provide documentary evidence of your injuries and losses. Some examples include:
- Property Damage – Forms of property damage can include harm to your vehicle and physical property in the car at the time, such as computers, clothes, and personal items. Ensure you provide bills for repairs or the cost of replacement for everything.
- Medical Expenses – Your settlement can include reimbursement for all medical bills. Provide medical bills for ambulance services, hospital stays, doctor’s bills, medical procedures, rehabilitation, and therapy.
- Lost Earnings – Provide proof that you sustained a loss of income because of your accident. That includes missed work days or future wages lost because of long-term disabilities. Absence notes or documented evidence of being laid off will be critical to proving this.
- Pain and Suffering – Loss of quality of life, mental anguish, and emotional distress all fall under this category. This category can be more challenging to prove, but a diagnosis from a medical professional or evidence that you have started attending regular therapy sessions can support your claim.
Provide as much evidence to your lawyer as possible. Even if your injuries are apparent, you can only claim damages with documentation.
For example, you cannot tell the other party’s insurer that your neck hurts. You must provide a copy of your formal diagnosis and all associated medical expenses.
How Long Does an Accident Settlement Take?
Your accident settlement will take as long as it takes. As mentioned, most companies will settle within nine to eighteen months.
However, in cases where the apportioning of fault is simple and everyone agrees on the damages, your issue may resolve in a few weeks. Likewise, if there are disputes regarding these two aspects, your case could take years.
Long-running cases usually involve settlements involving millions of dollars due to long-term and permanent disability. These cases are more likely to go the distance because it’s worth fighting from the perspective of the other driver’s insurer.
Speak to your lawyer for more information on how long they estimate your case could take.
Is your accident settlement taking a long time and you need help with pre-settlement funding today? Oasis is here to help!
Why is My Car Accident Settlement Taking So Long?
If your car accident settlement is taking too long, it can be frustrating. Many assume their lawyer is moving too slowly, but this is far from the case.
Your lawyer is as eager to secure your settlement as you are so they can get paid for their services. If you are wondering, “Why is my car accident lawsuit taking so long?” the best answer is to examine the steps an attorney will go through to determine the dollar value of your settlement.
The next step is to familiarize yourself with the factors that could delay your lawsuit.
Your insurer will likely attempt to dispute the facts of the case. It’s why your attorney will spend as much time gathering evidence as possible, especially in more contentious lawsuits.
Gathering evidence may include the following:
- Speaking to industry experts
- Obtaining police evidence
- Gathering medical documentation
- Recording witness statements
These actions can take longer than you think. For example, if your attorney needs to speak to your doctor, they may need to wait for an appointment.
Every case can encounter roadblocks.
Money lost due to being out of work is one of the most significant areas of personal injury. While it may sound simple, the issue is rarely as clear-cut as it seems.The primary factors determining lost income include:
- Return to Work Date – How long an attorney’s client will be out of work is more complicated than it looks. Generally, the longer your injuries keep you out of work, the more complex the calculation. The matter becomes even more unclear if you cannot return to your old job and require retraining for another one due to your injuries.
- Lost Benefits – Your salary alone doesn’t represent the whole picture. Employers may offer short and long-term disability benefits, retirement contribution matching, sick days, vacation days, and personal days. These would also factor into your claim if you missed any benefits.
- Additional Perks – Some employees are tip-based or eligible for performance bonuses. These are also included in the final calculation.
Assessing a dollar claim for lost income will require your attorney to request specific documents to prove how much you could have earned if not for your injuries. And the opposition may choose to dispute specific points.
Your medical expenses will be included as part of your settlement, but your attorney needs to do more than submit a series of medical bills.
Reaching a dollar value for medical expenses will involve:
- Out-of-Pocket Expenses – Longer recovery times could mean incurring out-of-pocket costs, switching to a COBRA plan, paying higher premiums, or facing a higher deductible threshold.
- Future Medical Care – Your settlement can also include potential future medical care, including surgical procedures and rehabilitation. Lawyers must receive tailored advice from a physician regarding required future care and how much it would cost.
Assigning a dollar value to medical care isn’t the most straightforward task because it requires estimating how costs could rise in the future. That will typically involve liaising with medical experts.
Maximizing your settlement means exploring every potential form of damage. Non-monetary compensation arises from things that don’t necessarily have a connecting medical invoice.
For example, your settlement could factor in the loss of enjoyment, scarring, disfigurement, and pain and suffering. Since these damages are subjective, coming to a dollar value can lead to significant conflict between legal teams, which will delay your case.
Insurance Company Delays
Insurance companies have little reason to bring a speedy conclusion to a lawsuit. Generally, the larger the demand, the more delays you can expect from the other side.Insurers know that ordinary Americans unable to work have limited financial funds to pursue their cases for years. They’re hoping you give in and accept a lesser settlement.
However, how much they can drag their feet depends on where you live. For example, Texas’s Consumer’s Bill of Rights mandates how quickly an insurance company responds to your claim. But not every state has these protections in place.
So, what happens when your injury lawyer submits a demand for compensation? Here’s a rundown of some strategies insurers use to prolong lawsuits:
- Demand for Proof of Damages – The insurer requests your attorney to submit all of the documents used to determine the dollar value of the settlement demand.
- Disputing the Claim – All lawyers expect insurers to claim the settlement value is bloated. It’s a common tactic; a good lawyer will already have their rebuttal prepared before the dispute arrives.
- Questioning Liability – Insurance companies may also take the opportunity to lessen their liability. Some common arguments include that you were partially responsible for the accident, had a pre-existing condition, or a third-party bears responsibility.
Some insurers believe dragging out a case can force you to accept a lower settlement. In many cases, this strategy works. Obtaining pre-settlement funding is a simple yet effective way to lessen the effect of unethical tactics. By getting approved for pre-settlement funding, you can fight your case until its conclusion instead of accepting less than what you deserve.
How Long Does an Accident Settlement Take to Hit My Bank Account?
Settling means you can expect to receive your money between one and six weeks later. Whether you reach a fair settlement or a judge awards you monetary damages, the timeline doesn’t change.
First, you must sign a release form that officially settles the claim. The document states that you give up any right to sue the driver, the insurer, or any other party who caused your injuries. You must submit these releases to be reimbursed, and the insurance company will confirm that they have received them.
So, why does it take so long to receive your settlement?
Your insurance company will send a check to your attorney. Before sending the remainder to you, they will remove any relevant expenses, such as fees. If you obtained pre-settlement funding, it would be at this stage that the pre-settlement provider will receive their cut of the settlement.
Some examples of other debts that may need to be paid before your settlement is disbursed to you include the following:
- Late child support payments
- Unpaid medical bills
- Insurance premiums
- Contingency fees
- Unpaid fees for previous attorneys
Anything left over will be sent to you as a check, which you can use however you see fit. Note that if your settlement was lower than expected, there might be little to nothing left.
How Oasis Financial Can Help
Fighting your case to achieve the justice you deserve is no easy feat. Even with the best lawyer in the world, rent, mortgage payments, utilities, and grocery bills wait for nobody.
If you’re struggling with household expenses and cannot work, you may wonder what your options are.
At Oasis Financial, we provide pre-settlement funding to anyone currently pursuing a lawsuit for an accident they sustained. Getting approved for pre-settlement funding gives you the breathing space to pay your bills, concentrate on your recovery, and maximize your compensation. What’s more, if you lose, you pay nothing.
Why Do Lawsuits Take So Long to Begin?
Your lawyer will start by attempting to settle your case without lodging a formal legal case. If this fails, they must file a legal claim in court. The time it takes to do this depends on how busy the court is.
Some counties are more active than others, meaning filing the paperwork could take longer, depending on where you live. Your attorney should advise you on possible waiting times based on their experience.
There’s also the issue of the discovery phase. Your attorney needs paperwork to evaluate your claim and to prove to the insurer that the dollar value assigned is fair. If there are any delays in securing this paperwork, your lawsuit will take longer.
Why is My Lawyer Taking So Long to Settle My Case?
Your lawyer isn’t trying to drag your case out. They’re trying to secure you the maximum amount of compensation possible.
Delays happen not because of your attorney but because of the insurer and their legal team. If they choose to drag their feet or dispute various aspects of your claim, your lawyer cannot prevent them from doing this.
Why is My Attorney So Slow to Respond with Information About My Case?
Don’t take it personally!
Many attorneys may be managing hundreds of cases just like yours simultaneously. Everyone wants day-to-day updates on their lawsuits, but in many cases, you have yet to receive a response because there is nothing to respond with.
The bulk of your lawsuit is waiting for the other side to act. And your attorney can do nothing to prevent these delaying tactics as long as they remain within the bounds of the law.
How Long Does It Take for a Large Settlement Check to Clear?
The size of the check doesn’t influence clearing times for settlement checks. Signing the release form, sending the check to your attorney, and then sending the remainder of the settlement to you will take the same amount of time, regardless.
Expect to wait one to six weeks for the money to become available in your bank account. In the meantime, consider pre-settlement funding if you struggle to pay the bills.
How Long Can a Lawsuit Drag Out?
Every case is different. Some cases are so clear-cut that the insurer will immediately agree to the settlement amount because they see no purpose in dragging the case through the court system.
However, cases are rarely this simple. Most lawsuits will take anywhere from nine to eighteen months.
In significant cases involving long-term injury, disability, and death, millions of dollars could be at stake. These cases are the most likely to go before a judge, and you may need to make a court appearance, which your attorney will guide you through.
The most complicated cases could take years to resolve, so pre-settlement funding is a powerful tool for pursuing justice. At Oasis Financial, we are here to help. Contact us today to learn more about pre-settlement funding and our services.
Oasis provides pre-settlement funding, also known as consumer litigation funding, to its customers through different products depending on their state of residence or cause of action. Many consumers will be provided pre-settlement funding in the form of a purchase agreement, which assigns a portion of the pending proceeds from their legal claim. Other consumers, such as those in CO, IL, MO, SC, WI and some OK residents, will be offered a funding in the form of a pre-settlement loan, sometimes referred to as a lawsuit loan. These transactions have important differences, therefore, consumers should carefully review and be aware of the type of transaction that is offered to them by any funding company.