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How Long Does It Take to Settle a Car Accident Claim?

When you suffer injuries in a car accident, you may be eligible to collect compensation for accident-related damages through a personal injury lawsuit or insurance claim. However, the process of obtaining this compensation can be complex and lengthy, depending on the details of your case. Because the timeline to settlement varies, it is not possible to give a concrete answer to how long a car accident claim in Orange County takes to complete. An experienced Orange County car accident attorney can help you navigate the legal process.

The Average Car Accident Claim Process

Since your claim’s timeline will vary depending on your specific circumstances, and where the accident happened, for example if it was an accident in Mission Viejo; it could processor quicker than another town. However, your case will follow the same basic structure as other California car accident claims.

First, you will speak with your accident attorney to determine what happened in your accident and what damages you could recover. Next, you and your attorney will file a claim with the insurance company. Your attorney will compile evidence and present it to the company as proof of your need for damages and lack of liability. If the company offers a lower offer, your attorney will negotiate with them for a higher amount.

Most insurance companies prefer to settle outside of the courtroom, so you may receive a settlement at the end of the claim stage. However, insurance companies can also refuse to pay and push your claim into the courtroom. You and your accident lawyer will then prepare for trial, compiling evidence and witnesses to strengthen your claim. At the conclusion of your trial, you should know whether or not you will receive a settlement.

Factors That Could Influence the Length of Your Claim

While you may not be able to estimate the time it will take for you to reach a settlement, you could examine your case for the presence of certain factors that could increase your timeline. Look for these circumstances in your claim to help you estimate its length.

  • Severe injuries usually indicate higher damages and a longer case. Your injury attorney will want you to reach maximum improvement before he or she begins your claim. This is because you will not know how high your medical expenses will be, what your ongoing costs and damages are, or how much in lost wages or disability you can claim. Without this information, you could receive a lower settlement offer than you need to recover.
  • If an insurance company does not settle your claim out of court, your car accident case timeline could increase significantly. Court processes involve additional negotiations, a discovery period, and deeper investigation and case-building, which can take a while to complete. However, filing a lawsuit is necessary to collect the compensation you need to recover.
  • If it is not clear who is liable for your accident or multiple parties are involved, your case could take longer to complete. Your attorney will need time to fully investigate your claim and build a strong case establishing liability. If you cannot identify who was at fault, you will not be able to collect compensation, so it is important for your attorney to take time to investigate.
  • You are seeking a very high settlement. Since the insurance company is the entity that has to pay for your injuries, it is not in their best interest to pay you the highest amount possible. If you are seeking a very high settlement for your injuries, the company will likely fight your claim and take you to court.

The length of time that it takes to settle a car accident claim can vary widely depending on a number of mitigating factors. It can take as little as a few months up to a few years for you to receive compensation – but waiting for this settlement is necessary. Hiring an Orange County personal injury lawyer can expedite this process. Contact Bentley & More LLP as soon as possible following your accident to begin your claim.