Most car accident cases settle within just a few weeks. But serious accidents, multi-car crashes, accidents involving defective products and certain other types of accidents can take longer to settle. These types of accidents require more investigation to determine who is at fault and what the injuries will cost.
The length of time it takes to settle your case also depends on the tactics used by the insurance adjuster, and whether you hire a lawyer to build a case for you and negotiate the best deal possible. In the end, it’s more important to get a settlement that will pay all of your costs than it is to get money quickly.
What does the insurance company do before it will settle my case?
First, an insurance company must be convinced that its insured driver is more than 50 percent responsible for causing the accident. It may look at accident reports, witness statements, vehicle damage and other evidence to decide who was at fault.
Next, the insurance company must place a dollar value on your injuries, plus other, hard to estimate costs like pain and suffering. The insurance company may make estimates and use calculation formulas to arrive at these amounts. At this point, you may get an offer to settle your case.
If I get an offer from the insurer, should I take it?
You may be able settle your car accident claim quickly by snapping up the first offer you get. This is risky, though, because you probably don’t know how much medical care you will need, what it will cost, or how long you will be out of work. The offer you take may turn out to be far less than you need. But by the time you realize this, you will have given up your right to ask for anything more.
A better strategy is to be patient and talk to experienced car accident attorneys around Atlanta, Georgia. Car accident lawyers understand that insurance companies will try to pay you as little as possible so they can earn a bigger profit for themselves. A car accident attorney knows what it takes to get the insurance company to pay you what your case is worth. Just talking to a lawyer can make an enormous difference in the amount of money you receive.
Remember: insurance companies know that the bills from the accident are starting to pile up. They use the pressure of getting a quick payment to convince you to take less.
What kinds of things could delay my settlement?
Some types of accidents are complicated, and that plays a major role in delaying settlement. Cases where settlements typically take longer include:
- Accidents where it’s hard to tell what happened or who is at fault. Expert opinions may be needed to determine fault.
- Accidents involving defective products. These also typically require expert opinions.
- Accidents with serious injuries. It may take a while to determine the treatment you’ll need, and experts may need to be called in to estimate the full financial impact.
In other cases, the accident claim may seem very straightforward and still take time. Some insurers may use this as a tactic so that you feel eager to accept any amount they offer. A lawyer can help force them to process your claim and give you an offer you deserve.
What happens if the insurer doesn’t want to settle?
Sometimes, insurers seem to be dragging their feet and doing nothing at all, while your bills continue to pile up. This may be because of legitimate issues, or it may be a stalling tactic to pressure you into taking anything you can get.
Other times, things stall in negotiations, and insurers refuse to settle or to increase their original offer. When this happens, your only alternative may a lawsuit. While it’s rare, your lawyer will be able to take your case all the way to a courtroom trial if needed. In most cases, however, insurers don’t want this—they usually settle it at the bargaining table.
Talk to an Atlanta Car Accident Lawyer For Free
For decades, our lawyers have devoted themselves to advocating for people who have been injured in car accidents. We never charge a fee unless we get you a financial recovery. We’d like to give you a FREE consultation to help you decide on the best course of action. Call us at (404) 341-6555 or fill out the form to the right to get your free consultation today.