Only a very small percentage of personal injury cases go to trial. Much more often, cases are settled out of court before going to trial. The time it takes to settle a car accident case depends heavily on the circumstances around the case and the parties involved. Settling a case quickly may not be in your best interest, even if you are anxious to resolve the matter and pay off your bills.
The car accident lawyers at Dulaney, Lauer & Thomas will be able to give you a rough idea of how long your case might take in a free, no-obligation consultation. They will consider several factors in coming up with an estimate.
Specific Details of the Car Crash
The more complex the details around the case, the longer it may take to settle. Cases can take anywhere from three months to several years to resolve, depending on the severity of injuries and complexity of the case. Gathering evidence takes time, even in cases that seem to be simple. Evidence can include:
- Police reports
- Medical records
- Testimony from those involved in the accident and any witnesses
- Photographs and video footage
- Vehicle repair statements
Determining blame is not always cut and dried. Under Virginia law, if you are found to be even partially at fault for an accident, you may have trouble claiming damages. The other party’s insurance company will use the fact that you were found to be partially at fault to make it difficult for you to recover any amount.
However, even if a police report says you are at fault for an accident, hiring an experienced personal injury attorney is important if you want to try to prove your innocence and recover any costs related to the accident.
Factors That Can Drag Out a Car Accident Claim
If you are injured in an accident, you will want all of your personal and medical expenses related to treatment to be included in your personal injury case. If your injuries are severe and treatment is ongoing or takes several months, it’s best to wait to settle until all of your medical expenses have been decided and can be calculated and included in the demand for compensation. If you have expenses that will continue indefinitely, those costs can be projected and calculated for the future. Gathering all of the records related to medical treatment from an accident can be a slow process involving many different providers and facilities.
Insurance companies may also try to manipulate the length of a case to their advantage. When there is the potential for a large settlement, they will often devote a lot of time and resources to undercutting your case to try to reduce the amount they will have to pay. This can involve efforts to discredit you or any witnesses. Similarly, if an insurance company is rushing you to accept a settlement, be cautious about that as well—perhaps they’re offering a lower amount than you deserve just to close the case quickly.
When to Agree to an Insurance Settlement
Negotiations are one of the most complex parts of a personal injury case. You only get one chance to recover damages. Having a personal injury lawyer who can advise you throughout the negotiation process is important. They can tell you whether or not the defendant’s insurance company is making a good-faith offer in trying to settle the case before going to trial and whether or not the amount they’re offering is fair based on the circumstances of your case.
Experienced lawyers are guided by years of work with local and state courts, knowledge of outcomes in similar cases, and the details around your case. Even after a lawsuit has been filed, negotiations can and often do continue throughout the case. Our car accident lawyers will guide you through this process and help you decide when to settle. We will be prepared to fight for you in court if the case does go to trial. We will be your partner as we navigate offers and advise you on whether to accept an offer or trust us to take the case to trial.