After being involved in a car accident, you may wish to file a claim with the responsible driver’s insurance company to be compensated for your damages. There are numerous factors that determine how long you will have to wait before you see a settlement.
For one, the difference between being injured and only your car sustaining damage can drastically change the timeframe for a settlement. A mechanic can provide you with an estimate a few days after the accident, at which point you can provide that bill to the insurance company, as well as a request for lost wages if you were impeded from going to work. This process may take no more than a few weeks, given that insurance companies usually evaluate claims for about three weeks before making an offer.
The reason many claims take long is due to the presence of injuries. For one, you won’t be able to file a claim seeking compensation for medical expenses and non-economic damages until you have reached maximum medical improvement, which can be weeks or months after the accident. If you required extensive hospitalization and ensuing physical therapy, you may not be able to submit a claim for close to a year after the incident.
Once you submit the claim and settlement demand package, the insurance company will analyze your request and determine the next course of action. This may also take around 60 days if you have an attentive lawyer who is staying on top of your claim.
Many insurance agents dispute the extent of your injuries and will deny your claim; they will say that your damages were caused elsewhere or that the amount you are requesting is too excessive. After some time, the agent will make an offer, at which point you can choose to accept it or reject it. As negotiations proceed, insurance agents may purposely take longer and longer between each offer in an effort to force you to accept out of irritation that the issue has not been resolved.
If you do not receive a fair offer from the insurance agency, your lawyer may suggest taking the claim to court. Depending on the number of witnesses who are called to testify, the trial may take a few more days.
In sum, if you intend to pursue compensation for damaged property, your claim may be settled in under half a year, but if you suffer physical injuries in the crash, the timeframe can take anywhere between six months and three years.
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