One of the most common questions that people have after a car accident is “How long does it take for the case to settle?” The reason that people ask this question is because a car accident can be very traumatic. They want to be able to put it behind them and move forward. They also want to get their settlement as quickly as possible. This is why retaining the services of an experienced auto accident attorney is so important for this process.
The amount of time that it takes to settle a case can vary. It may only take a few months or it can take several years. If a lawsuit is not necessary the settlement process will usually take anywhere from a few weeks to several months. The client is in control of the process because the client must approve any settlement. An auto accident attorney can help explain when a settlement will most likely come in based on their previous cases. The following factors will determine how long it takes to settle a claim.
Treatment is Finished or Reached the Maximum Medical Improvement
The client has to do one of two things before the settlement process ends. They either have to fully improve or reach the maximum medical improvement. This means that the person can get extra treatment, but they likely will not get any better. So the injuries that they received from the auto accident are most likely permanent.
If a person needs surgery in the future, then the auto accident attorney can ask the doctor for an estimate of the cost. This is one of the many things that can cause the settlement to be delayed. Many times individuals who attempt to handle their own car accident cases have no idea to ask for these types of compensation.
All of the Medical Records and Bills Have Been Obtained
In order for a car accident lawsuit to be settled, an auto accident attorney must obtain all of a person’s medical bills and records. The victim’s medical records are one of the main things that will determine how much compensation a person can receive. In many cases, the medical records are enough. However, a doctor may need be needed to discuss future medical care. They may also be needed to clear up any ambiguity in the medical records.
The Demand Package
A settlement demand will be sent to the insurance company. In most cases, this should not take more than three weeks. Some insurance companies will intentionally drag out the process. Dealing with a difficult insurance company can be extremely frustrating, especially if you are also dealing with an injury. This is why having an auto accident attorney on your side is important, so that they can alleviate these types of aggravating issues.
Often the insurance company will request additional information to supplement the settlement demand package. Sometimes the insurance company will request information on the client’s past medical history. An experienced auto accident attorney will usually know how to deal with these requests. Once the insurance company has the information that they believe they need, they will usually make a settlement offer. Typically the attorney will negotiate on behalf of the client to obtain the insurance company’s highest offer. Also the attorney will contact medical providers and arrange, whenever possible, for reductions in the medical bills. Reductions in medical bills obtained usually result in better results for the client.
The Car Accident Lawsuit Process
The vast majority of car accident lawsuits settle out of court. However, if an issue arises during a settlement process, then a lawsuit may be necessary. There are several steps involved in the process.
1.) The plaintiff will file a petition in court, which will start the process.
2.) The plaintiff will serve the defendant with the petition. This process usually only takes a few weeks. However, it may take several months.
3.) The defendant will answer the petition. In most cases, the defendant has one month to answer to the petition.
4.) Discovery will take place. Each side will have the chance to exchange and request information. It can take a few months to complete this process. However, it may take over a year in some cases.
5.) The trial occurs. It will usually only take one or two days to complete the trial.
6.) In some relatively unusual circumstances, if one or both of the parties is not happy with the results of the trial, then they may be able to request an appeal. There are many levels of appeals. However, one level of appeal can increase the length of the trial by several years.
The Importance of Getting the Right Attorney
One of the keys to getting the proper settlement is to select the right attorney. A good auto accident attorney will work hard to get you a settlement that is fair. They will also try to get the case settled quickly. However, if the settlement is not fair, then they will be able to represent you in court.
If you are in need of a good attorney, then you can call us. We are available at one of the following numbers.
Arlington (817) 522-4451
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McKinney (469) 522-3688
Lewisville (972) 354-4605
Frisco (972) 725-7681
Grapevine (817) 835-8677
Irving (972) 354-4610
Keller (817) 204-0904
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Addison (972) 564-8108
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