How Long Does It Usually Take to Settle a California Car Accident Case?
Are you wondering how long it takes to settle a car accident case in California? Car accidents are the most common insurance claims made in California. Each car accident insurance claim is unique, so there is no cut and dried timeframe for settlement. Settling a car accident case in California could take as little as two months or as long as many years. Why? There are at least six factors that can impact the claim settlement process.
The idea of waiting months or years for a car accident settlement can be unbearable, especially if you suffered a painful injury due to the accident. Eric Ratinoff Law Corp. has over 25 years of experience helping car accident victims like you. We have the knowledge, expertise to know what to expect, and the resources needed to expedite the legal process.
What You Should Do When You Suffer a Personal Injury in a Car Accident
If your car accident did not involve property damage or injuries, it could be settled in a day. However, most car accidents involve one or both. Property damage, such as damage to your automobile, can usually be resolved with an estimate for the repairs from a body shop and discussion with the at-fault party’s insurance company. Where financial recovery gets tricky is when personal injuries are involved.
Understanding what to do if you are in a car accident can save you time and money in the long run. While attending to your health, you can gather documentation and valuable evidence in your injury case, should you need to file a claim.
- If you have been injured in an accident, your health should be your priority. A doctor should examine any injuries.
- Exchange basic information such as name, address, car and driver’s license numbers, and insurance company information with the other driver.
- Gather evidence from the scene, including photographs and videos.
- Gather contact information and testimony from eyewitnesses to the accident.
- Notify your insurance company of the accident.
- Contact a personal injury attorney.
Seek out a California car accident attorney. Having an experienced attorney by your side ensures that you have someone who will explain and guide you through the injury claim process and keep you informed every step of the way.
Common Factors That Can Affect a Car Accident Settlement
Personal injury cases typically follow a process of consulting and sharing your story and evidence with your lawyer, investigating the documentation and physical evidence that your lawyer can use to further your case. Determining a course of action with your lawyer might involve negotiation of an out-of-court settlement or filing a lawsuit. Any car accident that resulted in severe injuries will likely involve a lawsuit.
How complicated and lengthy the settlement process will be will depend on the following factors:
- Degree of Injury. The severity of your injury can affect claim duration significantly. Accidents with significant injuries will sometimes take additional time because the long-term nature of the injuries will need to be evaluated. Lawyers need to wait until they have a complete understanding of the nature of your injuries and the treatment that will be required.
If you have a long-term injury that will affect your life permanently, this may lead to a lawsuit for major damages. Knowing the extent of the injury and what you can expect in medical costs will allow your lawyer to better prepare to engage in settlement negotiations.
- Issues Determining Liability. The person at fault will be held liable for damages in the accident. If there is some question about who was at fault, things can get murky. This question is even more of an issue if more than two parties could be at fault. Determining who is liable should pave the way to a quicker claim resolution.
- The Evidence Quality or Amount. If good evidence of who was at fault is not available, negotiating a settlement presents additional challenges. This means the attorney must employ experts to inspect the scene of the collision, the automobiles involved, and other variables in order to assess and create an argument for liability.
- The Compensation Demand. A compensation demand is the amount of money you seek from the insurance company to settle the accident. If your compensation demand is high and the insurance company believes your injuries do not warrant your demand, the case probably will not settle. Insurance companies manage risks and reduce claim payouts. The insurance company will do what they can to reduce the payout amount and the risk, including rejecting the demand amount, stalling, requesting more evidence, etc.
- Court Timelines. If your lawyer cannot negotiate a settlement out of court, they will have to file a lawsuit and pursue the case in court. Delays are standard in the civil court system. Hearings and meetings could be scheduled weeks or months away. You might have a long wait before the case is finally tried before a jury.
The final factor is your attorney. You will need an experienced attorney who is well versed at handling car accident injury cases. Eric Ratinoff knows what actions to take to expedite your injury claim so that you achieve the best possible settlement in the least amount of time.
Experienced Car Accident Lawyers You Can Trust in Southern California
The attorneys at Eric Ratinoff Law Corp. have the knowledge required to navigate complex car accident laws and explain how they relate to your case. We handle all filing and documentation to adhere to specific time limits, restrictions, and California rules to expedite your claim smoothly through the system.
Our dedicated car accident attorneys are prepared to fight your accident case in court if we cannot settle for the maximum compensation you deserve through negotiation with the insurance company. We have over 25 years of experience as trial lawyers and are listed in Northern California Super Lawyers and the National Trial Lawyer Top 100 Attorneys List. We will handle your legal claim, while you work on your recovery!
Call (916) 970-9100 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation or contact us today.