It could take as little as a couple of weeks or as long as several years to reach a car accident settlement in your case. Most take a few months, but there are many reasons it might take longer. The process to reach a car accident settlement is complex and requires both parties to conduct an in-depth investigation into the accident and injuries.
Understanding the Car Accident Settlement Process
When a car insurance company receives a claim filed by an accident victim or their attorney, the insurer will need to conduct at least a preliminary investigation. They will want to review police reports, get documentation of your expenses and losses, and come up with a number they will offer. Some rules dictate how long they have to do this, but they can notify you of a delay and get more time. This can happen again and again.
Of course, we will conduct our investigation before we file your claim so we can approach the insurer with a strong argument for a fair payout. When the insurance company does offer us a settlement amount, we will know an estimate of your expenses and losses. We can counter their offer and possibly negotiate a higher settlement agreement.
Only once we reach an agreement will we sign the paperwork, and they issue us a check.
What Causes Delays in the Car Accident Settlement Process?
Most car accident settlements take several weeks to a few months. When they take longer than this, it is likely something is going on causing the delay. This may include:
There Are Questions About Fault
Some car accidents are more complex than others. Identifying the liable party, proving negligence, and establishing liability may be difficult. If there is any question about what caused the accident or if there may be shared fault, the insurance company will want to look into it before paying out carefully.
If you played a role in causing the crash, you still might be able to recover compensation, but the insurance company does not want to pay out more than required. If you contributed to your own damages and they can prove it, they will not have to offer as much money for your settlement.
You Have Not Reached Maximum Medical Recovery
Maximum medical recovery is a phrase used to mean you are still improving from your accident injuries. Until you reach maximum medical recovery, it is difficult to know precisely what your current and future medical care, lost wages, and other expenses may be. We also do not want to settle until you reach maximum medical recovery because you may need to recover additional compensation to help with:
- Ongoing care needs
- Lasting impairments
- Diminished earning capacity
- Other needs related to your condition following recovery
Your Case Could Involve a Large Payout
If your injuries were significant and you will likely need a large payout to cover your expenses, losses, and pain and suffering, it could take longer to settle your case. The insurance adjuster must protect their company’s bottom line and paying out a large sum in your case will cost them. For this reason, they may investigate your case further and more in-depth than in more minor cases.
For example, they may not only review the police report but contact the witnesses to conduct their own interviews. They will double check facts of the case, and work to lessen their settlement offer in any way they can. This takes time. Even with the limits on how long they have to give you an offer, they can explain the delay and get more time.
Let Berger and Green Help With Your Pittsburgh, PA, Car Accident Case
It takes just a few weeks to settle some Pittsburgh car accident cases. However, some take a couple of years and others never reach an out-of-court settlement and require filing a personal injury lawsuit to pursue damages.
It can be difficult to predict how long a specific case may take, but we can often give our clients a good idea if we expect significant delays in their case. Our founding partner Lawrence B. Green has more than 40 years of experience handling these cases and knows why insurance companies drag their feet or take their time on a car accident claim.
Talk to a Pittsburgh, PA, Car Accident Attorney About Your Case
Let Berger and Green go to work for you today. We know how Pennsylvania’s car accident and insurance laws work, and we will fight for the payout you deserve. We offer free case reviews, so you have nothing to lose by letting us evaluate your case and legal options today.
Reach out to a member of our team by texting or calling 412-661-1400 today to learn more.