When you have been in a car accident, your life changes. Suddenly, you have serious injuries requiring medical care, and you are facing weeks off from work. Because of these circumstances, you need money as fast as possible to maintain your standard of living and pay medical bills and other expenses. However, while insurance companies may pretend to be concerned about your welfare, the fact is their goal is to pay little or nothing to accident victims. If you’re wondering how long it will take to get a car accident settlement, here are some points to keep in mind.
Maximum Medical Improvement
Before getting a settlement check, you and your car accident attorney must be able to prove you have fully recovered from your injuries and require no additional treatment, or that you have reached maximum medical improvement. This means that even if you require additional medical treatment, doctors have stated your condition is as good as it is likely to get.
Medical Records and Bills
Along with doctor’s statements regarding your condition, your car accident attorney will also need to obtain copies of your medical records, bills for treatment, and proof of wages lost due to the accident. Once this information is obtained, it can be submitted to the insurance company in what’s called a demand package, which contains the terms you expect for your settlement.
How Long Should I Wait on a Settlement?
In most cases, if you have not heard from the insurance company within one month of sending the demand package, have your attorney contact them on your behalf to check on the status. Many times, the company will be slowing down the process, hoping it can find a reason to pay you nothing.
A Settlement at Any Time
Remember that once you’ve filed your claim, a car accident settlement can happen at any time. In general, there are three main times a settlement may be reached:
–Immediately after the lawsuit is filed
–Discovery phase of litigation
–Courthouse steps on way to the trial
Surprisingly to many car accident victims, insurance companies will often wait until they are literally ready to step into the courtroom to settle. This is due to them fearing if the case goes to trial, the court may award you far more than they are planning to pay, so they will often reach a compromise with your attorney on a settlement amount.