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How Long Will My Car Accident Case Take To Settle?

If you sustain an injury as a result of the actions of another driver, you likely need money for your medical bills and property damage expenses. You may also wonder how long it will take your case to settle. However, there is no clear answer to how long these claims take. For cases resolved through settlements with insurance carriers, it could take a few weeks to a few months or even more than a year. However, it may be necessary to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver, which could extend the time frame.

Working Through an Insurance Settlement

The most common route towards securing compensation after a car accident occurs in Washington is a settlement with the insurance carrier involved. Typically, the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier will be responsible for paying compensation to the other parties involved. This includes compensation for medical bills, rental car coverage, property damage expenses, etc.

The insurance settlement process could take a few weeks or a few months, or even up to a year, depending on negotiations between the parties involved. If the claim is relatively straightforward and fault is clear, the insurance carrier may settle relatively quickly. However, if there are any allegations of shared fault or if the total amount of compensation cannot be agreed upon, the case could drag on for more than a year.

Taking the Claim to Trial

Sometimes, it may be necessary for the car accident victim to file a civil personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver. This occurs if the other party’s insurance carrier refuses to offer a fair settlement or if the driver’s insurance policy limitations are not high enough to cover all of the expenses.

The civil lawsuit process will take more time to resolve than relying solely on a settlement with the insurance carrier. When a lawsuit is filed (it must be filed within three years from the date the accident occurs), this puts the case into the civil court system, and the discovery process will begin. Discovery is when the attorneys for the injury victim and the at-fault party will be able to exchange information and ask questions of witnesses during depositions. The process of getting to an actual jury trial can take a year or more, and these cases are often settled before they reach the jury.

Overall, the time frame for a trial after a car accident will vary depending on whether or not a settlement is reached before the jury trial becomes necessary.

Why You Need an Attorney

It is critical for those involved in a car accident to work with a skilled car accident attorney as soon as possible. Your lawyer should work diligently to recover maximum compensation on your behalf. This may not always mean that a settlement should occur. In some cases, recovering full compensation may indeed require going all the way to trial. Your car accident attorney can talk to you about the options moving forward for your particular claim, and they will keep you updated as the case goes on about the best path forward.