Pursuing compensation after an accident can be a grueling business. Not only is there a large amount of documentation that must be collected, but you must also endure evasive tactics from your insurer and the other driver as they try to avoid compensating your damages. Such behavior from your auto insurance provider and the defendant, along with many other factors, can drag out the settlement process for quite a while, so it’s vital that you’re prepared. To get an idea of how your car accident settlement will progress, see the information below.
The Processing of Filing a Car Accident Lawsuit
Without a basic understanding of the litigation process, it will be nearly impossible to estimate the time that your car accident settlement may take. Each claim has its own unique attributes. Some cases may be resolved much faster than others that are delayed by logistical or financial complications that arise due to the insurer, the negligent driver, or other parties or circumstances. Further, the majority of cases do not have to go to trial, as a settlement may be reached before that point. Others are not so lucky and must proceed with the entire court process to be resolved.
When you begin your lawsuit, the first thing you will do is file a complaint (also referred to as a “petition”). This document presents the allegations against the negligent driver and serves as the official initiation of your lawsuit. This is delivered to the negligent driver, the defendant, who can legally file a written response. Once both documents are submitted, your case will progress to the discovery phase.
During this stage of the litigation process, it is critical that you have a lawyer’s guidance. They will assist you in presenting all the necessary evidence to demonstrate the defendant’s liability and negotiate for an appropriate settlement. Still, the negligent driver, their legal team, and insurance provider may not be willing to cooperate and make a reasonable settlement offer. At that point, your lawyer will advise you to continue toward a trial.
Potential Delays Your Settlement May Face
Aside from possible snags in the process from the opposing side, many factors can slow the settlement time quite significantly. One such factor is the extent and type of injuries incurred. Victims that pursue legal action for resolving minor injuries with small medical bills will have a much easier (and faster) time completing the litigation process. Those that have developed chronic conditions or long-term disabilities may experience a much lower resolution, though.
Keep in mind that the opposing party’s insurer is not the only provider that is capable of delaying the settlement process. Even if you have provided them with ample documentation of the incident, they still need to carry out negotiations with the defendant’s insurance provider. If they do not take this work seriously or make a genuine effort to carry out these negotiations on your behalf, then the process will take much longer than it should. (Additionally, if the negligent driver does not have insurance, this can introduce some tremendous hurdles to the litigation process.)
Through all of this, it is essential that you have a car accident lawyer by your side. They will guide you through each step of the litigation process, advising you on the best course of action that will earn you the necessary compensation as soon as possible.