The Keating Firm has been purchased by Kisling, Nestico & Redick, a personal injury law firm serving all of Ohio. Visit Site >
top of page
  • Writer's pictureBrad Keating

How Long Does It Take to Get a Settlement from a Car Accident?

Updated: Jan 17

There is no such thing as an average time to settle a car accident claim because numerous factors influence how long it takes to calculate and settle a claim. Obviously, each car accident is unique, and the length of time it takes to conclude a car accident lawsuit varies depending on the specifics and facts of the case.

A car accident case can take anything from a few weeks to several months (or years) to settle. There is a lot to look at on both sides, and if a victim has serious injuries and property damage, this could indicate why the settlement process is taking so long.

Overview of the Car Accident Settlement Process

Overview of the Car Accident Settlement Process

Having a vehicle accident attorney on the victim's side can help them determine the value of their case early on. When a victim meets with a car accident lawyer about their case, the lawyers are familiar with the details and circumstances of the client's case and they can get the proof they need. Following that, an attorney can prepare to speak with an insurance company and protect the victim's rights.

The insurance adjuster may offer a victim a settlement once they have filed their claim and the insurance company has documentation of their medical bills and losses. Their attorney can work with the insurers to get the settlement money that the victim deserves.

A person who has recently suffered an injury should not have to deal with unpleasant phone calls with insurance adjusters, who are infamous for defrauding individuals into believing that they are at fault or share fault in a car accident, and do not deserve much if any, compensation. The victim's lawyer can fight for the monetary reward to which they are entitled. Car accident lawyers have fought insurance companies before and can use that experience to help them.

Car accident lawyers can pursue a reasonable settlement using the data they collect and possibly the assistance of medical professionals and accident reconstructionists. They aren't able to tell the victim how long it takes to get a car accident compensation on average. Unexpected delays might cause a car accident settlement process to drag on. They have no means of knowing what turns a victim's case may take, but they can do everything they can to help them get the best possible result.

What Has to Happen Before a Car Accident Settlement Offer?

Three things must happen before receiving an initial offer:

  1. The patient must have reached maximum medical improvement or must have completed treatment. This could take anywhere from a day to a year.

  2. All medical records and bills, as well as any doctor's reports for future loss of earnings and medical expenditures, must be obtained. The timeline for this varies depending on the volume of medical data and reports that must be collected, and it might take anything from a few days to many months.

  3. Obtaining an answer to the demand package. This can take anywhere from 15 to 90 days.

Let's take a closer look at the three important criteria that determine how long it takes for a car accident case to reach the settlement stage, so a victim knows what to expect.

The Treatment Is Complete or the Patient Has Reached Maximum Medical Improvement

To begin, the client must either (1) heal completely and require no further therapy, or (2) achieve maximal medical improvement. While the client may require extra treatment, this is considered the best recovery the client is expected to achieve.

Alternatively, if future surgery or other medical procedures are not yet scheduled, an accident lawyer can request a cost estimate from a doctor.

The most common reason for a major injury claim's delay is because of this. What is the solution? The objective is to get the doctors — we know a lot of them at this time — to draft a report which might allow the client to claim their reasonably anticipated future expenses.

All of the Clients' Medical Bills and Records Have Been Obtained

What causes personal injury claims to be resolved as quickly as possible? Lawyers and paralegals working hard.

A car accident lawyer needs to gather all of the client's medical records and expenses if the matter is going to be settled quickly without a lawsuit for top dollar. The lawyer should gather medical bills and records at our law practice, as it is at many other personal injury firms.

Medical records are extremely important. An accident claim settlement is almost entirely based on the victim's medical data before a lawsuit is filed. At this point in the game, the most significant variable used by most insurance companies to assess value is how these records represent the injuries.

Are the records sufficient? It depends. The doctor's critical opinions are usually found in the four corners of medical records. In other cases, we require doctors to provide opinions on future medical treatment or to resolve confusion in medical records.

The Demand Package: Waiting for a Response

It takes time for the insurance company to assess the claim when a settlement demand is sent together with all relevant medical bills and records, as well as any other information needed to resolve the claim. The majority of injury claims should be resolved in less than three weeks. However, it usually does. To keep a car accident case in front of the queue, a car accident lawyer should follow up with the insurance company.

What happens if a case is settled? The victim has yet to receive a settlement check from their insurance company. Their accident lawyer must move the case forward as quickly as possible in order to obtain their money as soon as feasible. After a personal injury settlement has been reached, some insurance companies take their time.

The best lawyers keep a close eye on the insurance company to ensure that the victim receives their settlement cheque as quickly as possible. Our organization understands that our clients want their money as soon as possible. As a result, we push them to issue the insurance check instantly.

Some victims frequently inquire about the time limit for the insurance company to respond after receiving a bodily injury demand letter in a car accident case. In most places, the insurance provider is not required to respond at all. If the victim is not their insured, an insurance company owes them very few services. Their main purpose is to pay the victim the least amount of money possible. They are under no responsibility to treat him/her fairly.

There's one more thing a victim should know before we move on from this topic. In most serious injury cases, victims may need to file a lawsuit in order to maximize the value of their claim.

A victim does not have to file a lawsuit. Lawyers don't always grasp how important it is for a client to recover their money quickly.

However, if they settle too soon, they may be losing money. When our attorneys file a lawsuit, it frequently leads to a subsequent offer that is far higher than the previous settlement offer. Insurance companies are frightened by the force of a lawsuit. This leverage often convinces them to pay significantly more in a settlement than they could have anticipated before the lawsuit was filed.

What Factors Affect How Long It Takes to Settle a Car Accident Case?

What the Case Is Worth

The higher the value of a case, the longer it can take to resolve. Because the insurance company wants to keep the compensation as low as possible, this is the case. They are more ready to spend time and money on legal defense for a high-value claim than, say, a claim for less than $20,000.

The Severity of Injuries

Serious auto accident injuries that influence a plaintiff's future or create impairment take longer to settle than injuries from which they can fully recover. Before resolving a plaintiff's lawsuit, they should achieve maximal medical improvement to ensure that the settlement is fair and adequately compensates him/her. This could take some time depending on their injuries.


When culpability is established, the victim's car accident case can most likely settle sooner. Their lawsuit may take longer to settle if responsibility is unclear, many parties are involved, or they share some liability.

The Insurance Company

Each insurance business is unique. Some businesses may settle quickly, while others may take a long time to accept responsibility. This timeframe can be influenced by the size of the insurance firm.

Case Load in the Jurisdiction

If a victim's case goes to trial, the volume of cases can affect how quickly it is heard. A personal injury lawyer can explain the implications of these issues for a plaintiff's case.

Most Personal Injury Cases Settle Before Going to Court

The majority of car accident cases are negotiated privately outside of court, often without the need for a lawsuit to be filed. Regrettably, this is not always the case. Insurance companies can sometimes refuse to accept a claim or make demeaning offers. They're hoping that a jury may find their client not guilty or that they can transfer the responsibility to a victim.

A case may go to trial if it cannot be settled. When this happens, getting the money a victim deserves takes substantially longer, though a settlement can still happen before the case is finished.

While going to trial takes longer and costs more than negotiating a settlement outside of court, the result can be more rewarding if a lawyer is successful. A jury might give the victim far more money in damages than the insurance company agreed to pay in a settlement. In rare situations, a lawsuit may also result in punitive damages.

Complications that Can Affect When Your Case Settles

The time it takes for a case to settle could be longer if certain factors exist that could complicate matters. Some of these factors can include:

  • A more serious personal injury with an unknown treatment and/or recovery plan

  • There is little to no evidence of liability.

  • A loved one's death was caused by negligence.

  • A truck driver and the firm for which he works are two examples of multiple irresponsible parties.

Furthermore, if any of these factors are applicable, the victim should carefully consider obtaining the services of an attorney. It may not only make their case go more smoothly, but it can also ensure that they have not overlooked any damages to which they are otherwise entitled.

How Do You Determine and Prove Liability?

If a driver's carelessness caused a victim's collision and injuries, they are most likely responsible for their losses. However, proving liability can be challenging, especially when there is a dispute over who caused the accident.

A victim can have a hard time convincing the insurance company to make a reasonable offer if they can't prove the other driver was at fault. This can cause the entire claims procedure to be slowed down. Fortunately, a car accident lawyer can assist him/her in determining the best course of action.

Determining Compensation for Your Injuries from the Car Accident

The details of the client's injuries can also influence how long it takes to settle a car accident lawsuit.

It may take weeks or even months to completely assess a victim's medical damages if they have serious injuries for which they are still undergoing treatment. Their doctor may need some time to figure out how long their recovery can take or how thorough their therapy can be. This information is needed by a victim's lawyer to account for all of the damages in his/her claim.

Injury claims that aren't as specific can also drag down the procedure. Soft-tissue injuries, such as whiplash, or generalized discomfort, may raise a red flag with the insurance company, prompting them to request additional information. These types of injuries are frequently used in false claims.

Why Is My Car Accident Settlement Taking So Long?

When victims inquire about why their car accident settlement is taking so long, they are frequently implying that their car accident lawyer's negligence is to blame. What is the solution? Maybe the settlement procedure has constraints that no amount of hustling can overcome. Thus, an accident lawyer may not be able to help their client because they're awaiting medical data or a response from the insurance company. However, there is little doubt that the delay is frequently caused by a plaintiff's lawyer who is not keeping up with the case.

What's the best way to figure out why a plaintiff's case is taking so long? Communication. They should call their lawyer and inquire about the reason for the delay.

Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI)

MMI refers to the moment at which a victim's condition has improved as far as it can be expected to go, even if they continue to receive therapy.

Before settling a case, it's better to wait until a victim has reached MMI. Otherwise, they and their lawyer are unable to determine the true cost of such damages. If a victim tries to settle before achieving MMI, they cannot be paid for any future losses incurred as a result of their automobile accident injuries.

When to Negotiate and When to File a Lawsuit

When to Negotiate and When to File a Lawsuit

A victim must determine how to continue after the insurance company has either accepted their claim and made them an offer or refused their claim. He/she has two options:

  • Accept a claim settlement offer.

  • A claim denial can be appealed.

  • Reject the offer and try to get a better deal.

  • Alternatively, they can turn down the offer and pursue a civil case for damages.

Before taking this step, they need to speak with a car accident lawyer. These lawyers can assist in weighing the benefits and drawbacks of each option and determining which is best for the victim.

Accepting a claim offer can, obviously, settle their case the fastest. It's not worth it, though, if the offer is far less than what they need to restore their losses. The claim may take longer if the victim files an appeal or starts negotiating for a larger car accident settlement. This process can also take significantly longer if they file a civil claim in court.

Choosing the Right Attorney

An experienced attorney can assist a victim in obtaining the compensation that they deserve for their injuries. Our attorneys feel they are the top accident lawyers in the states of Columbus, Charlotte, and Birmingham. The Keating Firm LTD's lawyers try to secure a high settlement while also ensuring that all of the details are in place to offer their clients the best possible payout. We also offer a free case evaluation.

Our attorneys have the knowledge and experience to shorten the settlement process by putting a client's case on the correct track from the start. We fight for fair compensation for victims of vehicle accidents, motorbike accidents, and truck accidents by standing up to insurance companies. Contact us now for a free consultation.


bottom of page