While many car accident claims can be settled in just six to eight weeks, others can take several years to resolve. The truth is that it really all comes down to the insurance company’s willingness to negotiate, as well as your willingness to compromise.
First off, no settlement discussions should take place until you have a clear understanding of the value of your case. This means that you need to wait until you are near the end of your medical treatment and your condition is stable so that you can accurately tally your medical bills, lost wages, and other related damages. Once you’ve reached this point, you can present your official demand for compensation to the insurance company.
Without an attorney helping with your claim, you’re unfortunately at the mercy of the insurance company when it comes to negotiating a settlement. When they know you don’t have an attorney willing to back up your demand with a lawsuit, insurance companies will often simply give you a “take it or leave it” settlement offer and refuse to negotiate.
At this point, the only leverage you really have is through litigation—but filing a lawsuit does not mean your case will ever make it to court. In fact, most car accident lawsuits are still settled way before trial.
Unfortunately, the truth is that there’s no standard for how long it takes to settle a car accident case. You can always accept a $500 settlement tomorrow, but an attorney may be able to recover $50,000 on the same claim in a few months’ time.