How Long Does a Car Accident Claim Take to Settle?

If you are considering bringing a lawsuit against a negligent driver who caused your injuries in an accident, you may wonder how long a car accident claim takes to settle. Each case’s length depends on its individual facts, but in general they can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few years to reach a settlement. Typically, those car accidents that involve significant, life altering injuries may take longer to settle than those where victims receive a diagnosis quickly and are able to return to work after only a few days.

Complexity of a Personal Injury Case

If a car accident case is complex, the time required to reach a settlement may be longer. Complexity can involve a few different aspects, including:

Determining Fault

In some injury cases, police investigating the crash can use the facts to show that one driver’s actions led to the accident in their report. If the other driver caused the crash, resulting in your injuries, you may be entitled to seek compensation for pain, suffering, and medical bills. However, in some cases, the police may not be able to fully determine which driver’s actions led to the injury. In a case like this, you and your attorney will need to use the facts from the accident scene to try to show that the other driver was primarily or fully at fault. Maryland is one of four states that use contributory negligence laws. Some of the ways you may be able to show that the other driver was at fault for the accident include:
  • Traffic ticket: where law enforcement issues a ticket to the other driver, indicating he or she was acting negligently.
  • Using drugs or alcohol: according to Maryland Transportation Code § 21-902, a person may not drive or attempt to drive while under the influence or impaired by alcohol, drugs, a controlled dangerous substance, or some combination of these factors. Even a small intake of alcohol or drugs can lead to an error while driving.

Severity of Injuries

If the injuries you suffered in a car crash are significant, your case may take longer to settle than a crash involving minor injuries. Cases involving severe injuries often take longer because the insurance company for the at-fault party will want to gather as many facts about your potential recovery as possible before offering a settlement. You and your attorney may also want to be certain all of your injuries have been diagnosed. If you agree to a settlement, any new injuries that appear in the future may not be reimbursed, so you should be sure you have all of the facts.

Determining Long-Term Diagnosis

If your injuries require that you visit a rehabilitation facility, you may be entitled to a larger settlement. It could take longer for the insurance company to determine the proper amount to offer. If you and your attorney are seeking damages for a reduction in your quality of life, the other driver’s insurance company may take longer to investigate the case and interview your health care providers. If the car crash resulted in injuries that lead to a disability that will affect your ability to work in the future, this may be part of your long-term diagnosis and should be part of any settlement. An insurance company’s investigation can drag out the time for a settlement in your accident case.

Our Team Can Work to Bring a Favorable Settlement to Your Case

It’s impossible to say how long a car accident claim may take to settle, because each case will have unique aspects to it that can affect the time required to settle. An attorney may be able to give you an estimate on how long a settlement could require, ranging anywhere from weeks to years, but it is hard to provide a definitive time frame. At the Law Offices of Adam M. Smallow, our team knows the frustration clients may feel as the process to settle a car accident injury claim drags out over time. We can help you work to move the process along, ensuring the insurance company for the negligent driver is not stalling or purposefully delaying the process. We can also help you meet all deadlines in your case. In the state of Maryland, personal injury claims must be filed within three years in most cases, according to the statute of limitations set by Maryland Courts and Judicial Proceedings § 5-101. Should the other driver’s insurer refuse to come to a fair settlement during negotiations, we can stand by your side in a court case. Contact us at (410) 877-6021 for a free consultation.