Car accident victims want to know how long it’s going to take to resolve their car accident case. Rightfully so – when you’re hurt in a car accident, you have medical bills, lost income, and other losses. Victims need to know the timeline.
Our Florida car accident lawyers at Maderal Byrne & Furst PLLC explain how long it takes on average to settle a car accident case.
How Long Could It Take to Settle a Car Accident?
It may take anywhere from several weeks to a few years to settle a car accident case in Florida. Most cases take a few months because of the time to document expenses and process the claim.
How long it takes to settle a car accident case in Florida depends in large part on the complexity of the case. It’s not necessarily better to settle a case as quickly as possible. A case with severe injuries is going to need additional time to truly understand the scope of injuries and the appropriate amount of compensation. When fault is contested, a victim may need to develop evidence to prove their right to compensation.
Several factors can impact how long it takes to settle a car accident case, so your case may be longer or shorter than average. However, there are things you can do to resolve your case efficiently.
Steps of a Car Accident Settlement in Florida
Responding to the accident
Immediately following an accident, you must stop at the scene. Report the accident to law enforcement. Seek medical attention if there is any possibility that you are injured. These steps set the stage to file a claim and work towards a settlement.
Reporting the accident to the insurance company
Tell the insurance company that an accident occurred. Don’t give a detailed statement right away. Just tell them the accident occurred and that you are injured.
Determining fault and how to claim damages
Florida no-fault laws determine how to go about claiming compensation. For minor injuries, your claim goes through your own personal injury protection insurance (PIP). When injuries are serious, a third-party claim may be appropriate.
There are several types of losses that you may claim. Once you know what you should receive in damages, you can effectively negotiate your compensation.
Negotiating your settlement
Remember that the insurance company wants to pay as little as possible. You must skillfully negotiate your compensation.
Drafting your settlement
The language of your settlement document matters. Ensuring your settlement is clear, and the terms are favorable is an important final step in settling a Florida car accident case.
If you don’t resolve your case by settlement, you may take your case to trial for a determination of your right to compensation and the appropriate amount.
What Slows Down a Car Accident Settlement?
Here are some things that may make a car accident settlement take longer. Some things are out of the victim’s control. However, there are some things a victim can do to make their case more efficient.
- Severe injuries: When injuries are severe, the legal process in Florida is different. Future damages may be included, but it can take time to identify and document the appropriate amount.
- Disputes as to fault: You may need to build evidence to support your right to compensation if fault is under scrutiny.
- Pre-existing injuries: Insurance companies may try to use pre-existing injuries to minimize compensation. Responding means gathering medical evidence and maybe even working with an expert witness.
- Lack of documentation: The insurance company needs documentation of losses to determine your payment. Missing records can mean a delay in the case.
- Poor communication: There is some communication needed between insurance representatives and the claimant. Either party failing to respond or communicating poorly can delay the case.
What Speeds Up a Car Accident Settlement?
Here are some things that speed up a car accident settlement.
- Medical treatment and injury documentation: The insurance company needs to know exactly what they are compensating you for.
- Understanding Florida law: Knowing what Florida law says about the right to damages can help you determine the value of the case and what kind of settlement you should seek.
- Clearly presenting your claim: Negotiating well means clearly communicating what you want to receive in compensation. A well-written demand letter can make your case.
- Employment records: Records of employment can verify lost income.
- Staying off social media: Keeping your case off social media can prevent you from making incriminating statements that can hurt your case, even accidentally.
- Strong evidence of fault and liability: The stronger the case is for fault and liability, the easier it is to move to other aspects of settlement negotiation.
- Skilled negotiations: Speeding up a car accident settlement is a matter of negotiating well. An experienced lawyer knows how to interact with the insurance company to get results.
FAQs About Car Accident Settlement Timelines
Should I take the first settlement offer for a car accident?
If your injuries are more than minor, it’s usually not best to take the first settlement offer for a car accident. An experienced lawyer can help you determine what to do if you receive a settlement offer.
How long does the insurance company have to settle a car accident claim in Florida?
In Florida, the insurance company has 90 days to decide whether or not to pay the claim. The 90-day period begins once the claimant submits all the paperwork.
Lawyers for Settling a Car Accident Case
Are you trying to settle a car accident case in Florida? Do you have questions about doing so? Come talk to our lawyers. At Maderal Byrne & Furst, we help people resolve car accident cases efficiently. Contact our experienced litigators today to talk about your case.