If you have had the misfortune of being involved in an automobile accident, you are likely caught in a whirlwind of uncertainty. You may wonder how long it will take to settle your insurance claim. While there is not one answer for all scenarios, it helps to have a general timeline to determine where you are in the claims process.
According to Forbes.com, the average person will endure between three and four car crashes in their lifetime. Immediately following a loss, drivers can expect to hear from the insurance companies and potentially the investigating officer if liability is in question. For losses more complex than a simple rear-end collision or parked vehicle, carriers may want statements from those involved. Now is the time to consider hiring a personal injury attorney who may be able to help you recover maximum damages and advise you during the investigation phase.
After injuries are stabilized and the claims process is underway, it is time to consider vehicle repairs. Depending on the extent of damage, this can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks.
- Consider waiting until the parts have been ordered and received before dropping off a driveable vehicle to save money on alternate transportation.
- Use a reputable shop to ensure reasonable down time and heed any warnings they may give about their schedules. If they are too busy to see you within a week or so, consider using another shop to expedite your repairs.
Unless liability is in question, most people do not need an attorney to represent them solely for property damage claims. Injuries are another issue, and the claims process can be complex and lengthy. Some insurance carriers may attempt to settle your personal injury claim quickly and secure a release to put an end to your ability to recover any additional monies. Although many soft tissue injuries will resolve within 8-12 weeks, there are too many factors that can impact that timeframe to sign away your rights before you make a full recovery. Additionally, more serious injuries like fractures can take significantly longer to heal, and can be complicated by any number of factors. These unknowns are why it is difficult to put a definitive time frame on how long it takes to settle a claim.
The Injury Settlement
Many settlements include compensation for pain and suffering, lost wages, and medical bills. In order to properly evaluate these factors, the claims adjuster will review your medical records and other documents that support your claim. When you have a personal injury attorney to represent your interests they can aid in collecting these documents, but more importantly their knowledge and expertise can be invaluable when it is time to negotiate with the insurance carrier.
- Cooperating with your attorney, like a personal injury or car accident lawyer Harrisonburg VA trusts, during this process and staying organized with your providers can help to minimize the time frame during the evaluation phase.
- After your claim and supporting documents have been reviewed, the adjuster will contact you or your attorney to begin negotiations. Ideally, this phase can be completed in a matter of days or weeks unless either side introduces new information or the negotiations reach an impasse.
- Once a dollar figure has been agreed upon, the settlement phase is usually simple and quick. Many insurers will issue a check to your attorney on the date of the settlement, and funds can then be disbursed expeditiously.
Following an auto accident that results in a serious injury, victims can feel overwhelmed. By retaining an attorney, many people find that they can rest more easily because someone is representing their best interests and is better suited to recover maximum damages on their behalf.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from MartinWren, P.C. for their insight into personal injury and car accident cases.