Bagen Law Firm | February 1, 2023 | Car Accidents
Car accident claims and lawsuits can sometimes take longer than you might expect to settle. The length of time it takes to resolve a car accident claim depends on various factors, including the injuries and medical treatment involved, the need for experts in the case, the possibility of liability disputes, and the insurance company and adjusters with whom you’re dealing.
However, one of the best ways to ensure that your car accident claim or lawsuit moves efficiently is to retain an experienced lawyer to represent you as soon as possible.
A knowledgeable car accident lawyer in your area can help to streamline the process and will file your claim or lawsuit promptly. Your lawyer can also assist you during settlement negotiations with insurance company adjusters and throughout litigation to ensure you recover the monetary compensation you deserve for your car accident-related injuries.
How Long Does it Take to Settle a Car Accident Claim?
The amount of time it takes to resolve a car accident claim through settlement or litigation is very case-specific. In fact, it takes much longer to settle some car accident claims than others.
One factor that determines the settlement length of a car accident case is the need for litigation. Litigation begins when a car accident lawyer files a lawsuit on behalf of their client. This step usually becomes necessary in two situations. The first circumstance is when the insurance company disputes fault or liability for the accident. The second is when the insurance company refuses to take the car accident victim’s case seriously and will not compensate them fairly for their injuries.
In either instance, filing a lawsuit starts the clock over, so to speak, and may add time to the case. Moreover, filing a lawsuit gets the case on the court’s schedule which may be significantly slower than you initially anticipated.
Another factor influencing settlement time is the nature and extent of an accident victim’s injuries. Generally speaking, the more serious the injuries, the longer an accident victim will need to seek medical treatment. A personal injury claim or lawsuit cannot begin until after an accident victim completes the vast majority of their medical treatment. Therefore, the more prolonged treatment takes, the longer it may take to resolve a car accident claim through settlement or litigation.
Retaining experts can also take time in a car accident case. Specific experts can be highly beneficial when it comes to proving the legal elements of a car accident claim.
For example, an accident reconstructionist can take the witness stand after piecing together how the accident likely occurred and who probably caused it. Moreover, a medical expert can testify, to a reasonable degree of medical probability, that the car crash caused the accident victim’s injuries or that the injuries are permanent in nature.
In many instances, it can take a significant amount of time to retain experts in a personal injury case, take their depositions, and secure their availability for trial.
Lastly, the insurance company with whom you’re dealing might cause delays in your car accident claim or lawsuit. This is because some insurance companies and their adjusters are more generous than others when it comes to settlement compensation.
When insurance companies refuse to offer you fair compensation from the onset, lengthy negotiations between the insurance company adjuster and your lawyer might ensue. Moreover, if litigation becomes necessary in the case, the court may not schedule a trial date for six to twelve months down the road, further delaying your case outcome.
One of the most important steps you can take to streamline your case is to retain a car accident attorney to represent you right away. Your lawyer can file a claim or lawsuit in your case and ensure that it proceeds as efficiently as possible through settlement or litigation.
How Do Car Crashes Usually Happen?
Car accidents can happen in various ways but typically result from driver negligence and error. When drivers violate the rules of the road, operate their vehicles while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, engage in distracted driving, and drive aggressively or erratically, they significantly increase their chances of causing serious traffic accidents.
Rules of the road are in place to keep both drivers and passengers safe. When drivers disregard speed limits, right-of-way laws, and turn signal laws in their jurisdiction, they are more likely to cause an accident. The same is true when drivers tailgate other vehicles or drive aggressively. When a driver speeds and violates other road rules, they may be unable to stop their vehicle in time to avoid a crash with another vehicle or pedestrian.
Like road rule violations, intoxicated and drugged driving is another common cause of car accidents. Alcohol and drugs can significantly impair a driver’s concentration and reaction time, preventing them from stopping their vehicle quickly. As a result of drug and alcohol intoxication, drivers may also experience physical symptoms, like nausea and blurred vision, which may prevent them from seeing other vehicles and pedestrians.
Passenger vehicle drivers with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher are legally intoxicated. However, in most jurisdictions, the legal limits for minors who are under 21 years old, as well as commercial vehicle drivers, are much lower.
Whenever a driver sustains a criminal conviction for DUI, they may incur significant fines, jail time, and other penalties. Moreover, if they cause a traffic accident that leads to others’ injuries, they and their insurance companies can be responsible for the resulting civil damages.
In addition to drunk driving, another common cause of car crashes is distracted vehicle operation. A distracted driver does not pay sufficient attention to the road while behind the wheel. Instead of observing the road, the driver might be fiddling with a GPS navigation system, sending a text message on their cellular phone, playing on a tablet, roughhousing with others in the vehicle, or listening to loud music.
These activities may prove distracting for a driver, causing them to divert their attention away from the road. When a driver turns their head for just one or two seconds, they may not see an oncoming vehicle or pedestrian, causing a crash that leads to debilitating injuries.
Finally, some car crashes happen when drivers exhibit road rage. Road rage is a driver’s inappropriate and unwarranted reaction to a roadway situation. Sometimes, drivers are simply in a foul mood, while others might overreact to traffic or other road conditions.
For example, a driver might become enraged when another driver cuts them off or drives too slowly. As a result, the angry driver might attempt to bypass the other driver by speeding around them, weaving in and out of traffic, or failing to use a turn signal. These aggressive driving maneuvers can sometimes lead to unintentional traffic accidents that cause injuries to others.
If you suffered injuries in a recent car crash that resulted from one of these types of driver negligence, you have legal rights and options available. Once you contact a knowledgeable car accident lawyer in your jurisdiction, they can start working on your case immediately by investigating the accident circumstances and determining your claim-filing eligibility. If you’re eligible to file a claim, your lawyer can assist you with every step of the process and work towards an efficient resolution, either through settlement or litigation.
Types of Car Crashes that Result from Another Driver’s Negligence
When people drive in a negligent manner, they may cause several different types of accidents. Some of the most common types include broadside accidents, rear-end crashes, sideswipe accidents, and head-on collisions.
A broadside accident, or T-bone accident, occurs when the front of a vehicle hits the side of an adjacent vehicle, sometimes causing the second vehicle to overturn or spin around rapidly. On the other hand, a rear-end crash happens when the front of one vehicle hits the back of another vehicle.
Sometimes, the force of a rear-end crash causes an accident victim to suffer whiplash due to the abrupt forward and backward motion. Moreover, a rear-end accident victim may also strike a part of their body on something in their vehicle, such as the headrest, steering wheel, door frame, window, or dashboard, due to the collision force.
Sideswipe accidents, on the other hand, happen when the sides of two vehicles hit one another. The force of a sideswipe collision might cause the vehicle on the receiving end to go entirely off the road or into another travel lane, causing the vehicle occupants serious injuries. Finally, a head-on collision happens when two vehicles moving in opposite directions strike one another. When these accidents involve high-speed vehicles, the results can be catastrophic and sometimes deadly.
If you or someone you love suffered injuries in any of these types of car accidents that result from driver negligence, an experienced car accident lawyer can help. Your lawyer can meet with you to discuss the accident circumstances and develop a plan for moving your case forward efficiently.
Injuries That Occur in Car Accidents
When drivers and passengers become involved in car crashes, they often suffer serious injuries that leave them in need of medical treatment. They may also experience pain and other symptoms that can last a lifetime.
The injuries that car crash victims sustain often depend on various factors, including the mechanics of their accident and how their body moves in the car during the collision. Common injuries that car crash victims suffer include soft tissue contusions, broken bones, internal organ damage, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord damage, paralysis injuries, cuts, and bruises.
If you sustain any of these injuries in your accident, you should undergo prompt medical treatment right away. Even if you are not feeling any symptoms at the accident scene, you should go to a hospital emergency room or local urgent care center for treatment. Failing to do so may cause your existing injuries to become much worse over time.
While at the emergency room, your medical doctor can order essential imaging studies, like CT scans, MRIs, and X-rays, so that they can diagnose your medical condition accurately. If you require additional treatment, such as with a surgeon, family doctor, orthopedist, or neurologist, the ER doctor can make the necessary recommendations.
You should follow through on all recommended medical treatments. Otherwise, the insurance company handling your claim might become skeptical about your injuries. Therefore, it is usually best when accident victims seek treatment early and often.
While you focus your attention on getting better and making a full recovery from your injuries, your lawyer can start handling the legal components of your car accident claim.
Specifically, your attorney may begin gathering up your medical documentation to date, as well as lost earning statements from your employer, photographs of property damage, photographs of your injuries, police reports, and witness statements.
After you finish all of your medical treatment, your lawyer can assemble these documents into a settlement demand package, submit them to the adjuster, and begin negotiating a fair settlement on your behalf.
Call a Car Accident Lawyer About Your Legal Matter Today
One of the most important steps you can take to expedite your personal injury case and ensure that it moves efficiently is to retain an experienced car accident lawyer as early on in the process as possible.
Your lawyer can promptly investigate the circumstances of your accident and determine if you are eligible to file a claim. If so, your lawyer can file a claim right away with the responsible driver’s insurance company and assist you throughout the settlement negotiation process.
Moreover, if the insurance company adjuster will not increase their settlement offer within a short period of time, your lawyer can immediately file a lawsuit in the court system and ensure that it moves efficiently through litigation.
Finally, your lawyer can help you make informed decisions in your case that will increase your likelihood of recovering monetary damages via a favorable financial settlement, jury verdict, or binding arbitration award.