In the aftermath of a car accident, victims have a few key options as to how they can recover the funds incurred as a result of the damages and injuries they received in the crash. The primary options are to file an insurance and legal claim, which may progress to a lawsuit, depending on your specific circumstances. These processes can take a substantial amount of time, so it is essential that you have a lawyer’s assistance, as they will help ensure it does not drag on for too long. To get an idea of how long it may take to resolve your case and reach a settlement for your car accident, see the details below.
Attaining a Settlement with Negotiations
Most people are intimidated by the thought of taking legal action after these incidents, due to the assumption that it will not only be costly, but far too lengthy and tedious. Although the latter may be true in certain cases, it is possible to settle without experiencing the trouble of a long litigation process.
For example, in many cases, your car accident lawyer may be able to negotiate a reasonable settlement without ever progressing to a lawsuit. This is most likely to occur when you have substantial evidence demonstrating the defendant’s liability, giving them no room to deny their negligent behavior, and thus, their fault in the crash.
In these cases, the defendant’s insurer is likely to offer a fair settlement within just a few days. For some, this may require a few rounds of negotiations, yet the case is resolved quickly nonetheless. However, if a fair settlement is unattainable during this stage, the case may progress to a lawsuit.
How a Car Accident Lawsuit May Unfold
If your case must progress to a lawsuit, know that there is no exact science to estimate your litigation process’s timeline. Each car accident is unique regarding the damages inflicted, the defendant’s and their insurer’s cooperation, and other such compounding factors. Still, most car accident settlements follow a general timeline that you can use to predict your case’s progress.
To initiate the lawsuit, you must file a formal complaint (also referred to as a “petition”). Once the document is served to the defendant, they will be given a specified period in which they can respond to your complaint with a written answer. After both documents are filed, you will enter the “discovery phase,” in which both yours and the defendant’s lawyer will present the evidence they intend to use during the trial. This is a common point at which a settlement can be reached, as liability is typically made abundantly clear here.
Still, it is not guaranteed that you will reach a settlement here. If not, you will progress to the trial phase, where a jury of your peers will help determine liability based on the presented evidence. The court will then award you compensation according to their decision, but the defendant retains the right to agree to the total. If they disagree, they can file an appeal, which can extend the timeline even further.
To alleviate the stress of a lengthy legal process, hire an experienced car accident lawyer to represent you. Although they cannot control the defendant’s participation, they will do everything in their power to streamline litigation and secure your due compensation as swiftly as possible. Contact a car accident lawyer today to get started.