Numerous factors influence the amount of time that it will take to settle a car accident claim. The factors include liability, injuries, how quickly the insurance carrier handles the claim, and whether legal proceedings or litigation are required.
An auto accident claim where liability is clear, and the injuries are apparent immediately after the car accident might settle quickly. However, it could take many years to settle a car accident claim where an insurance carrier disputes liability on their insured’s behalf, and the injuries that resulted from the car crash are unseen and require medical expert opinions to prove.
Additionally, some auto insurance carriers prefer to settle claims fast to cap their exposure, whereas other insurance companies require voluminous amounts of documents such as medical records and wage loss information before they value a claim.
If an insurance company decides not to settle an auto accident claim during the insurance claim process, then it’s necessary to file a lawsuit, and litigation can take years to resolve. It’s frequent that claims do settle during the litigation process. However, the legal procedures, discovery processes, and statutory and court-imposed timelines often add signficant time to resolve a case.
An additional consideration is the amount of money that a claimant seeks from an insurance carrier. The higher the amount of money requested typically equates to a longer settlement process. If an injured claimant seeks very little money in return for only minor soft tissue damage, then it’s generally true that a car accident claim doesn’t get escalated to a more experienced insurance adjuster. However, the opposite is true as well. When a plaintiff seeks a high-value settlement, then an adjuster who handles high exposure claims will take over a claim, and typically this type of adjuster has a more sophisticated legal background and requires more incentive to settle a claim.
Finally, the claimant’s auto insurance policy could affect the amount of time it takes to settle a car accident claim. For example, many states have specific tort thresholds that must get breached before a claimant can make a claim. Policyholders can pay an additional premium to make sure that they do not need to have an injury that exceeds that threshold to make a claim. Also, it’s sometimes the case that a liable party does not have adequate policy limits or any insurance to pay a claim. When this happens, a claimant must file a claim against their policy if they have underinsured or uninsured coverage. The time it takes to settle an auto crash claim becomes as varied as the ways a car accident occurs. Of course, an attorney who handles auto claims can help to ensure that claimants receive a fair settlement and ensure that insurance carriers respond quickly.