Were You In A Car Accident In Monroe, Georgia?
If so, you may be wondering how long it takes to receive a settlement from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. The answer? It depends. Please see below a breakdown on the timeline for car accident settlements.
THE MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR-WHETHER YOU ARE STILL RECEIVING MEDICAL TREATMENT
If you are done with medical treatment, it will be much easier to try and settle your case. This is because your medical bills are final and your medical treatment is finished.
If you are still treating, however, then your future medical bills are uncertain and your medical outlook is uncertain. It is unwise to try and settle your case when you still have future medical bills and future medical treatment that cannot be accounted for with certainty.
While a quick settlement may be appealing, if you have a lot of future medical treatment that will be needed, you will short change yourself if you settle before your treatment is over.
TIMELINE FOR SETTLEMENT WHEN YOU ARE DONE WITH MEDICAL TREATMENT
If you are done with medical treatment, then it is time to gather all of your medical records and bills.
Unfortunately, this can take longer than expected because many medical providers outsource their medical records/medical bills requests to third party companies who can take a long time to process requests. It is imperative to constantly stay on top of these third party companies to make sure you timely receive your requested medical records/bills.
Once you have fully documented your medical records and bills from each medical provider you treated with, you also want to make sure you have documented your lost wages if you have lost wages, and document any other expenses you had to incur because of the accident.
When you have all of your needed documentation, you then will send a settlement demand letter to the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
Generally, you want to start out with a high amount to allow yourself negotiation room with the insurance company.
The insurance company will almost always start with a lowball offer to counter your first offer.
From there, it just depends on the case and the insurance company you are dealing with when it comes to how long it will take to settle the case.
In many cases, insurance companies will only offer a certain amount before a lawsuit is filed, which forces you to either take their lowball offer, or take the case to a lawsuit. A lot of times, the only way to get a reasonable settlement is to file a lawsuit.
CAR ACCIDENT LAWSUIT TIMELINE
When you file a lawsuit, you have to serve the at-fault driver with the lawsuit papers (summons and complaint) to make the lawsuit binding on the at-fault driver.
Once the at-fault driver is served, they have 30 days to respond to your complaint. This response is called an answer in legal terms.
Once the at-fault driver files their answer, each side has 6 months to conduct what is called discovery, which is the time period where each party can take depositions and send each other document requests and written questions.
Once discovery is over, the next step is to be put on a trial calendar, which a lot of times can take a couple of months.
Once placed on a trial calendar, your case is given a number, and your number signifies what number in line you are to appear at trial.
For example, if you are placed on the August 17, 2020 trial calendar and given the number 12, you are 12th in line to appear at trial.
Most cases take around a year to finally get to trial. This does not mean that the case cannot be settled at any time before the trial date, but some cases will take all the way up until the day of trial to finally settle. You must be prepared for that when you are negotiating a reasonable settlement amount for your case.
CONTACT BARTLETT BENTON
If you have been in a car accident in Monroe, Georgia and would like a free case evaluation, please call Bartlett at 770-365-6414.