How Long Does It Take To Get A Settlement From A Car Accident?

If you or somebody you care about sustains an injury in an accident caused by the careless or negligent actions of another driver, you deserve compensation for your medical bills and other losses. The vast majority of car accident claims in Illinois are resolved through a settlement with insurance carriers, but that is not always the case.

Sometimes, a car accident claim will only be resolved through a personal injury lawsuit. Here, we want to discuss how long it can take to get a settlement after a car accident occurs.

The insurance settlement process

Car accidents must be reported to insurance carriers very soon after they occur. When a claim is made, this starts the investigation process by the insurance carrier. As we mentioned, the majority of Illinois car accident claims are resolved when an insurance carrier pays a settlement.

Illinois is a fault-based state when it comes to car accident compensation. This means that the insurance carrier of the at-fault party will generally be responsible for paying compensation to the other party involved.

In some cases, a car accident settlement could be forthcoming within a few weeks to a month after the incident occurs. However, that is not always the case. If there are any disputes over fault in the case or the total amount of compensation that should be paid, the insurance settlement process could take longer.

The personal injury lawsuit process

If the insurance carrier of the at-fault party denies a claim or refuses to offer a fair settlement amount, it may be necessary for the injury victim to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver. When the case enters the civil court system, the time that it will take for the matter to be resolved significantly increases.

The personal injury lawsuit process is made up of several steps but begins with an investigation into the incident by the parties involved (and their attorneys). The discovery phase of the process will include an exchange of evidence between both parties, and it may be necessary for witnesses to give depositions. While all of this is ongoing, attorneys for both sides will likely continue to attempt to reach a negotiated settlement in order to avoid going to trial.

Car accident cases that do reach the lawsuit phase are likely to be resolved before they go to a full jury trial. However, this will still likely extend the time it takes for a settlement to be reached. After a car accident lawsuit has been filed, it could take several months to more than a year for a settlement to reach a plaintiff.

Unfortunately, it could take years for a car accident case to get to a jury trial if the attorneys cannot reach a negotiated settlement out of court.

What types of compensation are available?

Car accident victims are generally entitled to various types of compensation in the event they are injured due to the careless or negligent actions of another driver. This can include, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Coverage of all medical bills
  • Lost income if a victim cannot work
  • General household out-of-pocket expenses
  • Property damage expenses
  • Pain and suffering damages
  • Loss of quality of life damages

The total amount of compensation available in these cases will vary depending on the facts and circumstances surrounding each particular case. A Chicago car accident attorney will be able to work with trusted medical and financial experts to properly calculate the total losses.