How long does it take to settle a car accident claim?
Factors Affecting the Time It Takes to Reach a Car Accident Settlement
1. Proving Fault
When there is a dispute concerning who caused the accident, it can delay the process. The insurance company wants to pay out as little as possible, so if there is any chance of reducing their liability they will take advantage of it. In fact, if the insurance company can establish that the claimant is more than half responsible for the crash, it will eliminate the insurer having to pay any damages because of Ohio's negligence laws
One of the best ways to avoid a delay caused by a dispute regarding fault is to ensure there is adequate evidence that shows the other party was mostly or completely responsible for the crash. Gather all forms of proof immediately afterwards or as soon as possible. This may include a copy of the accident report, statements from witnesses, photographs and anything else of relevance.
2. Type of Accident
Another factor that can determine how long it will take to reach a settlement is the type of accident and severity of injuries. If it was a fender-bender that resulted in minor injuries, the insurance company may be more likely to pay a fair amount of compensation. But if it was a serious collision that resulted in disabling or life-threatening injuries, the claim will likely take longer to settle.
The more severe the injuries, the higher the medical costs. Which also means the more missed time from work. All of these damages can quickly add up. But it might also lead to a claimant asking for additional forms of compensation, such as pain and suffering. As a result, the insurance company will require more extensive evidence. It needs proof of both physical and emotional injuries and how they have impacted the claimant. Thus, it can take longer to assemble all of the necessary records and documentation.
Another issue that can delay the process is when the injured person faces future medical costs such as surgery or rehabilitation. With a longer recovery, it will take more work to determine how these future economic and noneconomic losses will affect the settlement.
Some insurance companies actually try to settle the claim very quickly. But that doesn’t mean it’s to the claimant’s benefit. Settling too quickly could end up hurting the individual in the long run, especially if treatment becomes necessary later on for which the settlement doesn't account, or it’s not clear how an injury will affect the accident victim long-term.
Negotiating can be one of the most frustrating and challenging aspects of a car accident claim. But its success could mean the difference between getting shortchanged and receiving what’s fair for current and future damages.
How an Attorney Could Affect a Car Accident Settlement
One way to know the claims process is being handled properly is to have help from an attorney. At the very least, you can know that someone is looking out for your best interests and won’t accept anything less than a fair value for your claim depending on the circumstances.
Get help from Ryan, LLP in Cleveland by calling us at 877-864-9495 or contact us online
to set up a consultation.
About the author of this article: Thomas Ryan