How Long Does It Take to Get Compensated After a Car Accident?
Car accidents can be traumatic events and create financial burdens for both the accident victim and the at-fault driver.
Accident victims may incur costs for automobile repairs, rental cars, medical bills, and other financial hardships associated with car accidents. The at-fault driver may end up with higher auto insurance premiums and, depending on the circumstances, may be required to reimburse you for damages and injuries.
Knowing when you’ll receive compensation to cover those burdens will help you understand what to expect during this hectic time. Here are a few common scenarios.
Expected compensation timelines for car accidents:
- If You Do Not File a Lawsuit
- If You Accept a Quick Settlement Offer from an Insurance Company
- If You Settle With the At-Fault Driver
- If You Win in Court
- If No Compensation Check Showed Up
How long does it take to be compensated when dealing directly with the at-fault party?
If you’ve been involved in a fender-bender where there were no injuries or one where you suffered only minor injuries, you may have decided to resolve the matter informally with the at-fault driver without involving an insurance company or filing a lawsuit.
In this scenario, the responsible party (the driver responsible for the accident) likely agreed to compensate you for a certain amount in return for you not taking legal action against him or her.
Sure, resolving your dispute in this manner may seem enticing: you would receive compensation on the spot, or usually within a few days, and you do not need to find a personal injury attorney. However, you should be cautious about accepting such an offer.
If the at-fault party agrees to pay you at a later date, your arrangement should be reduced to writing and signed.
If you are asked to sign a document before you receive the agreed-upon compensation, be sure to read it carefully or have an attorney review it. You should be fully aware of the agreement’s terms and what legal rights—if any—you have to pursue additional compensation later.
How long does it take to be compensated if you accept a quick settlement offer from an insurance company?
It is common for an insurance company to respond within a few days—and sometimes the same day—that you contact their office to report a claim or loss.
A claims adjuster will be responsible for evaluating how much your claim is “worth” and making a settlement offer to you.
While there is no set timeframe in which an insurance company must make you an offer, most want to resolve claims quickly. You may receive an offer within a few days or, in some cases, weeks of the accident, depending on how long it takes for the adjuster to evaluate your case.
Once you have accepted an offer, the insurance company will usually pay you within a few days. In most cases, this should take no more than 30 days from the date the offer is accepted.
How long does it take to receive money from an accident settlement?
If you and the other party agree to settle your case out of court, the settlement agreement will contain the terms and conditions of payment.
The payment terms will determine how and when the at-fault party must compensate you. Typically, payment will be made in one of two ways:
- Lump-sum cash settlements are usually made within approximately 30 days of the date the settlement is agreed upon.
- Periodic payments require the responsible party to make monthly or semi-monthly payments over a specific period until the agreed-upon settlement amount is paid in full.
It is important to seek legal representation before agreeing to a settlement.
When you settle, you typically waive your right to pursue additional compensation from the other party. Therefore, it is important that the settlement amount you agree to considers not only the expenses and losses you have already suffered but those expenses you are likely to suffer in the future, as well. These potential expenses can include ongoing medical needs, rehabilitation costs, decreased future earnings, and other financial hardships that may occur as a result of your accident or injuries.
How long does it take to receive compensation after I win in court?
If your case was represented in court, you might have waited weeks, months, or in some extreme cases years for your case to be resolved.
When the court announces a judgment in your favor, the terms and timeline for which the other party must pay will also be set. Depending on the financial resources of the other party, the court may order either a lump-sum payment within a certain number of weeks or allow the other party to make periodic payments of a certain amount until the judgment is paid in full.
In either case, it can take 30 days or more before you begin receiving your payments.
If the other party does not pay according to the terms set by the court, there are ways to bring this to the court’s attention and demand the other party make immediate payment. This requires the filing of another action and asking the court for permission to go after the assets or other funds of the party to satisfy the judgment.
The good news is that if this becomes necessary, you may be entitled to recover your attorney’s fees if the failure to pay is deliberate and willful. The bad news is that this can result in an even greater delay in receiving your compensation.
What if I never received compensation?
If you prevailed in court or entered into a settlement agreement and the other party fails to pay you according to the court’s orders or settlement terms, you may be able to enforce your rights to compensation through either a contempt of court action or a breach of contract action.
Both actions require additional document filing with the court and require you to show that the party who was supposed to pay you has not done so.
If you win, you may be entitled to recover not only the compensation you were originally supposed to receive but also:
- court fees
- attorney’s fees for the additional action
- and/or punitive damages
Do I have to pay attorney’s fees if I do not receive a settlement or win a lawsuit?
Many people are frightened about the prospect of filing a personal injury lawsuit because they fear the expense if they are not successful in settling their case or recovering compensation in court.
Money should not be a barrier to you exercising your legal rights.
It is common for personal injury or car accident attorneys to take your case on a contingency fee basis. This means that your personal injury attorney does not receive a fee for his or her services unless he or she is able to recover compensation on your behalf.
How we can help
At The Millar Law Firm, our personal injury attorneys are committed to helping you receive the money you need for your injuries as quickly as possible.
We take the time to understand your needs and desires and then formulate a strategy to help you get the most compensation possible in the shortest time frame.
Contact us at (404) 620-4301 or submit your information today to receive your free case evaluation.