How Long Does it Take to Receive Compensation After a Car Accident

Key Points:

  • Car accident settlement timelines all vary due to the variety of factors that influence the time it takes to settle a car accident case. Its difficult to give an exact prediction for each case.
  • An average small car accident legal claim, that has no injuries, takes between two-to-three months to settle on average.
  • A serious accident, that injured people, takes between three-to-six months on average to settle.
  • Reimbursement usually occurs within 30 days or less after a formal settlement agreement or verdict.
  • There are a list of factors that can speed up the pace of a settlement, as well as slow down the pace of a settlement (see below).

Over our 30 years of experience we have noticed that once the financial cost of a car accident is made known to an accident victim, they become anxious to get the compensation check for the accident.

We totally get it. And in 2023, accidents are really expensive with the cost of everything around vehicle and medical expenses being inflated. Accidents place people into debt immediately.

Knowing when to expect a settlement check to come in can bring peace to a stressful situation.

How Long It Takes to Receive Compensation for a NON INJURY Car Accident Claim

It typically takes anywhere from 6 to 12 weeks to get compensated for a car accident that did not cause any injuries.  The timeframe for compensation takes less time to settle when there are no injuries because of there being no medical bills. The insurance company is waiting on the auto body shop for the final invoice – and then the cost of the accident is known.

In 2023, auto body shops are backed up, and typically can’t fix a car for a couple months. This is a main reason why a non-injury car accident can still take two months to settle.

The rental car final expenses will be known and covered at that time as well.

These cases usually settle without the help of a car accident attorney, because the expenses are very simple are straightforward with invoices and receipts.

Factors that Can Delay a Non-Injury Car Accident Settlement:

  • Auto body shop delays
  • Delays on contacting/reporting to the insurance company
  • Disputes on fault
  • Delays from the insurance adjustor

How Long It Takes to Receive Compensation for a MINOR INJURY Car Accident Claim

Minor injuries would be considered injuries that do not result in overnight hospital stays. These would be considered injuries where you’re still able to go about your day, but there is some pain. These accident claims typically take between 3 to 6 months to settle.

These claims vary because the medical care is different. The insurance company is likely not going to get the cost correctly, that delays things.

Factors that Can Delay a Minor Injury Car Accident Settlement:

  • Auto body shop delays
  • Communication delays with the insurance company
  • Low insurance quick check offers
  • Insurance companies resisting settlement requests
  • Waiting on doctors bills
  • Delays on getting a doctors appointment
  • Physical therapy/chiropractor treatment plans being extended
  • Legal delays
  • Disputes on fault

How Long It Takes to Receive Compensation for a SERIOUS INJURY Car Accident Claim

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Serious injury claims often take the longest, because they come with more expenses that are miscalculated by insurance companies. These claims can range anywhere from 6 to 24 months but seem to average around 9 to 12 months for a good settlement offer to come int.

When a serious injury takes place in a car accident, its important to know that the cost of the accident is not immediately known. You don’t know how long it will keep you out of work. You don’t know how serious the medical treatment plan will be or how much it will cost. You don’t know what injuries will be permanent.

Factors that Can Delay a Serious Injury Claim:

  • Rejected settlement requests from the insurance company
  • Medical bill delays
  • Duration of medical treatment
  • Legal delays
  • A possibility of a trial
  • Missed work income totals
  • Lack of available insurance coverage
  • Disputes on fault
  • Communication delays

How Long It Takes to Receive Compensation for a FATAL Car Accident Claim

Fatal accidents are very similar to serious accidents in regards to the time it takes to settle. The one main thing that can extend the time it takes to settle is going after the other drivers estate. With a fatality being the worst possible outcome of a car accident, these can take more time because of all the expenses, and back and forth with the insurance company.

How Long it Takes to Receive Compensation if Your Car Accident Claim Goes to Trial

There is no pre-set amount of time for a case to come to Court after suit is filed. It may depend on how complicated your case is, how complicated your medical care is, and how many cases are ahead of you with the Judge or Court. Most Georgia car and truck accident lawsuits take 1-3 years to come to trial after being filed.

After the case is filed, there is a discovery period during which the sides will learn about each other through lists of questions and requests for documents. Many cases settle during or after discovery after the attorneys learn more about their opponent’s case and defenses. If the case goes to trial, a typical car accident case takes two days to a week on average.

Factors That Delay Settlements in General

The Duration of Medical Care and The Last Date of Treatment

Waiting until you have finished your medical care and treatment can help ensure you receive the full value for your case. We understand that waiting can be hard, especially while you have medical bills from an injury and may be out of work. However, the insurance company is unlikely to pay a full, or even reasonable, settlement until the extent of your injuries, physical condition and all medical costs are known. If the insurance company makes a quick settlement offer while you are still recovering, watch out.  You may be leaving settlement money on the table. Your case may be worth much more.

Settling Your Car Accident Case in Georgia

A Georgia car accident case can take anywhere from several months to a few years to settle for its full and fair value. The details of your case matter. You must take into account: What the full and fair value of your injuries truly is, how long it has or will take you to recover, how much insurance there is (policy limits), and whether the accident is entirely the fault of the other driver, or partly your fault.

The Amount of Available Insurance Coverage

When there is significant insurance coverage available in a case, it can sometimes take longer to settle. There is less pressure on the insurance company when the amount of available coverage is larger than the cost of your medical bills and other damages. For example, say you have a severe injury with $80,000 in medical bills, and the insurance policy limit is $100,000. Insurance companies know that serious injury cases with $80,000 in bills are likely to end up in a jury verdict higher than the policy limit. If so, the insurance company might have to pay above the policy limits unless it had already (quickly) offered to pay out the entire policy.

Compare this to a case involving a minor injury with $10,000 in medical bills and a $100,000 insurance policy. The insurance company knows that it is unlikely your jury verdict will exceed the policy limit. So, there is very little pressure on the insurance carrier and adjuster to settle quickly.

If Who’s At Fault is Clear

If the negligent driver admitted to fault or the police issued a traffic ticket, which the driver paid, a case could move quicker. However, the insurance company is likely to resist paying your claim if you are partially or fully to blame. Additional investigation, witness statements, 911 audio recordings and surveillance videos from nearby businesses may all help prove who was at fault. The more proof presented, the longer the case may take to settle, and the more likely it may end up requiring a lawsuit. That is, if your attorney determines the case can be won at trial.

The Insurance Company or Defense Attorney

Some insurance companies have a reputation for fighting every case or making settlement offers far below the normal range for the type of accident, injury, or amount of medical bills. It may take a lot of negotiating to get the case to its full settlement potential. Often, when the insurance company is stubborn, a lawsuit must be filed.

Payment for the Defense Lawyer

Private law firms and defense attorneys are paid by the hour. It can get quite expensive to defend a personal injury case.  However, insurance companies with in-house attorneys can drag out the amount of time it takes to settle. If the insurance company doesn’t have to hire more expensive outside lawyers, they may unnecessarily drag out the case.

A Case Against the Local, State or Federal Government. 

If the at-fault driver was at work for a government agency when the crash occurred, certain notices must be filed and time periods must elapse before the government agency is required to pay your claim. There are likely to be strict notice and reporting requirements that must be filed, or your claim could be denied or dismissed. Do not expect a case against a government agency to settle quickly.

When Medicaid or Medicare is Involved

If some or all of your bills were paid by Medicaid or Medicare, you will likely have to reimburse some or all of those payments. This means that a portion of your settlement may need to be set aside to pay the lien. Most medical liens are negotiable, but it will increase the time it takes to receive all of the money from your settlement.

Factors That Can Expedite a Car Accident Legal Claim

quote about evidence needed

Quickly Presenting Evidence that Proves you will Win on Liability (fault). 

After an accident, you will need the police report, photographs of the damage to the vehicles, pictures of your injuries, any necessary witness statements or other evidence. The at-fault driver’s insurance adjuster will review this evidence and decide whether the case could be won. If they expect to lose in court, the insurance company will be less likely to discount the amount being offered. The sooner evidence is presented, the faster the insurance company can decide not to fight your case on liability (fault).

Sending Off all Medical Bills, Records and Reports to the Insurance Company 

Most insurance adjusters will not make a settlement offer until they have all medical bills, records and proof of any lost pay. Insurance adjusters use these records to set the amount or limit they are willing to offer. They must then get approval from their superiors at the insurance company to settle the claim.  Larger claims or cases usually require more and better documentation.

 quote about insurance tactics

Giving the Insurance Company Enough Information to set a Reserve. 

A case reserve is the amount of money an insurance company must set aside to pay your claim. If the adjuster sets the reserve too low, it can take time and effort to get the case re-reserved to a level that the insurance company can pay. This is a good reason to let the adjuster know as soon as possible how severe your injuries are.  On the other hand, reserves may be limited by the amount of the insurance policy.

You are Dealing with a “Good” Insurance Company 

A high-quality insurance company is more likely to make a reasonable settlement offer and not drag out the process. However, this will still only occur after the full amount of your medical bills and physical recovery are known. Many low-budget insurance companies that insure high-risk drivers have a reputation for making settlement offers much lower than fair value. This can cause the case to take longer.

Your Case has Large Damages and a Low Insurance Limit 

Some cases settle quickly because the value of the case is much greater than the available insurance. In these situations, the insurance company may offer to pay its policy limit even while you are still receiving medical treatment. Sometimes the case settles quickly in response to a time-limited demand. But this is generally only effective when the damages are clearly greater than the amount of the insurance coverage. When a properly drafted time-limited demand (often called “Holt Demands”) is sent, and the insurance company is notified that the case is likely to be larger than policy limits, there is pressure on the insurance company to settle.

When to Expect the Settlement Check Once a Car Accident Claim is Settled

If you and the other party agree to settle your case in or 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:
1. Lump-sum payments are usually paid within 30 days of the date the settlement is agreed upon.
2. 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.

Settlements requiring court approval, in Georgia, may take two to four months. Most cases involving minor children or incapacitated adults require probate or state court approval.

Quote about courtroom judgement

Be careful when agreeing to a settlement. When you settle, you typically waive your right to pursue additional compensation from the other party again. Therefore, the amount you agree to should consider not only the expenses and losses you have already suffered but also expenses you are likely to suffer in the future.

These potential costs can include ongoing medical needs, rehabilitation costs, decreased future earnings and other financial hardships that may occur due to your accident or injuries.

When to Expect a Check if Your Car Accident Claim Wins at a Trial

If your case goes to trial before a judge or jury, you might have waited weeks, months or, in some extreme cases, several years.
When the court announces a verdict and judgment in your favor, the defense typically has 30 days to file an appeal. If they appeal, it is unlikely that you will receive any payment until the appeal is over. Fortunately, most cases are not appealed.
After a verdict and judgment, most insurance companies pay within a matter of a few weeks to a month.

Very knowledgeable and friendly staff. I really enjoyed speaking with you. Thanks for all you do. Honest and caring to say the least! Good job

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TReal Photography

What Recommendations Would We Give to Expedite a Car Accident Settlement?

  • Making sure your car accident lawyer knows you want a quicker settlement. Not all, but some big law firms are just slower with cases. This can slow down the settlement process. Informing them early on about achieving a faster settlement can be very influential on getting a faster car accident settlement.
  • Responding to your lawyer as soon as possible can help speed up the process. If a car accident victim is taking days to respond it will slow down the process.
  • Hiring a law firm that focuses on faster settlements can make a big difference. The legal team is likely to be trained on how to move quickly through the process, and how to get an insurance company to agree with them sooner, rather than later.

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