How Long it Takes to Get Compensated After a Car Accident

Key Points:

  • The timeline for settling car accident injury claims in Atlanta can vary widely, influenced by several factors that determine how quickly a case is resolved.
  • Typically, insurance claims for injuries resulting from car accidents are settled within a few months to one year. However, if the case progresses to trial, it could take one to two years before the accident victim receives compensation for their injuries.
  • The length of time it takes to receive compensation after a car accident largely depends on the fairness of the insurance company’s settlement offer and whether or not a trial becomes necessary.
  • Several factors influence how long a case takes to settle. These include the duration of your medical treatment, the limits of the at-fault party’s insurance coverage, and who was initially determined to be at fault in the accident.

As bills pile up in your mailbox, your financial reserves are dwindling. You’ve already drained your checking account and even started tapping into your credit card. The costs of the accident are mounting, and the stress is undeniable. You might now be receiving subrogation letters from your health insurance company or facing relentless calls from debt collectors demanding payment for medical bills. Despite repeatedly contacting your car accident lawyer, you’re met with frustrating delays.

Indeed, car accident settlements can be a lengthy ordeal, often stretching over months. If the accident involved substantial damages, the wait for compensation could extend to a year or even longer. It’s a common frustration—the legal process for securing compensation is far slower than you might have initially expected.

We understand the challenges and the strain this delay can cause. Here’s a breakdown of how long it takes to get compensation after a car accident.

The path you choose to pursue for compensation can significantly affect how long it takes to receive it.

There are usually three main paths to compensation after a car accident:

  • Accepting the insurance company’s initial offer. This is the quickest option, but it may not result in the full amount of compensation you deserve.
  • Negotiated settlement with the insurance company. This can take longer than accepting the initial offer, but it may result in a higher amount of compensation.
  • Filing a personal injury lawsuit. This is usually the longest option and carries with it both the highest risk and the highest potential reward.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Settling My Injury Case Quickly?

Often, the fastest way to settle your injury case is to accept the insurance company’s initial settlement offer. Accepting the initial insurance check carries a significant amount of risk, however, and a person who is considering this avenue needs to weigh the pros and cons very carefully to ensure he or she isn’t being taken advantage of by the insurance company.

Estimated Duration: Generally, an individual who agrees to an insurance company’s first proposal can expect to receive compensation within several weeks after accepting the offer.


Expedited compensation: Accepting the initial offer provides a quicker resolution compared to engaging in extensive settlement discussions or pursuing a case to trial.


  1. Potential underestimation of injuries: By agreeing to the insurance company’s first offer, you may not be fully aware of the severity of your injuries or how they might impact you long-term.
  2. Inability to request additional compensation: Once the initial offer is accepted, you cannot request more money from the insurance company if your injuries turn out to be worse than anticipated, as the company will not be legally required to pay.
  3. Risk of undervalued settlement: The first offer from an insurance company is typically their lowest possible offer. If you accept this proposal, you might be forgoing a more substantial settlement.


Minimal or no injuries/damages: Accepting the insurance company’s first offer might be suitable when you have little to no physical injuries or vehicular property damage.

Before agreeing to an insurance company’s initial offer, we recommend seeking advice from an experienced car accident lawyer.

Negotiating Settlement of a Georgia Personal Injury Claim: How Long Does it Usually Take?

If you are dissatisfied with the insurance company’s initial offer, the next step is often for a car accident attorney to enter into settlement negotiations with the insurance company to seek a higher offer.

Settlement Duration: The time it takes to reach a settlement for an auto accident claim typically ranges from a few months to a year.

Compensation Timeline after Settlement: After signing a settlement agreement, accident victims can generally expect to receive compensation within 30 days or less.


  1. Expedited compensation: Victims who settle out of court usually receive their compensation faster than those who proceed to trial.
  2. Reduced expenses and risk: Avoiding a trial can help save on attorney’s fees and minimize the chance of an unfavorable jury verdict.


  1. Stalled negotiations: Insurance companies might reach an impasse in negotiations, forcing you to either accept a subpar settlement or file a lawsuit for increased compensation.
  2. Potential for lower compensation: Settlements may result in less compensation than what a jury could potentially award in a personal injury trial. However, this should always be carefully balanced against the risks of going to trial – which include the possibility that a Court or Jury could award less, or nothing at all.


  1. Complete understanding of injuries: Settling an auto accident claim with an insurance company is advised only when you fully comprehend the severity of your injuries, as insurers are unlikely to offer a fair settlement unless they believe your injuries warrant such compensation.
  2. Adequate coverage of damages: Car accident settlements are recommended when the insurance company’s offer sufficiently addresses the victim’s past, present, and future damages.

How Long Does a Georgia Injury Case Usually Take to go to Trial?

If you sustained injuries in a car accident and couldn’t resolve your personal injury claim through settlement negotiations with the insurance company, your attorney may need to take your case to trial for a judge or jury to determine the outcome.

Estimated Duration until Trial: When a car accident claim proceeds to trial, it may take one to two years for the trial to take place and for the victim to receive compensation for their injuries.

Compensation Timeline after Favorable Verdict: In most car accident cases that end in trial, the injured party usually receives compensation within a month of the jury delivering a verdict in their favor.


  1. Potential for higher compensation: A jury verdict could result in a more substantial compensation amount than a settlement.
  2. Possibility of punitive damages: If the jury finds the at-fault party’s conduct particularly egregious, you may be awarded additional punitive damages, which are meant to punish the responsible party for causing your injuries.


  1. Longer duration: Waiting for a case to be reached on a trial calendar can take considerably longer than settlements, prolonging the time it takes to receive compensation for your injuries.
  2. Uncertain outcomes: There is no guarantee of a successful outcome in a trial, and the jury may not deliver a verdict that adequately compensates you for your injuries.


  1. Uncooperative insurance companies: Your attorney may recommend going to trial if you are dealing with an insurance company that refuses to settle or proposes a settlement amount that does not adequately cover your injuries.

Practice Tip: 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 on a large-limit insurance policy, 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. 

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