- In Georgia, car accident injury settlement timelines vary due to the variety of factors that influence the time it takes to settle a car accident case.
- Insurance injury claims resulting from car accidents generally take anywhere from a few months to a year to settle.
- If a car or truck injury case has to be taken all the way through trial, it can take a year or two for the accident victim to recover compensation for his or her injuries.
- The amount of time it will take for you to receive compensation after a car accident depends largely on whether insurance company’s settlement offer is fair, or whether a trial is necessary.
- The amount of time a case takes to settle depends on a number of factors—such as the duration of medical care, the at-fault party’s insurance coverage limits, and who was initially deemed to be at fault in the 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
WHEN TO CONSIDER EARLY 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.
- Expedited compensation: Victims who settle out of court usually receive their compensation faster than those who proceed to trial.
- Reduced expenses and risk: Avoiding a trial can help save on attorney’s fees and minimize the chance of an unfavorable jury verdict.
- 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.
- 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.
WHEN TO CONSIDER ACCEPTING A NEGOTIATED SETTLEMENT:
- 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.
- 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.
- Potential for higher compensation: A jury verdict could result in a more substantial compensation amount than a settlement.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
WHEN TO CONSIDER TAKING YOUR CASE TO TRIAL:
- 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.
Factors that Can Delay a Settlement of a Serious Injury Claim:
Regrettably, some auto accident claims encounter obstacles that prolong the settlement process. Factors that can delay a victim’s compensation after an auto accident include:
- Accident complexity: Generally, individuals involved in straightforward accidents with common injuries can obtain compensation within the usual timeframes. However, particularly complex accidents may require expert witnesses and extensive medical documentation, leading to significantly longer settlement processes or trials.
- Severity of injuries: When an accident victim suffers severe injuries, determining a fair compensation amount becomes challenging. In cases of permanent disability, compensation must also cover the victim’s future medical expenses. Establishing a fair settlement for severe injuries can be time-consuming, as insurance companies and the victim’s attorney may disagree on an appropriate offer.
- Length of medical care: Serious car accidents often result in extensive treatment, including prolonged hospitalization and multiple surgical procedures. Recovery may take weeks or even months. It is advisable to wait until treatment is complete to assess the full extent and costs of the injuries. Consequently, victims with severe injuries might experience delays before pursuing a personal injury claim.
- Difficulty in determining fault: In some car accidents, identifying the responsible party is straightforward, such as when the other driver admits fault or receives a traffic ticket. In these cases, the compensation process may progress quickly. However, if fault is unclear, insurance companies might try to shift blame onto you to offer a smaller settlement. Proving fault may require testimony from expert witnesses, an accident reconstructionist, or additional documentation like security camera footage. The more challenging it is to establish fault, the likelier your case will need to go to trial, delaying compensation for your injuries.
- Insurance coverage limits: Insurance companies may be more inclined to offer higher settlements if their policyholder has low coverage limits, fearing a potential personal injury lawsuit. Conversely, if your injury costs are low compared to the policy limit, the insurance company may not rush to settle, knowing a jury verdict is unlikely to exceed the policy limit if you sue for damages.
- Appeals following a jury verdict: If your case goes to trial and you are awarded compensation, the defense typically has 30 days to file an appeal. In the event of an appeal, you will likely not receive compensation until the appeal is resolved.
- Insurance company stalling tactics: Insurance companies may use various strategies to delay potential settlements for personal injury claims. Since their primary goal is to minimize spending and maximize profits, insurance companies might prolong personal injury cases, hoping the injured party will succumb to pressure and accept a lower offer.
- Involvement of Medicare or Medicaid: If Medicare or Medicaid partially or entirely covered your medical bills after a car accident, you may need to reimburse them from your personal injury settlement. Reimbursing these entities could reduce your compensation, and negotiating lower payments may delay your ability to receive compensation.
- Evidence collection delays: The evidence you present to the at-fault driver’s insurance company significantly impacts settlement negotiations. Accidents with severe injuries require more evidence, which might not be immediately available. Delays in collecting additional evidence will consequently postpone your compensation.
- Defense lawyer payment: In personal injury cases, private law firms representing the defendant charge hourly fees, which can be costly. However, if an insurance company has in-house counsel, they won’t pay expensive outside attorney fees, making them less inclined to settle your claim quickly.
- Compensation amount disagreements: In some instances, a car accident victim’s attorney and the insurance company’s legal department cannot agree on a reasonable compensation amount. When negotiations stall, the victim’s attorney must file a lawsuit against the insurance company to recover compensation for the 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.
Choose The Millar Law Firm For Expert Help on Your Car Accident or Other Personal Injury Case
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, you need to speak to an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. The Millar Law Firm has been helping victims of car accidents in Georgia for over 25 years. We will fight for your rights and get you the compensation you deserve. Call us today for a free consultation. Call 770-4-Million (770-400-0000).
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