How Long Does It Take to Settle a Car Accident Case In Everett?
The roads of Everett can be dangerous. Highway 99, Highway 2, the Everett-Bothell Highway and Highway 9 see motor vehicle accidents every day – many of them resulting in traumatic injuries and some fatalities. If you’ve been seriously injured in a car accident, the first thing to do after you seek medical attention is to contact a car accident attorney to protect your rights to a settlement. But once that it done, how long will you have to wait for a settlement?
There’s no one answer to that question and how long it takes depends on a variety of factors. To get a better idea about what to expect, here are the 5 major factors that determine how long it will take for you to get your settlement:
# 1 Who Was at Fault
If the other driver was at fault and admitted it to you (or more importantly, to the police), your settlement may come more quickly. When fault is unclear or if the other driver tries to deny they were at fault, it will take a little longer to sort. Even better is if the other driver was ticketed by the police for the accident – documentation of blame is critical. In this case, your settlement could come in a matter of weeks. If there is a question about who caused the accident, eyewitness statements or a bystander video can help assign blame and expedite a financial settlement for your injuries.
# 2 What Complications There Are
If the other driver was drunk, on drugs or doing anything that caused them to be arrested for the accident, this complication can make your case take longer. Any criminal aspects of the accident could potentially increase your settlement due to the other driver’s gross negligence. Though this will take longer to sort out, the wait will be well worth it. If there was a death involved with the accident, the settlement will be higher, but will take longer because of this serious complication. A complex case can take many months, up to several years to settle.
# 3 What Insurance Companies Are Involved
Some insurance companies are much easier to work with than others. Reputable insurance companies are more likely to settle without trying to drag things out. Cut-rate insurance companies are often more difficult to work with and may throw up roadblocks. An experienced car accident injury will have a history of dealing with most insurance companies and may even have contacts there than can expedite the process. “Household name” insurance companies are more likely to settle quickly – perhaps within a few weeks – if your case is not overly complicated (see #1 above). Dodgier companies will do whatever they can to avoid paying out and will likely try to prolong the settlement process as long as possible.
# 4 How Good Your Attorney Is
The more experienced your car accident attorney is, the faster you will get your settlement. A complicated case or one where there is a question of fault may take longer to sort, but using an inexperienced attorney will add months (or even years) to your wait time for a settlement. Even worse is trying to act as your own attorney. If an insurance company knows you have no advocate protecting you, they will drag out settlement talks, low-ball you and throw up roadblocks. There’s little chance you will get a fair settlement from an insurance company if you represent yourself.
# 5 What Your Priorities Are
Patience is an asset when it comes to your car accident settlement. Insurance companies will never start out offering a reasonable settlement amount. Their hope is that you will take the quickest and lowest settlement and go away. If your priority is a fast settlement, rather than a fair settlement, you may want to rethink your priorities. You should be patient and rely on your attorney’s advice. An experienced, reputable car accident attorney will know what your case is worth based on their track record of negotiating settlements. The best settlement is never the first offer and a competent attorney is your best chance to get the optimal settlement in minimal time.