Car accidents can be traumatic or even life-changing events that happen in the blink of an eye. They can mark the “before” and “after” in the trajectory of your life. It may take a long time to get over the emotional effects of a car accident which is why reaching a settlement is so important. It allows everyone involved in the accident to turn the page.
Unfortunately, car accident settlements happen on their timeline, and their timeline can be unpredictable. How long do car accident settlements take? The answer depends on a variety of factors.
How Car Accident Settlements Work
Car accident settlements are the legal agreements both parties (or multiple parties) reach after a car accident. It should take into account all damages, pain and suffering, loss of work, and other activities. A settlement is an alternative to going to court—a different way to assess damages and achieve compensation for the pain and suffering caused by the incident. A settlement removes the necessity of a judge and jury. In Illinois, either party can request a settlement conference, or the judge can order one at any time. These are informal meetings between the parties to try to come to an agreement. If no agreement is made at the informal meeting, both parties are able to continue talking to try to reach a settlement, or they may go to court.
Factors That Slow Down Car Accident Settlements
While settlements can be very straightforward, they may be surprisingly slow to sort out. You may wait longer than you like for a settlement after a car accident. Many factors are at play:
- Filing the Claim. Jumping through the hoops of the paperwork can be daunting. You may be required to provide medical records that take time and effort to procure. If you are dealing with the other party’s insurance company, they may not work promptly or be as responsive as your own insurance company.
- Getting a Medical Assessment. Understanding what you are owed may be a challenge depending on the medical problems you confront after an accident. For example, medical problems involving the back or neck, such as whiplash, may appear in the days or weeks following a collision. But other medical side effects such as headaches, neck and shoulder pain, numbness, and even emotional trauma may not show up for months, and getting a thorough medical assessment may tack time onto the timeline for a complete understanding of the damage done.
- Collecting Documentation. Medical records aren’t the only documents you may need to have your car accident settlement finalized. You will need all the bills associated with damages, including car repair receipts and receipts for rental cars or taxi or ride-share services. You may need photographs of the damage to your car as well as photos of the location of the accident. You may need police reports if any were filed. And depending on the case, you may need documentation such as witness testimony.
- Assessing Future Loss. In the most serious cases, a car accident may impact your future. You may not be able to keep the career you’ve built. You may have to ask for accommodations at work, or you may need to go on disability. Examining and assessing the lost “opportunity cost” will involve considering your lost wages and working with a professional to assess what you should be entitled to.
The detailed paperwork and complex information tracking that begins as soon as the accident happens and ends when you finally see your settlement can be long and arduous. It is understandably daunting. It’s essential to have a team of experienced professionals to help you.
How Cullotta Bravo Law Group Can Help
The Cullotta Bravo Law Group has experience getting those involved in car accidents the settlements they deserve in a timely manner. And in the fog of a car accident, it’s important to have a team you can trust who will get you a fair—and timely—settlement for your car accident. The attorneys at Cullotta Bravo Law Firm can help you get that. The team can help you file insurance claims, examine the evidence, and more. Call us at 630-898-7800, or contact us online.