You could be entitled to compensation for damages after a collision. However, how long will it take to settle your car accident case in Fort Worth, TX? When can you expect money to be in your pocket from a car accident settlement?
It depends on the facts and circumstances of your case. Some Texas car accident cases settle within a few weeks or months. Others could take more than a year to resolve.
Below, we break down the most common factors that impact the timeline of a car accident case. If you want more information about your specific claim, you can call our law firm to schedule a free consultation with a Fort Worth car accident attorney.
Most Car Accident Cases Begin With an Insurance Claim
Texas is an at-fault state for personal injury claims. You must prove that the other party caused your injuries to recover compensation for economic and non-economic damages. Most car accident cases begin by filing a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
All drivers must purchase a minimum amount of liability insurance. If a driver causes an accident, their insurance company is liable for the costs and damages caused by the accident up to the policy limits.
While most insurance claims settle through negotiations, some cases cannot be resolved without legal action. If the parties cannot agree to a settlement amount, the only legal option you might have is to file a personal injury lawsuit. Filing a lawsuit can lengthen the time it takes to receive money in a car accident claim.
Whether you file a lawsuit or resolve your claim with the insurance company, certain factors can impact how long it takes to settle a car accident case.
Factors that can increase or decrease the amount of time it takes to receive settlement money include:
Your Injuries and Recovery Period
One of the worst mistakes people make when they represent themselves is to settle their case before they reach maximum medical improvement. Until your doctor states that you have recovered fully, you cannot be sure how much your injury claim is worth.
Maximum medical improvement is the point when no further medical treatment is expected to improve your condition. If you sustain permanent impairments or disabilities, your damages could be worth much more money.
The severity of your injuries directly impacts the time it takes to reach maximum medical improvement. The more severe the injuries, the longer it generally takes to recover.
The Value of Your Damages
Cases that are worth more usually take longer to settle. The insurance company wants to limit how much they pay to resolve your claim. Therefore, the more money you demand, the more the insurance company might fight the claim.
Liability for the Car Accident
There must be evidence proving that the other driver caused the car accident. It takes longer to settle your case if the evidence is weak or you’re partially at fault for the accident. You have the burden of proving that the other driver is at fault.
The insurance company might try to claim your case is not worth as much because of comparative fault. Therefore, your personal injury lawyer must gather evidence and fight to convince the insurance company that their driver would be held liable if your case went to court.
The Parties Involved in the Case
When multiple parties are involved in a car accident case, it could lengthen the time it takes to resolve it. The parties might argue about who is liable and the percentage of liability assigned to each party. Also, cases involving government entities and trucking companies can be more complicated to settle.
In some cases, the insurance provider can impact the timeline. Some insurance companies are easier to work with and are quick to settle. However, other insurance companies have reputations for dragging claims out to wear victims down and force them to accept low settlement offers.
An Insurance Company Might Make a Quick Settlement Offer
The initial settlement offer in a car accident case is generally lower than the value of the damages. The insurance company wants you to accept the offer before you speak with a car accident attorney and realize your case is worth more money.
If an insurance adjuster can get you to accept a lowball offer and sign a settlement agreement, it saves the insurance company money. The settlement agreement includes a waiver of liability. In other words, you give up the right to file a lawsuit and pursue a claim against all parties involved in the car accident.
Receiving a settlement check early in your case might seem appealing, especially if you have medical bills to pay and lost wages. However, that settlement check might be just a fraction of what your car accident claim is worth. Therefore, before signing any documents or accepting a settlement offer, you should seek legal advice from an experienced Fort Worth car accident lawyer.
What Is the Process of Settling a Car Accident Case in Fort Worth?
Each personal injury case is unique. However, there are steps in the personal injury claim process that most cases follow. You can expect your car accident case to include the following:
For example, if fault for the crash is disputed, your attorney might hire accident reconstructionists and other expert witnesses to assist. This process adds to the timeline. Likewise, if multiple vehicles or a commercial vehicle is involved, it takes longer to investigate the crash than if you were involved in a two-car accident with another passenger vehicle.
Settlement Demand and Negotiations
Your lawyer will prepare a settlement demand letter to send to the insurance company. The letter outlines the facts of the case, discusses the legal grounds for liability, and explains your damages. The demand letter also contains an amount you are willing to accept to settle your case.
The insurance company might take weeks to review and respond to the demand letter. If they accept the demand, the company will issue a check, and your case will be resolved.
However, most insurance companies negotiate for a lower settlement amount. The back-and-forth settlement negotiations could go on for a few months.
Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit
If the insurance company refuses to settle for a fair amount, your attorney might advise you to file a personal injury lawsuit.
The steps in a lawsuit include the following:
- Filing pleadings and responsive pleadings
- Settlement negotiations and mediation
- Pre-trial motions and hearings
- Jury selection
If you win your lawsuit, the opposing party could appeal the decision. Filing a lawsuit does not guarantee you will receive money for your claim. You cannot be sure what a jury might decide.
An experienced Fort Worth car accident attorney will explain your legal options, including the strengths and weaknesses of your case. After reviewing your options, you can decide what is best for your situation.
Schedule a Free Consultation With an Experienced Fort Worth, TX Auto Accident Lawyer
It can be difficult to know what to do after a car crash, especially if you have never had to file an insurance claim. Contact our law firm at (817) 294-1900 to schedule a free consultation with a Fort Worth, TX auto accident lawyer. Get answers to your questions about personal injury claims and learn how we can help you get the money you deserve with Anderson Injury Lawyers.
Our law firm handles all types of car accident cases involving:
- Distracted Driving Accidents
- DUI Accident
- Fatal Car Crashes
- Head-On Crashes
- Highway Crashes
- Hit & Run Accidents
- Intersection Crashes
- Lane Change Crashes
- Left-Turn Accident
- Multi-Vehicle Car Crashes
- Parking Lot Accidents
- Passenger Injuries
- Passenger Negligence
- Red and Yellow Light Accidents
- Rear-End Collisions
- Road Defects
- Rollover Accidents
- Seat Belt Injuries
- Self-Driving Car Accidents
- Single-Vehicle Accidents
- Speeding Accidents
- SUV Rollover Accident
- U-Turn Car Accidents
- Uninsured Motorist Claims
Additional Fort Worth Car Accident Resources
- Car Accident FAQs
- Car Accident Liability
- Car Color & Crash Risk
- Common Injuries From Car Accidents
- Do I Need a Lawyer After a Hit-and-Run Accident in Fort Worth?
- Fort Worth Car Accident Statistics
- How Does Car Insurance Work in the State of Texas?
- How To Obtain an Accident Report in Texas
- Most Dangerous Roads/Intersections in Fort Worth
- Texas Car Accident Claim Process
- What Does a Car Accident Lawyer Do?
- What to Do When Injured in a Car Accident
- Who Is at Fault for My Car Accident?