Unfortunately, it will probably take longer than you like. Each case is different. And in your case, you have likely incurred costs for car repairs, rental cars fees, and medical bills – all while you are missing work. This can turn a simple car accident into a serious financial burden for many families. Knowing when you may receive a settlement check after a car accident will help you understand what to expect during this chaotic time in your life.
Each “Healing Timetable” Varies
If you have been injured in a car accident, you will need to seek medical treatment. Each case is different, and every treatment plan varies. The time it takes for you to get better is known as your “healing timetable.” In most cases, you will not know how badly injured you are until months or even years after the accident occurred. You do not want to jump at a low-ball settlement offer simply because you are sick of dealing with the situation. You do not want to start negotiating with the insurance company until you are discharged from treatment and you realize the full extent of your injuries.
Negotiating Starts With A Demand Letter
Once you have completed your medical treatment, all of your medical records and itemized medical bills can be obtained from each of your doctors. This will allow you to build your case to the insurance and show them how you were injured in the wreck, the severity of your injuries, explain the treatment you received and prove your long-term prognosis. This submission is known as a demand letter.
In Georgia, the insurance company will have either thirty (30) or sixty (60) days to review your demand letter – depending on your circumstances. Some insurance companies work quickly and will be able to evaluate your claim in a few days or weeks. Others wait until the last minute.
You Are In A Negotiation
Once your demand letter has been received and evaluated by the insurance company, you need to understand that you are in the middle of a serious negotiation. Insurance companies are for-profit corporations. They do not make money by paying out large settlements to people injured by their negligent drivers. You should understand that the insurance company is not going to lead with its best offer. So long as they can find a reason to deny part or all of your claim, that is precisely what they will do. It then becomes your job to prove your case.
Proving who caused the wreck is the easy part. The difficult part comes when you have to prove that your injuries were the direct result of the wreck and nothing else – no pre-existing conditions or aggravations of pre-existing issues. Then you have to prove how the car wreck affected your life and how to value that reduced quality of life.
Sometimes the initial negotiations can take several weeks or months as the insurance company may request that you provide additional information, documentation, prior medical records, etc. Once the insurance company has made their “final offer” you will have three options:
- Accept that final offer
- Continue negotiating because some adjusters lie when they say this is their final offer
- File a lawsuit and escalate your claim to a litigation adjuster
Filing A Lawsuit
Just because you file a lawsuit does not mean that your case is going to a trial. It takes many months and sometimes years before a case is actually tried in front of a judge or a jury. However, once you file a lawsuit, most insurance companies reassign your claim to a higher-level litigation adjuster. This new adjuster will review your claim and likely make a new and higher offer to settle your case.
Statistically, 85% of car accident claims are settled before they go to trial while 15% end up in a courtroom. The cases that end up in a courtroom are not just the car accident cases with lots of money on the line. Many times, clients are forced to go to trial because the insurance company has refused to even pay for their medical bills – or significantly less than their medical bills. If this is the case, then you really have nothing to lose by going to trial.
Also, some insurance companies just want to see if you are willing to go to trial and show up in court. Just by showing up for trial, the insurance company may significantly increase their previous offer.
Most car accident claims should be negotiated and settled within 60-90 days after you have been discharged by your doctors. However, some claims end up in litigation because a lawsuit was filed. This process can take several more months or years. You never know whether your case will be settled quickly or if a jury will decide your case. Either way, you should prepare by hiring an attorney that is willing to go the extra-mile for you and your case.
Talk to an Attorney Today
There is always a lot a stake after you have been injured in a car accident – especially when it was not your fault. The insurance company for the at-fault driver will work against you throughout the entire process. It is always best to hire an experienced car accident attorney to help hold the insurance company accountable for their negligent driver’s actions. This is the best way to obtain a fair settlement for your injuries, lost wages, and reduced quality of life. Talk to Georgia Trial Attorneys today 678-667-8965 to schedule a free consultation, and we will begin preparing your case immediately.