how long to get settlement from car accident

Following a car accident, many victims wonder how long the settlement process will take.

Waiting for a settlement can be incredibly stressful, especially if you have serious injuries that prevent you from working.

Here is an overview of car accident claims and the average amount of time they take to settle.

The Auto Accident Settlement Timeline

Generally speaking, the process may take anywhere from one to three years, depending on the complexity of the case.

Some may take as little as a few weeks, but that is unlikely in cases involving serious injuries.

Here are the different steps in the average car accident settlement timeline and how long they usually last.

1. Demand Letter

After you gather all of your evidence, you must create a settlement demand letter and send it to the at-fault driver’s insurance company.

Typically, this letter includes the amount demanded, proof of injuries sustained in the accident, and your personal account of the incident.

An attorney can help draft this letter with accurate damages estimates, both economic and non-economic.

2. Response from Insurance Company

Once you send your demand letter, the claims process begins. Upon receipt, the insurance company responds to your claim within 10 business days.

Typically, this is on a first-come, first-served basis.

The response also includes any required next steps, such as submitting additional documentation.

3. Reviewing the Information in Your Claim

The insurance company reviews all information within your claim and decides whether or not to accept it.

According to Texas Insurance Code § 542.056, insurance companies must give a decision on your claim within 15 business days.

If they reject your claim, you may appeal it with the adjuster.

4. Negotiating a Settlement

Usually, the first settlement offer is very low. However, if you do not approve of the offered amount, you may negotiate with the adjuster until the settlement is appropriate.

It takes 15 business days to receive an updated offer every time you submit new information. This usually means that negotiations can take several months.

5. Signing a Settlement Agreement

Once you reach an agreement with the insurance company, you may receive a settlement.

This agreement typically includes a contract that relieves the insurance company of any further legal action regarding your claim.

If you sign this contract, you may receive a settlement check in as little as 30 business days.

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The Statute of Limitations in Texas

In Texas, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases is a crucial legal deadline determining the timeframe for filing a lawsuit after suffering harm due to someone else’s negligence or intentional actions. Understanding the purpose of the statute of limitations and the risks associated with not taking legal action before it expires is essential for protecting your rights and pursuing compensation for your injuries.

The statute of limitations varies depending on the type of personal injury case and the incident’s circumstances. In Texas, the statute of limitations for most personal injury claims, including car accidents, slip and fall accidents, and medical malpractice, is two years from the date of the injury or discovery of the injury. However, there are exceptions to this rule, such as cases involving government entities or minors, which may have shorter or longer deadlines.

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Why Does a Personal Injury Case Have a Statute of Limitations?

The main purpose of the statute of limitations is to promote judicial efficiency, ensure timely resolution of disputes, and prevent the filing of stale or fraudulent claims. By imposing a deadline for starting legal proceedings, the statute of limitations helps preserve the integrity of evidence, witnesses’ memories, and other critical information necessary for adjudicating personal injury cases fairly and accurately.

The Consequences of Letting the Statute of Limitations Expire in Your Case

Please take legal action before the statute of limitations expires to ensure your ability to seek compensation for your injuries. These are a few of the consequences of not doing so.

Losing the Right to Take Legal Action

One significant risk is the loss of your right to pursue a lawsuit. The defendant can raise the statute of limitations as a defense once the statute of limitations has expired. If that happens, the court will likely dismiss your case, no matter how strong it may be. You’ll forfeit your opportunity to hold the responsible party accountable for their actions and obtain financial compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages resulting from the injury.

Compromising Your Case

Delaying legal action can also compromise the strength of your case. Over time, evidence may become lost or destroyed, witnesses may relocate or become unavailable, and memories may fade. 

Without timely documentation and preservation of evidence, proving liability and establishing the extent of your damages becomes increasingly challenging. This can weaken your position in negotiations with insurance companies or in court, making obtaining a favorable outcome in your personal injury case more challenging.

Other Consequences

Waiting too long to pursue legal action can also result in financial hardship and emotional distress. Medical bills and other expenses related to your injury may continue to accumulate, placing a significant burden on you and your family. In addition, the stress and uncertainty of not knowing whether you can recover compensation for your losses can take a toll on your mental well-being and quality of life.

Consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible after an injury occurs can protect your rights and maximize your chances of achieving a positive outcome.

Don’t Fight the Insurance Company Alone—Call an Experienced Texas Car Accident Attorney

Injured victims often wonder why their car accident settlements are taking so long.

We hope that we have given you insight into the typical timeline of the settlement process. But since every case is unique, it is always best to discuss your claim with a car accident attorney.

At Armstrong Lee & Baker LLP, our clients come first. We understand the amount of trust our clients put in us.

That is why we prepare to fight for the best outcome for clients, even if it is difficult.

To schedule a free consultation with an attorney, please call us at 832-402-6637 or send us a message.

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Joshua Lee believes in aggressive, tough advocacy and a client-centered approach to every case. Joshua draws from a wide body of experiences and a robust understanding of the law. Joshua graduated from the New York University School of Law in New York City, which is considered among the best law schools in the world.