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How Long Does It Take to Settle a Car Accident Claim?

Many people that have been injured in a car accident hesitate to make a claim against the at fault party because the claim will take too long to get settled. However, some car accident cases get settled very quickly, and others will take longer to get resolved.

What many people don’t realize  is that car accident claims are not “lawsuits.” In fact, most Florida car accident claims do not become a lawsuit. It is estimated that 90% of Florida car accident claims do not result in a lawsuit being filed. This is because the parties involved – the person that was injured and the insurance company – reach a settlement that is satisfactory to both sides before going to court. If, however, you are not satisfied with the amount of your car accident settlement, it is your right to file a lawsuit. A lawsuit would only be filed in the event the two parties were not able to reach a settlement agreement. Settling your case before you file a lawsuit takes far less time than settling your case after you file a lawsuit, or at trial.

Factors That Impact How Long It Will Take to Settle Your Car Accident Claim

There are several factors that affect not only the time frame for getting a claim settled, but also the value of the claim. These are:

How Seriously You Were Injured

Car accident claims involving serious injuries get handled more quickly by insurance companies.  The reason for this is that the value of a car accident claim which caused serious injuries, i.e., broken bones, surgery, hospital stay, often exceeds the amount of insurance the at fault party has. For instance, the value of a car accident claim where the person suffered a broken ankle, or a neck and back injury which requires surgery, would exceed the value of many normal car insurance policies in Florida. If an insurance company does not fairly evaluate a serious car accident claim, it can get sued for bad faith where an injured person can recover more than just the bodily injury policy limits of the insurance policy. Because of this risk, insurance companies will review serious car accident injury cases quickly when the bodily injury liability insurance is limited.

How Much Medical Care You Needed

An injury that only takes 2-3 months of medical care can be submitted to the insurance company for evaluation as soon as you reach maximum medical improvement (“MMI”). MMI is when your doctor feels you have reached the maximum improvement from your injuries. An injury that involves a longer amount of medical care should not be submitted for settlement until you have finished your medical care as you do not know the full extent of your injuries and medical care until you finish.

How Much Car Insurance Coverage the Other Driver Has

If the at fault party has loads of car insurance, say a $1 million dollar liability policy, there is not much risk to the insurance company in taking their time in evaluating your claim unless it involves death, serious injury or paralysis.  But most people in Florida do not have huge insurance policies. The overwhelming majority of bodily injury liability insurance policies in Florida have under $50,000 in policy limits. If you have a car accident claim with injuries that are valued at more than the bodily injury liability policy limits, an insurance company will attempt to get your claim resolved more quickly so as not to expose itself to a bad faith claim.

How Likely Your Case Will Go to Court

Whether you need to file a lawsuit depends on the factors above, and whether you are satisfied with the pre-lawsuit offer or settlement offered. If you need to file a lawsuit, judges in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties currently schedule trial dates 18 months from the time the lawsuit was filed — unless the case is placed on an expedited track, or is a complex claim. Thus, you may have to wait 18 months or more to appear before a judge  or jury.

This does not mean your case will not settle prior to your trial date. Your settlement can occur much sooner.

Additionally, all trial orders come with a referral to mediation, but mediation often does not occur more than 60 days prior to trial, and sometimes even closer to trial.

Each Claim is Different. Contact the Maus Law Firm for a Free Case Evaluation

To summarize, each car accident claim is going to be different. But you can usually gauge the amount of time it will take to settle the claim by the severity of the injury(ies), the amount of insurance available, the length of time it takes to complete the medical care, and whether a lawsuit is needed. For more information on car accident lawsuits in Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, Pompano Beach, Davie or Overland Park, please contact the Maus Law Firm for a free consultation at (954) 784-6310 or by using our contact form. 


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If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in an accident, you deserve an attorney you can trust

– to prepare your case properly, and to obtain the compensation you deserve. The Attorneys at the Maus Law Firm have tried more than 130 jury trials, and recovered millions of dollars on behalf of their clients. In fact, most of our cases are referred from our former clients on cases in which we served as the lead accident claims lawyer.

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