When you are in a serious car accident in Georgia, you may wonder how long it will take to receive compensation for your injuries after the accident. In addition to medical expenses and loss of income, you may be experiencing significant financial stress. When facing these challenges, you'll need an experienced Dallas, Georgia, car accident lawyer who will fight for compensation on your behalf.
With nearly three decades of legal experience, the attorneys at Lonati Law Firm have a successful track record of obtaining fair and just compensation for our clients. To ensure they can concentrate on treatment and recovery, we handle all aspects of our client's injury claims. We have a reputation for being friendly and down-to-earth, and we keep our clients informed about the progress of their cases.
Whether you were injured or lost a loved one in a car accident due to someone else's recklessness, Lonati Law Firm wants to help. Speak with us for a free case evaluation to find out what legal options you may have. Call our car accident lawyers in Dallas, GA, today at 678-363-3500.
How Long Does the Car Accident Settlement Process Take?
After you've been injured in an accident, you will need to file a personal injury claim with the at-fault driver's insurance company to begin the settlement process. It's best to consult with a Georgia car accident lawyer before speaking with the insurance company about your case (Link to the article "Should I give a recorded statement"). You can even speak with a lawyer for free at the Lonati Law Firm in Dallas, GA if you need advice on handling your claim.
During the consultation, an attorney will review the facts of the case and discuss your injuries with you. They will explain how the personal injury claim process works and help you determine the next steps to take in your unique situation.
If you decide to hire an attorney after your consultation, they can help protect your rights when you speak to the insurance company and help you recover compensation.
Upon filing your claim, the insurance company will review the medical bills and damages you have incurred. Then, they may offer you a low settlement or attempt to deny your claim altogether. Your lawyer can then negotiate with them to ensure you receive all the compensation you need. This process may entail sending demand letters and waiting for responses, which can sometimes be time-consuming. If a fair settlement cannot be reached, your case may go to court, and the lawyers at Lonati Law Firm do not back down from a court case.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution for personal injury claims. Every claim has unique factors that can affect how long the process takes. For example, some cases only take a couple of months, while others may take a couple of years.
A lawyer won't be able to give you an exact length of time because some cases involve factors beyond your control. However, despite the unknown and unexpected delays, they will do everything in their power to achieve the best possible outcome for you.
What Steps Are Involved in Settling a Car Accident Case?
Here are the steps involved in a typical Georgia car accident case and how they affect settlement time.
As soon as possible after the accident, your car accident lawyer will meet with you to gather information for your injury claim. They will view witness statements, obtain police reports, collect medical records, and more to help compile evidence for your claim.
Your medical records are important evidence for your personal injury claim. The value of your claim cannot be determined until you are finished with your medical treatment. Unfortunately, some injuries take months to heal or require ongoing care. Your personal injury claim should include all of these expenses.
Filing Your Claim
As soon as your medical treatment has been completed to the fullest extent possible, your doctor can give you all the records about your care. However, it may take as long as 45-60 days to collect these records in some cases.
Once you have your medical records, you and your lawyer may file a personal injury claim with the at-fault party's insurance company. Your lawyer may then send a demand letter outlining all of the damages owed to you.
Negotiating with the Insurance Company
Upon receiving your demand letter, the insurance company must promptly respond to your claim. The insurance industry tends to drag its feet in response times because it hopes to encourage you to accept a low settlement offer. This is when an experienced lawyer will know if it is best to follow up with the insurance company.
There may also be a case where the insurance company responds to your claim quickly, but with an extremely low offer. They hope you will accept this offer out of desperation because they know you need money.
If you do not have a car accident lawyer already, you should contact one as soon as possible if this happens. A lawyer like the ones at Lonati Law Firm has been handling personal injury claims for years and can determine if the offer from the insurance company is appropriate for your injuries.
Filing a Lawsuit
When the insurance company doesn't budge on how much they will offer, your lawyer may suggest filing a lawsuit to get the damages you deserve. Preparation of a lawsuit can take one month or longer. After you file the lawsuit, the other party has 30 days to respond. Usually, insurance companies do not want to take the case to court and may offer a more reasonable settlement once a lawsuit is threatened. If they do not, then you can prepare for court with your lawyer.
Discovery and Preparing for Trial
During the discovery phase, both sides gather information by asking questions and requesting documents. This can take several months, depending on the particulars of the case.
It is common for cases to settle during the discovery period. However, if this does not happen, you will proceed to trial. Car accident trials in Georgia typically last around two days, but much time is spent preparing. You will need to attend the trial, and if everything goes well, a jury or judge will award you your compensation.
An Overview of the Factors Affecting Settlements
Many factors can affect the car accident settlement process and how long your claim takes to settle. These may include:
Injury Recovery Time
The final amount of your medical bills will not be determined until you have fully recovered from your injuries. Only after you have fully recovered will you be able to assess how much your medical expenses will be and what future medical care you might require. This way, you can also add in any lost income from time missed at work for medical care, etc. Once you have recovered from the accident and are sure of all the recoverable damages, a car accident lawyer could help you settle your claim.
Questioning of Liability
When a car accident occurs, proving negligence and establishing liability can be difficult. The principle of comparative negligence determines who is responsible for the damages when there is a sharing of fault. Having to determine liability could delay the settlement process.
Insurance Company in No Rush to Settle
As a general rule, the more significant the accident, the longer it will take for a lawsuit to be settled. During the investigation process, the insurance company will look for any small piece of information that they can use against you to devalue your claim. In addition, they may also take a long time to offer or pay out settlements.
If you have been involved in a car accident, you may benefit from the services of a car accident lawyer. Legal professionals are familiar with insurance companies tactics and can effectively communicate with them while maintaining a high level of productivity.
Insurance companies in Georgia have strict rules and deadlines to follow for filing personal injury claims. The insurance company must:
- Acknowledge the claim within fifteen days.
- Send proof of loss 15 days after filing a claim (with instructions for completing it).
- The Proof of Loss must be accepted or denied within fifteen days of receipt.
- Sixty days from the notice of the claim to make a final decision to accept or deny a claim. (This is the maximum amount of time the insurance company has to make a decision.)
Talk to a Car Accident Lawyer in Dallas, GA, for Free
Due to the fact that every case is unique, the amount of time it takes to settle a car accident claim depends on the details of the case. So, it is important that you get in touch with a car accident lawyer in Georgia as soon as possible after your accident. The sooner you get in touch with an attorney, the sooner they can begin working on your claim and put the process in motion.
If you are looking for a lawyer who can assist you after you've been injured in a car accident, Attorney Michael Lonati is here to help. Having helped thousands of car accident victims win what they deserve over the last three decades, we know what it takes to reach a successful settlement for victims of car accidents.
To schedule a free consultation with an attorney at Lonati Law Firm, call 678-363-3500 or fill out the quick online form. You can reach us 24 hours a day, seven days a week.