Timeframe for Car Accident Payouts – Chicago Auto Accident Attorney
The time frame for your car accident payout will depend greatly on who and what caused the accident, the type and seriousness of your injuries and damages, and how the responsible insurance company responds.
Here are some of the phases of your car accident resolution process and estimates on how long they may take.
Before Your Claim: Assessing Your Injuries
Before you make a claim to the responsible insurance company, you want to make sure you understand the severity of your injuries. In some cases, this is fairly straightforward. A broken bone can generally be expected to heal according to experience, with a certain amount of time off work, rehabilitation, and other expenses.
Other injuries may take longer to assess. Back injuries, brain injuries, and joint injuries can all have unexpected consequences, resulting in more medical bills, lost wages, and ongoing disability. In these cases, it might be better to wait until you have a better sense of your injury before filing a claim, and certainly you should not take a settlement offer until you know the full extent of your injuries.
Total time: 3 months to ~1 year
Your Initial Claim
Once you make your initial claim, you have to wait until the insurance company assesses that claim and makes a decision in your case. In general, this takes one or two months. Rarely, an insurance company may pay what you requested. More likely, the insurance company will make a counter offer and we will have to negotiate.
Total time: 3 months to 14 months
Once the responsible insurance company has the relevant evidence (police reports, medical records, bills, wage loss information…), negotiating your claim can be a relatively quick process, especially if you have an attorney. The insurance company will understand the potential costs that going to trial will lead to and may want to resolve the case quickly. Other times, especially if your injuries are unusual in their type or severity, the insurance company will want to stretch out the negotiations to try to make you give in. They may even do things like hiring an investigator to collect evidence that you are not as seriously injured as you claim.
The main limitation on the negotiation time frame is that we have to file a lawsuit within 2 years of your accident because of the Illinois Statute of Limitations. This won’t necessarily end the negotiations, but it will change them.
Total time: 1 to 6 months after the responsible insurance company has ALL the evidence
If negotiations fail to resolve your case and we have to go to trial, there will be additional delay necessary for gathering evidence by both sides and preparing your case. During this time, we will likely continue negotiations and hopefully achieve a settlement, but being prepared to go to trial is essential to getting you the best compensation in your case.
Total time: 1 year to >3 years
At Willens & Baez, we understand that you are concerned about getting your compensation in a timely manner, and in many cases it’s worth it to take a lower settlement quicker. But in other cases, if you are going to be facing lifelong full or partial disability, ongoing pain, and more long-term effects, taking a quick settlement can be a disaster. We will help you understand your options so you can make the right decision, but the decision is ultimately yours to make.