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How Long Do Settlements Take for Car Accidents?

Posted on April 1, 2021 in

If you suffer injuries in a car accident, you may have the right to pursue a claim against the at-fault driver. Oregon is a fault accident state, which means that drivers who are responsible for car accidents must pay for the damages of their victims.

Car Accident Settlement

Through an accident claim, you can recover compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages related to the collision. While the car accident settlement process could take a year or longer to conclude, it is important to secure the compensation you need to recover.

Factors That Lengthen a Car Accident Claim

In Oregon, you have three options to pursue compensation after a car accident. You can file a personal injury lawsuit in civil court, or you can file an insurance claim against the at-fault party. If you have certain insurance coverage, such as uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage, you can also file a claim under your own policy.

When filing a car accident claim, certain factors can lengthen the amount of time it takes for your case to reach a conclusion. Some of these factors may include the following.

  • Very severe injuries that require long-term care
  • Unclear or complex liability
  • The involvement of multiple parties
  • Difficulty gathering evidence
  • The need for very high amounts of compensation

 

The Insurance Claims Process

During the insurance process, the company will assign a representative, known as an adjuster, to your case. The adjuster will conduct an independent investigation into your accident and attempt to determine who was responsible for the collision. At the conclusion of this investigation, the adjuster will decide whether you should receive compensation and how much that compensation should be.

At this stage, you can choose whether to accept the settlement or to negotiate for a higher amount. If the adjuster denies your claim, you can appeal the decision or proceed to a lawsuit. You can also file the claim if the adjuster refuses to provide a sufficient settlement. Depending on the complexity of your case, it can take about a month or two for the insurance process to conclude.

 

The Personal Injury Lawsuit Process

If your case does not resolve in the insurance process, or if your attorney believes that filing a lawsuit is in your best interest, your claim will proceed to the litigation phase. Depending on the circumstances in your case, the personal injury process could take a year or longer to reach a conclusion. While filing your lawsuit, you will need to enter a series of important stages.

  • First, your attorney will wait until you reach maximum medical improvement to file your case. You may not know the full extent of your damages until you reach this stage.
  • Next, your attorney may make an initial demand and enter into negotiations with the at-fault driver and the insurance company. Your case may settle at this stage.
  • If your case does not settle, your lawyer will file the lawsuit and you will enter the discovery phase. Discovery may take between six months and one year to conclude.
  • After discovery and before trial, you may enter into another round of negotiations or mediation. If successful, your case may settle at this stage.
  • If you do not settle before trial, your case will enter the courtroom. A personal injury trial can take a day, a week, or longer, depending on the case complexity.

After a car accident, securing the compensation you need to recover is your top priority. During your case, you need an advocate on your side who can help you navigate these processes. Contact a Portland car accident lawyer as soon as possible after your accident to discuss your next steps.