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How long does it take to settle a car accident case in Illinois?

On Behalf of | Apr 25, 2024 | Car Accidents, Personal Injury

Settling a car accident claim is a process that varies in length depending on several factors. Typically, if the accident involves clear liability and moderate injuries, the parties can reach injury settlements within six to nine months after medical treatment concludes. However, the complexity of injuries, the presence of commercial vehicles and their insurance companies, and the accident’s magnitude can extend this timeline.

Car Accident Settlement Timeline In Illinois

The settlement process for vehicle accidents, whether involving cars, trucks, or motorcycles, generally follows a structured timeline. The process is a fluid one where different elements can take place at the same time:

  • Injury and treatment: It is essential to seek medical treatment when injured. Treatment improves the likelihood of recovery and documents the scope of the injuries. Treatment can last a few weeks or a year or more.
  • Filing the claim: The injured party files a compensation claim with the insurance company that carries the injured’s policy and/or the policy of the party responsible for the injuries. The initial process begins immediately, but the claim may need updates.
  • Investigation: Both parties investigate the accident to determine liability and assess damages. It generally includes crash site investigation by a specialist, injury and property damage documentation, interviews of eyewitnesses and gathering other applicable information. It can last between one and eight weeks.
  • Medical treatment: The injured party receives necessary medical care, varying in duration.
  • Demand and negotiation: Once evidence is collected and reviewed, the injured party’s lawyer sends a demand letter to the insurance company, initiating negotiations for a settlement. The insurance adjuster will review documentation, bills and damages and offer a settlement. This process can last 30 to 60 days or more.
  • Settlement agreement: If the parties reach an agreement, they prepare legal documents that outline the settlement’s terms. A check is issued and put in escrow. This process can take seven to 14 days.
  • Disbursement: The check clears, and funds are distributed to the injured party, attorneys, and lien holders, such as medical providers. This process can take seven to 14 days.

There is no way of knowing what twists and turns a case might take, so it is vital to be persistent and patient. These traits will help produce the best possible outcome.

Factors that impact the settlement process

Several factors contribute to the case’s “twists and turns” and can affect the time it takes to resolve a personal injury claim:

  • Liability: Establishing fault can be quick with clear evidence or prolonged if the accident circumstances are complex.
  • Severity of injuries: More serious injuries typically result in longer settlement times due to extended medical treatment.
  • Accident size: Larger or more complex accidents usually take longer to settle, especially those involving commercial vehicles.
  • Jurisdiction: The location of the accident can influence the duration of the claim process.
  • Liens: Negotiations with medical providers and insurance companies over liens can add time to the settlement process.
  • Lawsuit vs. claim: Filing a lawsuit as opposed to settling a claim out of court can significantly lengthen the timeline.

Attorneys provide a range of services

An experienced personal injury lawyer can offer insight into the likely length of the case based on details of the case. Still, unexpected delays happen, often prolonging a settlement process. Hiring a personal injury lawyer to handle the case enables the injured client to focus on their recovery while the lawyer handles the paperwork and other details. Aside from general advocacy, they provide several useful services:

  • Insurance company interactions: A lawyer can handle communications with insurance companies, preventing them from directly contacting the injured party and pressuring them with a low-ball offer.
  • Case investigation: Attorneys can collect evidence and documentation and work with expert witnesses to evaluate the details of the crash.
  • Assessing the injury’s impact: Experienced Lawyers are skilled at revealing the full extent of the injuries and putting a value on the loss of income, property damage, related medical expenses and the pain and suffering endured by victims and family members.
  • Filing a lawsuit: Attorneys often take cases to court because the insurance companies or parties responsible for the injuries and damage are unwilling to pay the appropriate compensation.

Learn more about your case today

We offer free initial consultations to discuss the details of your injuries and the accident. If you hire our firm, we only charge a legal fee if we win your case.