Length of a Riverdale Car Accident Case
If you have been in a car accident, you are probably looking at unpaid medical bills and other mounting expenses and wondering when you will get paid. If you hope to get reasonable compensation for your injuries, it could take between a few months to a few years before your case reaches an appropriate resolution.
Do not allow the length of a Riverdale car accident case to deter you from seeking all the compensation you deserve. An auto injury attorney could review your legal options with you and help you choose the one that is best for your circumstances. It might even be possible to persuade medical professionals and other creditors to delay seeking payment until you have received an award of damages.
What Determines the Speed of the Settlement?
Every case is different, so it is impossible to predict how quickly a case might settle. In general, once an attorney receives proof of the claimant’s damages they can draft a demand letter to send to the at-fault party’s insurer. The Offical Code of Georgia Annotated §9-11-67.1 requires that the demand letter gives the insurer at least 30 days to respond.
Typically the insurer’s response will include an offer that is less than the amount sought in the demand letter. Negotiations begin, and in many cases the parties reach a settlement within a few weeks. However, several factors could delay the process.
Delay in Receiving Proof of Loss
Most knowledgeable accident attorneys will not send a demand letter until they have an accurate sense of the claimant’s damages. They acquire this information by reviewing the plaintiff’s medical records, calculating the value of missed time at work, and seeking expert opinions, if necessary, about the claimant’s long-term prognosis and ability to return to their job. Delays in seeking medical treatment or acquiring legal representation could slow this process.
Severe or Permanent Injuries
Sometimes claimants suffer permanent impairment due to their car accident injuries. In these cases, their medical expenses could be very high and might continue to be high in the future. If the injury renders the claimant permanently unable to work at their former employment, the at-fault driver’s insurer could be liable for a substantial payment.
When the potential liability is large, insurers investigate a claim thoroughly. They might consult medical experts, order accident reconstructions, and investigate a claimant’s activities to determine how the injury is impacting their life. All these activities could delay the settlement of a legitimate claim.
In Georgia the person who is at-fault in a vehicle accident is responsible to anyone who suffers losses resulting from it. Fault is not always easy to determine, and sometimes both drivers bear some responsibility.
Settlements could be more difficult to reach when the claimant’s conduct might have contributed to the wreck. Insurance adjusters are likely to raise this issue and will balk at paying full damages to a claimant who has some blame for the underlying incident.
Settlements Speedier than Lawsuits
If settlement negotiations do not produce an acceptable offer, a lawsuit might be necessary. Unfortunately, when a case goes to court, it could be several years before a successful claimant sees a dime.
A claimant must file a lawsuit within two years of the accident that caused the injury. A failure to file on time will defeat a claim, so it is critical to work with a knowledgeable attorney who could be sure to meet deadlines.
Even when a claimant is forced to file a lawsuit there is still a good chance that the parties might reach a settlement before the court hears the case. Many courts encourage plaintiffs to engage in mediation or pretrial conferences to resolve a case before a trial begins.
Work With an Experienced Car Accident Attorney
Although resolving a car accident claim can be complex, having a savvy attorney working with you could make the length of a Riverdale car accident case a lot less stressful. With an experienced negotiator working for you, it is also more likely that you will achieve a better result.
Your time to act is short, and the sooner you bring a professional advocate on board, the better. Call today to schedule a case review.