What Is the Timeline for a Car Accident Settlement in Missouri?

Getting into a car accident is Missouri is stressful enough without also having to deal with the civil court process. With the right Kansas City personal injury lawyer, however, filing a claim for your car accident can be incredibly rewarding. You may be able to receive compensation for your past and current medical bills, pain and suffering, property damage, and other expenses. Although each car accident case in MO is different, they all follow the same general timeline. If you’re curious about how long a car accident settlement may take, here’s a brief outline of what to expect.

Month One

Someone injured in a personal injury accident has five years after the date of the injury to file a claim in Missouri. This is a fairly generous statute of limitations compared to many other states. Despite having five years to file, it’s always wise to bring your claim as soon as possible after the discovery of an injury or expensive property damage. The sooner you file your claim, the faster you may receive compensation. Filing your claim early can help speed up the process with more immediate access to medical records and information about the accident.

In the first few days after your accident, seek medical treatment for any injuries. Even if you don’t believe you suffered an injury in the crash, see a doctor to be sure. Many injuries don’t show symptoms right away, such as brain and spinal cord injuries. Keep all medical records of your doctor or hospital visit, and take photos of your injuries if possible. Once you’ve received medical treatment and are on the road to recovery, contact a personal injury attorney.

After your initial consultation, you will negotiate lawyer’s fees if the attorney decides to offer you a retainer. An attorney will help you identify the defendant(s) of your case, such as another driver, vehicle part manufacturer, city road crew maintenance person, or another party. Your attorney will first try to reach a satisfactory settlement with the defendant’s insurance company, avoiding trial altogether. A skilled personal injury attorney can often negotiate a settlement with insurers relatively quickly.

Months Two and Beyond

If you cannot reach a satisfactory settlement during negotiations with an insurance company, your attorney will file a personal injury claim with the Missouri civil courts on your behalf. There is no hard and fast rule for how long a personal injury lawsuit will last. However, a competent attorney can significantly cut down on the timeframe through skilled representation and negotiations with the insurance company.

In many car accident cases, insurance companies will beat around the bush and purposefully extend the timeline for a settlement. This is because insurers make more money the longer they can drag out delivering a settlement. When a personal injury attorney gets involved, the insurance company speeds things up to avoid going to court – a process that’s costly for the company and typically ends in a higher settlement amount for the accident victim. Getting a Kansas City car accident attorney involved is the best way to slash through wasted time and receive your settlement fast.

Getting Your Settlement After a Judgment

The time period a plaintiff can expect payment of a settlement will depend on whether the settlement arose from an agreement or a court order. A pre-trial settlement agreement typically results in payment within 20 to 30 days. Your agreement will include an acceptable time period in which the insurance company must pay you. If the court awards you a settlement after a personal injury trial, the defendant will typically release payment within 30 to 60 days after the final judgment. If the defendant fails to pay your settlement on time, he or she may face penalties, interest charges, and wage garnishment.