There is not only one answer to this question. If you are looking for an exact number, you are not likely to find one. A car accident case can last anywhere from a few months to multiple years. It is impossible to estimate exactly how long your car accident case will take, as this depends on various factors that can quickly change, as well as the circumstances of your case.
Why Do Car Accident Cases Take So Long?
On average, a car insurance settlement in Missouri can take three to six months or longer to complete. A personal injury trial typically takes at least one year, and can take much longer in some circumstances. Certain processes are necessary for successful car accident cases, although they can extend the claims timeline. These include:
- Reaching your point of maximum medical improvement. The point of maximum medical improvement is the estimated date by which your doctor believes you will progress no further in your recovery. It is important to wait until you reach this date to settle your car accident case, as this will ensure you demand enough compensation for your medical bills.
- Proving the other driver’s fault. Proving fault requires evidence that the defendant owed you a duty of care, violated this duty of care and caused your car accident. Proving fault may take weeks or months depending on the case, as well as factors such as the availability of crash reconstruction professionals and other experts.
- Investigating the facts of the crash. Car accident investigation can take a long time to complete, especially with a complicated case. Crash investigation can involve interviewing eyewitnesses, taking depositions, reviewing photographs, collecting video footage and more.
- Going back and forth with an insurance company. Sometimes, insurance providers do not accept evidence. This can delay the settlement process. In other cases, your lawyer will have to negotiate the amount of the settlement back and forth with the insurer for weeks or months before coming to an agreement.
If your car accident case cannot settle and has to go to court, it can take even longer to complete. It is important not to rush your car accident case, however, as this could mean jumping into a settlement agreement that does not adequately cover your losses. Once you accept a settlement, you typically cannot go back and renegotiate for a higher amount. This is why it is critical to take your time and work with a personal injury attorney.
Who Pays for a Car Accident Settlement?
The party who will pay for a car accident settlement depends on the laws in the state where the crash took place. Like most states, Missouri abides by a fault-based car insurance law. This means, in general, the liable party’s insurance company will pay for the car accident. The driver or party at fault for causing the crash will be financially responsible for damages.
If a victim’s damages are greater than the liable driver’s policy limit, however, the victim may have to seek additional financial compensation from his or her own auto insurance policy. This could also be the case if the victim was in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver and has this type of coverage on his or her insurance policy.
How Can a Car Accident Lawyer Help?
A lawyer can help you avoid common mistakes that may make your case take longer, such as missing information on your initial injury claim. Your lawyer can also ensure you do not rush into an unfair or inadequate settlement by taking over negotiations with an insurance company on your behalf.
Whether you are seeking a settlement from your own insurance provider or another driver’s insurance company in Missouri, consult with an attorney for assistance. A car accident attorney in Kansas City can expedite the settlement process as much as possible without compromising the integrity of your case.