When involved in an auto accident that may result in an injury claim, we want you to be a proactive, informed consumer and understand the process involved. How long a car accident settlement takes after an auto accident is one of the most difficult questions we are asked. Every case truly is different. Auto accident cases can vary greatly in how long until resolution, either by settlement or jury trial, depending on many factors unique to each case.
Here are 5 important things you should know about an auto accident settlement in Florida:
- The main factor that impacts the time between injury and settlement is the extent of your injuries. The last thing we want to do is to resolve your case while you are still receiving medical treatment, without a good understanding of the extent of your injuries and what your future medical condition and medical expenses will be. With that being said, typically the average auto accident claim is settled, without having to file a lawsuit, 6 to 12 months after the accident. Once your treating physician is of the opinion that your injuries have improved as much as they ever will, (or in other words, that you are as good as you are ever going to get) which is usually 4 to 6 months after the accident, we then make a demand for settlement to the insurance company for the at-fault driver. We negotiate the highest possible settlement to which the law entitles you.
- Insurance companies are not in the business of paying out claims. When presented with your auto accident claim, an insurance adjuster may engage in any number of outrageous delay tactics to prolong a settlement of your claim. Because auto accident attorney Mike Hancock used to defend claims for the auto insurance companies, he knows how to protect our clients against these delay tactics, and how to obtain the quickest and best results for our clients.
- In Florida, you have burden to prove your injuries. It can seem unfair that when you have been injured due to someone else’s negligence, that you are the one who has to carry the burden of proving your injuries. However, in very simplistic terms, when pursuing an auto accident case, you have the burden to prove two things: (1) negligence that (2) caused your injuries. This is a two-pronged test, and lacking either, your case will not succeed. As to proving your injuries, the way you carry this burden is through photographs and video of your injuries, your medical records, including x-rays and MRI scans, the medical expenses incurred, and if at trial, through the testimony of your treating physicians.
- You’re the boss. The settlement of the case relies on you. You are the only person who can decide to settle your case or proceed to jury trial. Throughout the process, your attorney can advise and help you to understand the different benefits of settling your case or proceeding to trial. We have some clients who wish to avoid the litigation costs and uncertainties of a jury trial and we have other clients who cherish and look forward to their “day in court.” With over 26 years of courtroom experience, auto accident attorney Mike Hancock won’t hesitate to recommend to our clients to not accept an unreasonably low settlement offer from an insurance company and proceed to trial.
- Consider things that you can do to help your car accident attorney move your case timely toward settlement: It is essential that you follow all of your doctor’s recommendations for medical treatment and follow-up care. If you do not complete your medical treatment, you give the insurance company a very strong argument that your injuries are not as bad as you claim because if they were, you would be going to the doctor and following his/her recommendations. And if your case were to go before a jury trial, juries are of the same opinion, and you may lose your trial.
Working with a Car Accident Attorney
Keep your car accident attorney informed of all your doctor appointments and medical treatment so that we can obtain the records and bills. At Hancock Injury Attorneys, we create spreadsheets and medical chronologies for all our clients, updating as required, to keep up with their medical treatment as their care progresses.
Remember that all your medical records will be produced to the insurance company. Sometimes even those medical records dated prior to your auto accident. Be sure to let your doctor know about all of your medical complaints. The insurance companies will carefully review your medical records in determining the value of your case.
Knowing the different factors that go into how each auto accident case is settled will help you understand the process better and have a better idea of how long until your case is settled.
Every car accident is different. If you have been injured in an auto accident and not sure what to expect, please call us 813-915-1110 for your free, no obligation telephone conversation with attorney Mike Hancock or by email. Our phones are answered 24/7. You can also contact us by clicking here.