How Long Will My Car Accident Settlement Take?
Some Quick Answers

Right after a car accident, things can feel very urgent. You may have to seek immediate medical care or rush to preserve some evidence. As the days pass after the accident, however, it can feel like urgency is far from a priority for the at-fault driver’s insurance company. You were hoping to resolve things quickly, but the insurance company is digging in. How long do car accident cases take to settle?

Well, it depends. It is important to note that there are actually two separate possible claims when a vehicle has been in an accident. The first is related to the property damage for the vehicle and any items in the vehicle that were damaged or destroyed as a result of the collision.

When there is only property damage following a wreck, matters can resolve quickly. The at-fault insurance company is responsible for what it costs to repair your vehicle or to compensate you (or the lien holder) for the fair market value of the vehicle. If your vehicle is repairable, you can go to a repair shop of your choice, so how long things take may largely depend on how busy your mechanic is.

But, if there are injuries to the driver and/or passengers, things can take a lot longer to resolve.

What Causes Cases With Injuries to Take Longer?

When it comes to car accident claims and how long it takes to settle them, you may have some “choice” in the matter. You may get an offer from the at-fault insurance company right off the bat. If time is of the essence, you may elect to accept that early offer and close your case. However, if your injuries are not yet healed, this quick offer is also very likely a lowball offer.

And once a settlement has been accepted and the claim released, it is not generally possible to seek additional compensation for your injuries or treatment – even if the injuries turn out to be much more severe or require a lot more treatment than you initially thought.

Whatever type of accident you were in, the key question is how severe your injuries are. You don’t want to settle your case before the full extent of your injuries is clear. How can an early offer account for all future costs that may arise in your treatment? In this way, when seeking maximum compensation for your harms and losses, your body’s recovery process plays a huge role in the length of time a car accident settlement can take.

Can I Speed Up the Settlement Process?

Even if you have completed treatment, some insurance companies may use tactics that delay settlement in the hopes of paying you less. For-profit insurance companies make more by paying out less, and the insurance adjusters that work for them are well aware of it.

Deny and delay tactics that some insurance companies may use include:

The long game. On the opposite end of the spectrum from the quick offer is when an insurance company slow walks negotiations or even flatly ignores you. If you’re out of work from your injury, you may soon find yourself in dire financial straits. After a long wait, the insurance company may swoop in with a lowball offer, one you may be desperate enough to take.

Getting close enough. Sometimes, an insurance company may offer you something close to what you had in mind, though a little short of what you need to cover your harms and losses. You may be stressed and exhausted from protracted negotiations and thinking of taking almost what your case is worth. But you have the right to be made completely whole and the at-fault insurance company shouldn’t pay less than they owe.

Blaming the victim. In North Carolina, if the insurance company can find evidence that you were even 1% at fault for the car accident, or failed to take evasive action that could have prevented the collision –even when their insured is to blame – they may be able to deny you compensation entirely. If they can pay you less or nothing, that may be pure profit for them, while you’re left with medical expenses.

So what may make the insurance company approach your case with some urgency? Having an experienced attorney in your corner can tell them you mean business. An attorney levels the playing field for you and can improve your chances of receiving a satisfactory settlement.

Before you agree to any settlement, request a free case evaluation from an attorney by calling 1-866-900-7078.

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About the Author

Jennie R. Glish practices personal injury law in North Carolina at the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin. She was honored on the “Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch” list for Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs by Best Lawyers in America in 2021 and 2022.a She additionally has experience working with the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. Jennie is a member of the North Carolina Bar Association, the 15B Judicial District Bar, and North Carolina Advocates for Justice.

aFor “Ones to Watch” standards of inclusion, visit