Just about anybody who has recently been injured in a car wreck wants to know how long it will take to settle the insurance case. Bills may start piling up and accident victims require costly medical care and may be unable to work.
The answer is that there is no set answer for how long it takes a car accident case to settle. The amount of time it takes to settle really depends on the circumstances of each individual case. The fact that no hard and fast answer exists can be frustrating, especially when a quick settlement sounds ideal to pay outstanding bills.
However, insurance companies know this and that’s why they like to make a quick settlement offer even before you talk to an attorney. They know when an injured party is desperate and may take advantage by offering a low settlement offer. Rather than worry about getting a quick settlement, worry about getting a fair settlement for all the bills related to the wreck.
So I Shouldn’t Talk to the Other Party’s Insurance Company Without My Lawyer?
You may notify the other party’s attorney of the accident, but avoid providing a statement or too many details beyond the simple facts of the case:
- Who was involved
- Where it occurred
- The basics of what happened (other driver sideswiped you, rear-ended you, etc.)
Trying to deal with insurance adjusters on your own after a serious wreck can effectively ruin your case, so be sure you have an attorney to help you along the way.
Insurance companies know how to ask questions that prompt the answers they want to hear, answers they can use to their advantage in settlement negotiations. They may even try to misconstrue innocent statements like, “I’m okay,” in response to an inquiry about how you’re doing to imply you’re not really hurt, or not as hurt as you claim.
So when an insurance representative calls or visits, politely decline to provide a statement and call your attorney. Your lawyer will know how to handle this intrusion without jeopardizing the case he or she is building for you.
How Does Time Help Strengthen My Case?
Time allows your lawyer to build a strong case by discovering and examining evidence. It also allows your attorney to get a better idea of your medical needs after your doctor has had time to evaluate your condition.
Consider this: Indiana utilizes a modified comparative fault system with a 51 percent fault threshold. This means whatever percentage of fault you hold under 51 percent reduces your damages. If you are 30 percent at fault, your damages are reduced 30 percent. Yet if an injured party is 51 percent or more at fault, he or she can recover nothing.
Proving you are less than 51 percent at fault will likely require giving a lawyer time to:
- Objectively review the facts of the accident
- Recreate the accident scene (if needed)
- Talk to experts and eyewitnesses
A lawyer also needs time to assess bills and future costs related to your wreck. Otherwise, you may not receive a fair settlement if you don’t account for all of your damages.
If another driver injured you in an accident in Indiana, call Hensley Legal Group at (317) 472-33332 to set up a consultation about your car accident case.