how long for lawyer car accident case

by Delphia Hackett 6 min read

From start to finish, a car accident lawsuit will probably take at least one year to complete, assuming it goes to trial and there is no appeal. But just because a car accident lawsuit has begun, it doesn't mean it will go to completion.

Full Answer

How long does it take to get a lawyer after an accident?

A lawyer will ask for details of the accident, your injuries, and the treatment you received. Then, they will do the investigation in your name and gather evidence. Depending on how complex the case is, this can take several weeks.

How long does a car accident lawsuit take to resolve?

A big question on car accident claimants' minds is "How long will this take to resolve?" Unfortunately, the only reliable answer is "it depends." A car accident lawsuit follows a general timeline of steps, but the length of each step can vary significantly. It could take a few months or even several years.

Can a car accident case settle at any time?

Car accident cases can settle at any time, although most car accident cases settle after discovery and before trial. Step 5: The trial occurs. Step 6: Potential appeal. Step 1: How Long Will It Take to File and Serve the Complaint?

What does a car accident lawyer need to collect?

If a case is going to be settled fast without a lawsuit for top value, a car accident lawyer will need to obtain all of the medical records and bills for the client. At our law firm and many personal injury firms, it is the lawyer’s job to collect the medical bills and records.


How long does it take to negotiate a car accident claim?

On average, negotiations take around two weeks to three months, but this average may not apply to every case. Negotiation time can vary depending on the skill of the negotiator, the complexity of a case, and the evidence available in a case.

How long does it take to report an accident in California?

Per California law, auto accidents must be reported to the DMV within 10 days if anyone was injured or killed, or if the accident caused more than $1,000 in property damage. Reporting your accident is time sensitive, required by law, and will be relevant to your claim if California auto insurance is involved, so don’t neglect this step in the post-accident process.

How to get insurance to agree to a settlement?

To get an insurance company to agree to a high settlement amount, you need to prove that the amount is warranted based on the victim’s damages. This involves determining the full scope of economic and non-economic damages, putting a dollar amount to these damages, and assembling proof that the damages occurred and that the dollar amount accurately reflects the damages.

What to do after an accident?

Immediately following an accident, there are two important things to do: seek medical care and document the scene. The first, seeking medical treatment, is the most important of all, since you need to take care of your health above all else. From a legal perspective, seeking medical treatment right away is also vital because medical records provide an official documentation of your injuries. Having this documentation can be very important for settling a personal injury claim swiftly and for an amount that’s appropriate. That’s why you should always seek medical care after being injured in an accident. This is true even when you think your injuries aren’t particularly severe, since injuries that seem minor right after an accident can end up being extremely serious at a later date.

Do car accidents go to trial?

Car accident cases usually resolve with settlements, but sometimes a trial is required for a victim to receive fair and appropriate compensation for their losses. Whether or not an accident case goes to trial has the biggest impact on the time it takes to close it. Generally, settling is always the easier and faster option, and that’s why most cases end in settlements. However, in some cases, an insurance company may refuse to negotiate in good faith. In such instances, a victim may need to go to trial to receive appropriate compensation for their damages. So, while litigation takes longer than settling, filing a personal injury lawsuit is sometimes the best option for an injury victim.

What happens when a car accident is not well documented?

Another scenario can arise when the car accident case is not very well-documented. The claims adjuster may lack adequate information to settle the case, such as medical reports regarding the injuries the victim suffered, a police report regarding the accident or evidence pertaining to liability.

Why don't personal injury attorneys settle?

While many personal injury attorneys settle the majority of cases without going to trial, there may be valid reasons why your own attorney may not want to settle yet and has not raised the issue with the insurance company. For example, if you are still undergoing medical treatment, your attorney may want to wait until all of your bills are in and until it is known whether you will require ongoing medical treatment. Additionally, your attorney may want to wait to see if your injury will impact your career so that he or she can request additional damages for this reason.

Why does a settlement take longer?

If a claims adjuster has a particularly large volume of claims to work through , it is likely that a settlement offer may take longer for the accident victim to receive. Another factor that can impact the forthrightness of a settlement is the internal claims process that the insurance company uses.

What is the most contentious matter in a car accident?

One of the most contentious matters involved in a car accident case is the level of damages requested in the claim. If the measure of damages is relatively low, the insurance company may decide to quickly dispose of the case and a person may have the case settled within a matter of a few months. If the insurance company does not believe ...

Do insurance companies have their own lawyers?

Some large carriers may have a conservative philosophy regarding settlements and may offer lower settlements than other carriers. Many of these types of insurance companies have their own legal firm or attorney on retainer and factor in the potential cost of litigation into their overall business plan.

Car Accident Lawsuit Process

The process of filing a car accident claim includes the following steps:

Settlement vs Lawsuit

A settlement is an agreement between the injury victims and the at-fault party that happens outside of the courtroom. A settlement can happen anytime before or during the trial. Most injury claims in the US are settled.

Factors That Affect Car Accident Settlement

How long a vehicular accident takes to settle depends on the following factors:


How long it takes to get paid after a car accident settlement depends on many factors. However, in general, you should receive a check within four to six weeks after reaching a settlement.

Hire a Trustworthy Lawyer

Personal injury cases may be very complicated, and if you sustain injuries in a car incident, it is essential to hire a law firm with years of experience you can trust.

10 Factors that Impact How Long It Takes to Obtain a Car Accident Settlement

So, how long does a car accident settlement take with a lawyer? The short answer is, “It depends.” In fact, here are 10 factors that can all impact how long it takes to obtain a car accident settlement:

Why Is My Car Accident Settlement Taking So Long?

If you were injured in a car accident and you filed an insurance claim without hiring a lawyer, you might be wondering, “Why is my car accident settlement taking so long?” The short answer is: Because you have let the insurance companies take control of the process.

Should You Hire a Lawyer to Pursue a Car Accident Settlement?

Of course a settlement is never guaranteed, and no lawyer can ensure that he or she will be able to convince the insurance companies to settle for just compensation. But, hiring a lawyer gives you the best chance to obtain a fair settlement, and you have no reason not to put an experienced lawyer on your side.

How long does it take for an insurance company to respond to a claim?

Most injury claims should not take more than three weeks. But it often does.

What happens when an attorney files a lawsuit?

When our attorneys file a lawsuit, it often results in a later offer that is many times more than the pre-suit settlement offer. The muscle of a lawsuit puts fear into insurance companies. This muscle often gets them to pay far more settlement money than they would have considered before suit was filed.

Can an accident lawyer do medical records?

So it may be there is nothing your accident lawyer can do because the attorneys is waiting on medical records or waiting for the insurance company to respond. But there is no question that the delay is often the result of a plaintiff's lawyer who is not staying on top of the case.

Do car accident lawyers collect medical bills?

If a case is going to be settled fast without a lawsuit for top value, a car accident lawyer will need to obtain all of the medical records and bills for the client. At our law firm and many personal injury firms, it is the lawyer’s job to collect the medical bills and records. Medical records are essential.

Do insurance companies have to respond to a bodily injury letter?

In most states, there is no rule requiring the insurance company to respond at all.

Can an accident lawyer ask a doctor to give an estimate of the cost of surgery?

Alternatively, if future surgery or other medical procedures have not yet been performed, an accident lawyer can ask a doctor to give an estimate of what the costs of the future surgery/procedure will cost. This is often the biggest reason there is a delay in settling a serious injury claim.

Do you have to file a lawsuit for serious injury?

But in the average serious injury case, you need to file a lawsuit to maximize the value of your case. You do not have to file a lawsuit. Sometimes lawyers do not understand the client's need to get their money quickly. But, if you do settle early, you may be leaving money on the table.


Car Accident Claim Timeline

Other Factors That Affect Car Accident Settlement timelines

  • Severity of Injury
    The severity of a victim’s injuries can impact how long it takes to settle their case. Typically, accidents involving more severe injuriesinvolve larger damages. Getting an insurance company to agree that a large settlement is fair and appropriate can take diligence, research, patience, and p…
  • The Complexity of Liability
    So many things can complicate liability in a car accident case, which will in turn affect how long it takes to settle the case. The number of involved parties affects the complexity of liability, since you need to determine how at fault (or not at fault) more parties are. The types of parties involve…
See more on

Hire A Car Accident Lawyer in Los Angeles, California

  • If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident due to the negligent, reckless, or malicious actions of another party, contact LA Lawyers Grouptoday to receive a free case evaluation. Our experienced personal injury attorneys are dedicated to fighting for the rights of car accident victims across Southern California. Our team understands the diligence and attention to detail th…
See more on