Why Is My Car Accident Settlement Taking So Long? (2024)

Sarah Edwards


Reviewed By Adam Ramirez, J.D.


Read in 4 mins

If you’ve been involved in a major car accident, then you are probably eager to reach a fair settlement and receive your compensation. However, if the case isn’t getting resolved as quickly as you’d like, you may find yourself asking, “Why is my car accident settlement taking so long?”

There aren’t any one-size-fits-all answers. Lots of factors affect the pace at which your settlement gets resolved, including the complexity of the case, whether the other party makes a fair offer, and the amount of money involved.

So first, you’ll need to learn more about the settlement process to better answer the question, “Why is my car accident settlement taking so long?”

Common Steps Involved in Processing a Settlement

Whether you are involved in a car, truck, or motorcycle accident, the basic steps of the settlement process will be relatively similar. First, you’ll need to file a claim. Starting a claim can be complicated, but a good attorney will take care of it on your behalf.

Next comes the negotiation process. Once all parties agree to the terms, you will be asked to sign a release form.

After you sign the release form, the payment processing period begins, which might take a few weeks. This is because money must be distributed to various parties, including your attorneys. You’ll receive the remaining balance after all other obligations have been settled.

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Factors That Can Impact How Long Your Settlement Takes

Before starting the claims process, it’s important to familiarize yourself with all of the different factors involved in reaching a settlement, which include:

How Severe Your Injuries Are

If you suffered major injuries, it may take time for your attorney to gather supporting documentation and tally up the costs of your condition. Ongoing care, such as physical therapy, must be accounted for when negotiating a settlement. Otherwise, you may not receive enough money to cover all of your medical expenses.

Depending on the circumstances, your attorney may need to bring in medical experts to explain your injuries and how they have negatively impacted your quality of life. The severity of your injuries has the biggest impact on your total claim size. Therefore, your legal team has to carefully count the costs of what you went through.

The Size of the Claim

Average car accident settlement amounts reached $35.5K in 2022. Insurance companies may reference these figures when negotiating a settlement. If you ask for much more than the typical amount, reaching an agreement can be harder.

Remember, insurance companies want to settle for the lowest amount possible. On the other hand, your representation wants to make sure you receive a fair amount.

The Type of Crash

Certain types of accidents may be more fiercely litigated. For instance, if you are involved in a commercial truck accident, the company that owns the vehicle might work harder to minimize its liability. Decreasing its liability can help reduce insurance costs for the business and protect the company’s reputation.

Who Was Involved

Crashes are rarely cut and dry. More complex crashes may involve three or more vehicles. If some of the vehicles also had passengers who filed claims, the entire process could become more complicated and drawn out.

If the circumstances surrounding your crash are complicated, you may also experience delays during the settlement process. For example, if one of the vehicles had a mechanical failure, the insurance company may use this angle to reduce the driver’s liability and shift blame to the manufacturer.

Why Is My Car Accident Settlement Taking So Long?

Given the number of factors at play, there may be several reasons why your car accident settlement is taking longer than you expected. Usually, the issue can’t be boiled down to a single delay but rather the complexity of the entire settlement process.

The first opportunity for delay comes during the evidence-collection process. After all, your lawyer has a lot on their plate: They have to identify all liability parties, obtain police reports, speak to witnesses, and gather medical records. This can take weeks to complete, but it’s a critical part of building a strong case and obtaining a fair settlement.

Then, there’s the lengthy negotiation process. Negotiating with insurers can take weeks or even months, and while it can be frustrating, it’s still usually faster than going to trial.

Even after your attorney has reached a fair settlement agreement, it can take several more weeks to actually receive your money. You’ll have to sign release forms to release the other party from further liability and wait for their lawyers to review and approve the documents. Even once all the logistics are taken care of, it can still take a few weeks for the insurer to dispense the funds.

As you can see, there are several ways your settlement can be delayed. That’s one reason why it’s vital to choose an experienced lawyer who can help minimize the risk of delays.

Want to Expedite Your Settlement Process? Connect With an Experienced Lawyer

The best way to minimize the risk of delays in your settlement process is to seek experienced legal representation from day one. ConsumerShield can connect you with a reputable lawyer near you. Fill out our contact form to speak to a seasoned car accident attorney in your area.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • After all parties have agreed to a settlement and signed the necessary documents, you could receive your funds in as little as two to three weeks. However, there are some instances where receiving your funds takes longer.

  • Most settlements take a few months to resolve. However, every case is unique, so you should speak with your attorney to find out how long your case will take.

  • No, you don’t have to agree to the other party’s terms. If the defendant refuses to offer fair compensation, you can take the case to trial.

  • Accepting a settlement will resolve your case sooner than taking it to trial. However, you should consult with your lawyer to make sure that the settlement agreement is fair and just.

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