Auto Accident Settlement Timeline
First, if you would like to speak with someone about an auto accident settlement timeline, we are here to help. Simply call 704.749.7747 or click HERE to request a call from us today. A Charlotte personal injury lawyer will reach out to you immediately.
If you have been in an auto accident and you are wondering about the timeline for reaching a settlement, this article helps to explain the steps required to do so. While every accident and every settlement is unique, we hope this helps your understanding of what the road ahead looks like.
Setting The Stage For A Successful Auto Accident Settlement
Reaching a personal injury settlement is the last thing on your mind when you are in a car accident. However, the steps you take early on after your accident will either serve to help you or hurt you down the road. The two most important elements to consider at the outset are:
- Obtaining a police report
- Getting medical treatment as quickly as possible
The police report serves as evidence of the accident, captures witness information, and is the first record of the accident itself. Second, the police report contains witness information which can be extremely valuable for proving your case. Lastly, the police report will include the impressions of the attending officer. This will include the officer’s interpretation of what happened, and an assessment of facts including but not limited to: weather, speed of the vehicles, condition of each driver, etc.
Continuing Treatment As Necessary
One mistake so many auto accident victims make is failing to continue their treatment. In the world of personal injury, ‘gaps’ in treatment serve to hurt your case. While you may believe you have a perfectly good reason for the gap in treatment, the insurance adjuster on the other side will use it against you. First, it may be used to establish you were no longer in pain. Second, the adjuster may infer that you suffered a new and different injury during the gap in treatment and therefore, the later treatment should not be included for consideration in your auto accident settlement.
Obtaining Legal Representation Early
Once you begin making statements to insurance adjusters, you create a record of your testimony. Even if you slightly vary your story or your memory of the events, it will be used to establish you are not a credible witness. Insurance adjusters record every phone call you have with them. Additionally, North Carolina is a One Party state, meaning the insurance adjuster does not need your permission to record a call, nor do they need to inform you that a call is being recorded.
By obtaining legal counsel early on in the process, you will receive the guidance you need in order to avoid the common pitfalls of interacting with insurance adjusters as your case proceeds toward settlement.
Wrapping Up Medical Treatment
Once your treatment is completed, the law firm can begin to collect medical records and medical billing. Medical providers are notoriously slow in delivering records. You can expect it to take roughly 45-60 days for a provider to deliver records and bills to the attorney office.
Our office requests all records in electronic format. This saves you costs and ultimately means the records and bills arrive in our office more quickly. After the bills and records arrive in our office, we can begin building your demand package, which will be submitted to the adjuster for consideration. As part of this process, you will review the package with us, and we will agree on a demand amount for settlement.
Negotiating Toward Settlement
The insurance company will take some time to review the demand package. Our office sets calendar reminders to push this process forward. Once we have an initial offer from the insurance company, we can begin negotiating in earnest. If we reach a settlement offer that you are interested in accepting—do not worry, we help you make this decision—then we can take steps toward finalizing your settlement. The negotiation portion of the auto accident settlement timeline has completed.
Medical Billing Concerns
Many auto accident settlements result in medical providers being paid in full. However, you will be given a few options regarding your medical bills outstanding from the accident. Our firm can help negotiate some of your medical bills if necessary, in order to make the settlement work for you.
Receiving A Check
Once the settlement offer is accepted and medical bills are negotiated, we will provide you with a settlement statement showing you every incoming dollar (the settlement funds) and every outgoing dollar. This of course includes and shows you the amount you will be receiving. All personal injury settlements are tax free, as they represent payment for injuries, not income.
What If I Do not Agree With The Settlement?
We can always discuss the filing of a lawsuit if the settlement amount is not a fair settlement amount. Your best interests are most important. We will discuss with you the likelihood of success at trial, the anticipated cost of trial, and what we believe a jury might award you at trial.
If you choose to file a lawsuit, the timeline admittedly begins anew, and is governed by the trial calendar which we will explain to you in the event we are moving forward with litigation.
Speak With A Charlotte Personal Injury Lawyer Today
We encourage you to seek legal representation for your auto accident. This is true whether you choose our firm or another law firm. We are happy to discuss your auto accident settlement timeline, whether you have a case and what your case may be worth. You can call 704.749.7747 or click HERE to request a call from a lawyer today. We know you have choices. We hope you choose Layton Law.