It is difficult to project how long it takes to get compensation for lost income from a car accident. Cases generally take weeks or months to complete, though some cases may take longer. Several factors influence how long a car accident case takes, and an attorney can provide a clearer projection for your case.
Many car accident victims hire a lawyer, in part because they want to resolve their case as soon as possible. A car accident lawyer in Garden City will seek compensation for lost income and other damages and waste no time seeking the settlement you deserve.
Factors That Can Influence the Timeline for Your Car Accident Case
This intersection, notorious for its heavy traffic flow, witnesses many accidents. The convergence of vehicles from different directions and pedestrian activity adds to the complexity. Residents and authorities have called for enhanced safety measures to address the persistent issues at this juncture.
Each car accident case is different, so it is difficult to project how long it will take to recover lost income from your accident. If a lawyer were to provide a timeline for your case, they would consider several factors, including:
The Question of Fault for the Car Accident
Some cases begin with a disagreement. If parties cannot agree on who is at fault for the accident, settlement negotiations may begin at a roadblock.
An attorney may will work to establish who is at fault for your accident with:
- Eyewitness accounts of the accident
- Video footage of the accident, which your lawyer may obtain from nearby business owners, municipal officials, or other sources
- Reconstructing the accident with help from experts
- Photographing the accident scene and damage to vehicles
Your attorney will secure all available evidence to prove who caused your car accident.
The Nature of Your Injuries (and Your Recovery Timeline)
The National Safety Council (NSC) explains that the severity of your injuries will dramatically affect the amount of compensation you deserve.
Serious injuries may lengthen your case’s timeline because:
- If you are requesting a large sum of money to cover injury-related damages, liable parties may fight harder against paying you fairly
- Your lawyer may need to allow your injuries to heal before they can accurately calculate your damages (including healthcare costs)
Some car accident victims suffer the effects of their injuries for more than one year after their collision. Your attorney will evaluate your medical situation, identify your damages, and seek compensation as soon as possible.
The Total Cost of Your Accident-Related Damages
You and the defendant(s) must reach a financial agreement to resolve your car accident case. If you are seeking a large sum, liable parties may be more hesitant to pay.
When you deserve a large amount of compensation after a car accident, you may:
- Face bad-faith tactics from liable parties as they try to withhold the compensation you deserve
- Face contentious settlement negotiations as liable parties continue to try and avoid paying you fairly
- Have to go to trial in pursuit of the financial recovery you are entitled to
Liable parties may fight against paying you even if your settlement requests are relatively modest. Whenever a liable party resists paying the money they owe, cases take longer.
Whether Liable Parties Negotiate in Good Faith (or Whether They Fight)
In the most efficient cases, liable parties accept fault, recognize their victims’ damages, and agree to pay. However, liable parties do not always act in good faith.
Some bad faith tactics you may face include:
- Untrue allegations that you caused the car accident
- Disagreements about the damages you’ve suffered because of the accident
- Allegations that you are requesting more compensation than you deserve
- Unnecessary delays from liable parties
An Attorney will press liable parties to handle your case efficiently and in good faith.
Whether Your Case Goes to Court
Most car accident cases settle. One reason settlements are so common is that settling is a quicker resolution than going to trial.
While going to trial may be in your best interests, a trial can extend the timeline of your car accident case. You and your lawyer will discuss the possibility (and ramifications) of trial if it becomes relevant to your case.
How Hiring a Car Accident Lawyer Can Prevent Delays on Your Side of the Case
Though there are many benefits in hiring a car accident lawyer, their ability to prevent delays is an important one. Your attorney may work to avoid any potential delays by:
Calling Out Bad-Faith Tactics
An experienced car accident lawyer will immediately recognize any bad-faith tactics from insurers or other liable parties. If these tactics arise, your attorney will let the liable party know they have no tolerance for bad-faith negotiations.
Keeping Pressure on Insurers and Other Liable Parties
Your attorney may apply pressure on the insurers of liable parties by:
- Responding promptly to all insurance communications
- Frequently contacting adjusters to monitor their progress
- Speaking honestly to adjusters when your lawyer senses unnecessary delays
- Insisting on firm dates and deadlines for case-related milestones, like settlement negotiations
Liable parties and their insurers may have many reasons to delay. For instance, an insurance company may hope the lawsuit filing deadline expires. If this happens, you may lose critical leverage during settlement negotiations.
Car accident attorneys know their clients need compensation for lost income (and other damages) as soon as possible. Your attorney will ensure that all parties in your case move forward reasonably fast.
Handling Your Side of the Case with Urgency and Professionalism
Your attorney is primarily responsible for your side of the case.
The surest way for your lawyer to avoid delays is to:
- Draft and file your claim as quickly as possible
- Obtain all necessary information from you
- Ensure that all paperwork is complete and accurate (to avoid clerical delays)
- Investigate and document the car accident as quickly as possible
- Be prepared for settlement negotiations
Law firms have systems to ensure the prompt handling of car accident cases. For instance, several paralegals may complete case-related paperwork while your lawyer investigates the accident. With an entire team dedicated to your case, you should expect to avoid unnecessary delays.
Relying on Experts
Experts can contribute to a strong case. When your lawyer presents a strong case, liable parties may be more willing to settle rather than risk losing a large sum of money in court.
Experts may help your case by:
- Testifying about who is at fault for the car accident
- Testifying about the nature and significance of your damages
- Providing diagnoses and treatment plans for your injuries
- Helping your lawyer value the cost of your accident-related damages
By relying on all available resources (including experts), your lawyer will move your case forward as efficiently as possible.
Getting to Settlement Negotiations as Quickly as Possible
Once your attorney has your side of the case prepared, they will insist that liable parties conduct settlement negotiations.
Settlement negotiations may require your lawyer to:
- Explain their calculation of your accident-related damages
- Present documentation of your injuries, medical treatment, lost income, and other damages
- Present evidence of who caused the car accident (which can determine who is financially liable for your damages)
Seek a law firm with a long record of earning settlements. This record indicates that the firm employs capable lawyers who are savvy negotiators.
If your layer can do anything else to move your case forward, they will do it.
Damages You Should Seek Compensation for (in Addition to Lost Wages)
Your accident-related damages will determine how much compensation you are entitled to. While each car accident causes different types of harm to different victims, some common types of damages are:
Your lawyer will seek compensation for all of your accident-related medical bills, including those related to:
- Emergency transportation
- Hospital services
- Doctors appointments
- Rehabilitation services
- Imaging services
Your car accident lawyer will work alongside your doctors to identify your healthcare needs, value the cost of that care, and project any future medical services you will need. Particularly if you suffer a disabling injury, the cost of your care can cost far more than you can afford.
Lost Income and Diminished Earning Power
Car accident victims often miss work after their collision, leading to:
- Lost income
- Diminished earning power
- Lost opportunity to earn performance bonuses
- Lost opportunities to earn (or make progress toward) promotions
- Loss of fulfillment one receives from their work
- Lost benefits
Many Americans live paycheck to paycheck, meaning a car accident can be financially devastating. A car accident lawyer will do everything possible to ensure you remain financially stable despite losing your income and suffering other damages.
Pain and Suffering
Motor vehicle accidents usually cause victims pain and suffering, which can include:
- Physical pain, including both immediate and chronic pain
- Discomfort (which may come from injuries that cause numbness or other abnormal sensations)
- Emotional distress
- Psychological distress
- Conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression
- Sleep loss
- Lost quality of life
Law firms often work with mental health professionals to account for their client’s pain and suffering. Though these damages do not always have a clear financial cost, lawyers have multiple ways of calculating their values.
If you seek treatment like counseling or medication, your lawyer will include the cost of treatment in your case.
You likely need repairs or total replacement if your vehicle sustained damage in the car accident. Your attorney will consult automotive repair professionals to value the cost.
If you need temporary transportation while your vehicle is not usable, your attorney will include the cost of a rental car, ridesharing, or other temporary transportation in your case.
You Can Expect a Lawyer to Handle Your Entire Case
Car accident victims often hire lawyers because they are not equipped to handle insurance claims or lawsuits.
Obstacles to handling your own claim may include:
- Your psychological distress, which may leave you mentally exhausted
- Your physical recovery, which may require your complete effort and attention
- Your lack of familiarity with insurance claims, settlement negotiations, and lawsuits
Your car accident lawyer will support your case in many ways, including:
Securing Evidence from Your Car Accident
Important evidence in a car accident case may include:
- Video footage showing the accident
- Eyewitness accounts of the accident or circumstances related to the accident (such as a motorist driving erratically)
- A law enforcement officer’s report
- An expert’s reconstruction of the collision
Your attorney and their investigators will secure evidence as soon as possible.
Documenting Your Damages
Your lawyer will obtain any medical records, expert testimony, employment records, and other documentation proving your damages.
Representing You in Settlement Negotiations
Your attorney should be an accomplished negotiator. They will meet with liable parties in pursuit of a fair settlement.
Going to Trial, if Necessary
If necessary, your lawyer will take your case to court. Though trials are less common than settlements, your lawyer should prepare your case for the possibility of court.
A lawyer and their team will manage every detail of your case, from big-picture strategy to the most minute detail of specific paperwork. You can focus on other priorities (like recovery) while your lawyer fights for the compensation you deserve.
Hire a Car Accident Lawyer as Soon as Possible
Your car accident case likely has a deadline, so do not wait to find a lawyer to represent you. Once you hire your attorney, you can focus on recovery while your legal team fights for your financial recovery. Never wait to set up your free consultation with an experienced lawyer regarding your rights and options.