How Long Does It Take to Get Compensation After a Car Accident?

Posted in: Car Accidents

There’s no set timeline in car accident cases. Many issues could speed up or slow down your compensation. Although a car crash can cause serious financial problems, being too eager to settle can result in getting far less than your case is worth.

What You Need to Know Before Negotiating a Settlement

We won’t demand payment from the insurance company until we investigate your case and have a solid understanding of your injuries and what caused the accident. The better prepared we are, the higher the potential for compensation for your injuries.

  • We investigate your accident to determine fault and to secure evidence of this liability. The simpler the accident, the faster we have our answers. Accidents that involve several cars or commercial vehicles may take longer to investigate.
  • Most of the compensation you’ll receive is due to the severity, nature, and extent of your injuries. If you haven’t fully recovered, we must know if you’ll ever recover.

A car accident lawyer talks to your medical provider to understand how your injuries could impact your future, from employment to family relations.

What’s the Negotiation Process?

After we have enough facts to understand these critical issues, we’ll demand payment from the insurance company. We will explain why we came up with this amount and include evidence supporting your claim. Generally, we send settlement demands to insurance companies within three to six months of a client retaining our services, depending on how complicated the accident and the seriousness of your injuries.

  • Negotiating is usually a back-and-forth that may take a few months
  • The insurance company may delay negotiation until they complete their own investigation
  • The total time for negotiation from start to settlement is about six months

If we cannot reach a fair settlement with the insurance company, we can go to trial.

How Does Litigation Affect Negotiations?

Illinois has a two-year statute of limitations for car accident cases. If your claim isn’t filed within two years, your case will probably be dismissed. It would be best if you didn’t wait to contact us. Rushing to file a lawsuit won’t help your case and may substantially delay receiving compensation for your injuries.

Most cases that get to this stage settle before there’s a trial. The insurance company may ask the court to dismiss or limit your claims. We will contest that and how a judge rules may impact your case’s value.

If We Go to Court

An essential part of litigation is discovery, where both sides learn more about the accident and your injuries. This takes many forms, including written questions and answers and depositions – the attorneys for both sides ask the parties and witnesses questions they answer under oath.

After the investigations are complete, the parties get a much deeper understanding of the case after discovery. Attorneys for both sides also see who may testify at a trial and judge how effectively they may tell their story to the jury.

Most cases that have gotten this far will settle after discovery closes, which can take up to nine months after the case was filed.

Will a Trial Speed Up Negotiations?

Sometimes an insurance company is more inspired to continue negotiating if they know an attorney is serious about seeking full and fair compensation. Usually, neither party wants to risk an all-or-nothing gain or loss of a jury verdict, so they reach an agreement. Although most personal injury lawsuits begin as insurance claims, only three or four percent of civil cases go all the way to trial.

Depending on how severe your injuries, whether the accident is complex, how cooperative the insurance company is, and the status of our court system, you could recover compensation in about six months. However, many factors affect this timeline. The best way to get faster compensation is to start sooner.

COVID-19 Caused a Backlog

The COVID-19 pandemic shut down the courts for a time. They partially functioned, but trials haven’t started in earnest until recently. The courts weren’t back to “business as usual” until recently. As a result, the court system has a significant case backlog. Depending on many issues, a case filed today may not go to trial until possibly two years from now.

Contact Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C.

If you’re injured in a car accident, you probably don’t know where to start. Please talk to us to make an informed decision about your legal rights and your best options for compensation. Contact us for a free, no-obligation, no-risk evaluation. We’ll talk about your situation, answer your questions, and determine what comes next. Act now and get the recovery you deserve.

You can call us at (312) 236-2900, send us an email at, or fill out our online form.