Our Miami car accident lawyers understand you want to know how long it takes to settle your car accident case. However, the answer depends on the facts of your case.
Each car accident is unique. Your case may involve complicated matters of law and disputed liability. In that case, it could take longer to settle than another car accident claim.
The important thing to keep in mind is not to rush a settlement. Instead, your goal should be to recover the maximum compensation available for your personal injury claim.
Let’s look at some factors that impact the timeline for a car accident case in Miami.
Obligations of Insurance Companies to Process Claims
When you file a no-fault insurance claim or a claim against another driver’s liability insurance coverage, the insurance company has legal obligations to process claims for car accidents.
In a perfect world, you could settle your claim in 64 days:
- The insurance company has 14 days to send proof of claim forms after you provide notice of a claim
- The company has 30 days to accept or deny your insurance claim after receiving the claim forms
- The company has 20 days to pay the claim after accepting it
The above timeline is unrealistic in many cases. Many people have not completed medical treatment for their injuries within the first 60 days after an accident. Furthermore, it assumes that you have everything ready and the claims forms are perfect. It presumes you do not make any errors, leave any blanks, and attach all documents required to process the claim.
Let’s look at a more realistic timeline for reaching a car accident settlement.
Filing a No-Fault Car Accident Claim in Miami
Since Florida is a no-fault insurance state for car accident claims, you begin by filing an insurance claim with your PIP (Personal Injury Protection) insurance provider. Drivers file their claims with their insurance provider regardless of who caused the car crash.
You must seek medical treatment for injuries within 14 days after the car wreck to receive PIP benefits. Your PIP insurance covers up to 80 percent of your medical bills and up to 60 percent of your lost wages. Your insurance carrier only needs to pay benefits up to your policy limits ($10,000 if you have minimum insurance coverage).
When you file your no-fault insurance claim, you must provide evidence of your lost wages and medical expenses. You need copies of your wage records and medical bills to submit to your insurance company. Also, you need to submit your medical records to prove your injuries prevented you from working.
Provided you put together a perfect claims package, the insurance company has 30 days to respond to the claim. If it accepts your claim, you should receive a check within two weeks of the acceptance of the claim. However, your PIP provider could deny your entire claim or parts of your claim.
For example, the insurance adjuster may state that your injuries were not caused by the accident or you did not require medical treatment. They may also deny your lost wages and claim that your injuries were not severe enough to justify missing work.
At that point, you need to prepare to fight. We strongly suggest consulting with an attorney immediately if your PIP carrier denies your insurance claim.
Filing an Insurance Claim With the Other Driver’s Liability Insurance Company
Florida’s insurance laws require that you sustain serious injuries to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver. Serious injuries are defined by the Florida Code as wrongful death, significant scarring or disfigurement, or significant and permanent impairments.
Therefore, you need to know the extent of your injuries before filing a claim with an at-fault driver’s liability car insurance provider. Your timeline to settle your car accident claim starts again when you file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
Because this claim is based on allegations of fault and negligence, the insurance company investigates the cause of the car accident. The company looks for evidence it can use to deny or undervalue the claim, including evidence of pre-existing conditions and contributory fault. The amount of time to complete the accident investigation depends on the circumstances of the crash.
Therefore, your lawyer will need to gather evidence such as:
- Copies of accident reports
- Eyewitness statements
- Videos of the collision
- Photographs of the accident scene
- Physical evidence from the vehicles and crash site
- Copies of your medical bills, wage statements, and other evidence of damages
If the insurance company disputes liability, you may need to hire expert witnesses, including accident reconstructionists, to assist with the case. Even if your lawyer completes the investigation and has all the evidence they need, they cannot settle the claim until you complete treatment.
In cases involving catastrophic injuries, it could take months for your doctors to release you from care. You need to have a prognosis from your doctor to ensure you include demands for future damages and permanent impairments in the settlement demand letter.
You must also demand a sufficient amount for your pain and suffering damages, depending on the severity of your injuries. You deserve to be compensated for your non-economic damages in addition to your economic damages.
Negotiating a Settlement for Your Miami Car Accident Case
An insurance company may make an initial settlement offer early in the case. Generally, this offer is way below the value of your damages. Once your lawyer has all the evidence they need and you complete your medical treatment, they will prepare a demand letter for the insurance company.
The demand letter outlines the facts of the case and specifies the amount you are willing to accept to resolve the claim. The insurance company may deny or accept the claim. It may also give you a counteroffer, which sets up back and forth settlement negotiations.
In a perfect world, your lawyer will reach a fair settlement soon after you complete treatment. However, many factors impact the timeline for a car accident case.
If the insurance company refuses to negotiate a fair settlement, your best options are to accept the amount it offers or file a personal injury lawsuit. Filing a personal injury lawsuit starts the timeline over again.
Contact Our Miami Car Accident Lawyers for a Free Consultation
If you or a family member were injured in a car accident, contact a personal injury lawyer for help with your claim. They will give you an estimate of how long your case will take to settle. They will also help you calculate your damages and give you an estimate of your case’s worth.