The length of time it takes to settle a claim depends on the circumstances of your case. Every accident is different. Please read on for more specific guidance about your car accident claim.
Factors That Will Affect the Length of Your Claims Process
There is no fixed timeline for a settlement check to come after you get injured in a motor vehicle crash. Most accident claims in Colorado get resolved through a settlement with the insurance carrier. But, there are some key factors that can affect how fast or slow your claim moves along, which ultimately affects how long it takes for you to get compensation.
In accidents where fault is obvious and easily determined, it may be a rather short time before you get a check in the mail. You’ll probably have a quick case if you didn’t get injured or need medical care and there’s absolutely no dispute over who is at fault. On the other hand, there are instances when the claims process can get delayed or take longer.
For example, if there is a dispute over liability, or who is at fault for the accident, it’s imperative to conduct an in-depth investigation. A Colorado car accident attorney can help ensure you get a thorough investigation to gather strong evidence for your case.
The nature and extent of your injuries will also affect the timeline of your injury claim. Injury victims are advised not to resolve or settle for any offers before they reach maximum medical improvement, which can only be determined by a certified medical professional. If you accept a settlement offer before you fully recover from your injuries, there’s no way to recover the full amount needed to cover all your medical bills. Often car accident injuries end up being worse than people had thought and they jeopardize their chance to get full financial compensation because they settle too early.
Lastly, if there is any disagreement over who is at fault, it may take longer for you to get compensated. Insurance companies determine fault after conducting their own investigations and sometimes disagree on who is at fault, or how much fault each driver had in contributing to the accident. Or, if they disagree with any of your claims regarding medical expenses, property damage, or pain and suffering, they might offer less than what you truly deserve. This is when a Colorado personal injury attorney can be invaluable to your case; they can negotiate a better settlement on your behalf to make sure you get the full financial recovery you deserve.
What Does a Settlement Process Look Like in Colorado?
The majority of car accident claims get resolved through a settlement agreement. A settlement means the insurance company accepts liability and offers you a payment amount called a settlement. Once you accept the settlement, the dispute is resolved and the insurance company is no longer liable for the same accident or injury. That means, if you find out that your injury is worse than you thought, but you already accepted an offer, you can’t go back to claim more.
Reaching a settlement agreement involves an investigation into the accident to establish fault. The investigation is usually conducted by a claims adjuster, who might visit the accident scene, interview witnesses, and examine the property damage, and perform to gather information. Once the adjuster completes the investigation and makes a determination of fault, the insurance company will accept or deny the claim.
If your claim is accepted, you can expect a settlement offer rather soon. However, if you disagree with the insurance company’s decision or think they are lowballing you, it might be time to consult with an experienced car accident lawyer.
More Complicated Cases Can Take Months Or Longer
If you sustained severe injuries in the accident, your claim will take longer to resolve. For example, if you have catastrophic injuries that leave you with life-long disability or permanent scarring and disfigurement, your case will take longer to resolve, but you will also likely get a higher settlement award.
Other scenarios that could drag out a car accident claim include liability disputes, multiple parties being involved, or lack of evidence to support claims for non-economic damages (pain and suffering, mental anguish, etc,).
The most common reason for claims requiring more time to settle is injury victims not reaching the maximum medical improvement. You never want to settle without reaching a physician’s assessment of maximum medical improvement. If you need more than 30 days to reach the maximum physical recovery as advised by a doctor, it’s generally worth waiting to ensure you get the maximum compensation possible.
Colorado State Law Require Insurance Claims to Respond to Claims in a Timely Manner
While Colorado state law does not impose a strict time limit for insurance companies, they are still expected to acknowledge claims and offer answers within a reasonable time limit. An insurance company who purposefully drags out responding to your claim or offering a settlement is acting in bad faith. If so, a Colorado personal injury lawyer might be able to help you file an insurance bad faith claim, which would allow you to collect a settlement award with interest and penalties.
If the insurance settlement is not enough to cover all your accident damages, you may want to file a personal injury lawsuit. A lawsuit takes a few months or even as long as a year if your case ends up going to trial. Additionally, if you wish to file a legal claim, you have a three year deadline that starts on the date of the accident, so it’s best to act as soon as possible.
Contact a Colorado Car Accident Lawyer Today
Our legal team has the experience and expertise it takes to win a case. We commit to each client and fight aggressively on their behalf. If you want to protect your legal rights, it’s highly advisable to work with a Colorado car accident lawyer. That will help you get the best outcome in the most efficient manner possible. We want to help you, so call us today for a free consultation.