If you suffer injuries or property damage in a car accident in Colorado, you probably want to receive financial compensation to pay for these losses as quickly as possible. It is normal to desire a fast and efficient claims process. However, it is highly important to your financial future to understand the risks associated with rushing into a fast settlement. Learn what to expect from the average car accident settlement timeline, as well as when it may be in your best interest to choose a longer legal process in exchange for greater financial compensation.
What Is the Average Settlement Timeline for Injuries in Colorado?
Looking up averages for personal injuries can be misleading, as each car accident case is entirely unique. The time that it takes to resolve a car accident case and reach a settlement can vary significantly. With that said, many car accident claims in Colorado take between four to six weeks to be completed. This is an estimate for an insurance settlement, not a car accident lawsuit. In the unlikely event that your car accident case cannot be resolved with the settlement and must go to court, expect a much longer timeline – closer to a year or longer rather than a few months.
While each case is unique, Colorado has laws in place that can expedite the claims process. Although most car insurance companies in the state are not legally required to respond to or settle insurance claims within a specific deadline, the law states that they must resolve them “reasonably promptly.” If you believe that an insurance company has taken an exorbitant amount of time to investigate your car accident or process your claim, contact a Denver car accident lawyer about a possible case of insurance bad faith. Delaying a claim is a common strategy used by insurers to take advantage of clients.
What Does the Settlement Process Look Like?
Settlement agreements are how the vast majority of car accident claims are resolved. A settlement means that the crash victim has reached an agreement with the car insurance company. The insurance company has accepted liability and is offering a specific amount of money – known as the settlement award – to resolve the legal dispute. In exchange, the crash victim has agreed to release the insurance company from future liability for the same accident or injury.
A settlement is preceded by an investigation of the car accident to determine who is at fault. The car insurance company will assign a claims adjuster for this job. The adjuster will review all documents and information submitted by the claimant. He or she may also visit the scene of the car accident, examine property damage in person and interview eyewitnesses during an investigation. Then, the insurance company will decide whether or not to accept the claim based on the information gathered. If your claim is accepted, expect a settlement check to be mailed out within two weeks of receiving your notice.
What Can Impact the Timeline to Receive a Settlement Check?
Whether your car accident case settles or goes to trial is the number one factor in determining how long it will take to receive a settlement check. A settlement agreement is a much faster case resolution than a car accident trial. A settlement typically involves crash investigation, a review of the claimant’s losses and negotiations for a fair settlement value.
A car accident trial, on the other hand, can have a lengthy discovery phase, with actions such as depositions, interrogatories and the filing of motions. In addition, both parties involved will have to wait for an open court date. This could take one year or longer, depending on how busy the courthouse is in your county.
Can You Do Anything to Speed Up a Car Accident Settlement?
Hiring a Denver car accident attorney is the best way to speed up your accident claim without compromising your legal rights. An attorney can help you fill out confusing claims paperwork to save you time and money. Your lawyer can also take over negotiations with an insurance company for a timely process without rushing into a lowball settlement. Your lawyer will use all strategies available to meet your case goals – both in terms of the compensation won and how long your case takes to complete. For more information about how a car accident lawyer can help you, contact Cannon Law to request a free consultation.