If you have been injured in a Virginia car accident that was not your fault, you know you shouldn’t be responsible for paying for costly car repairs, medical expenses, and physical rehabilitation. So, you may wonder when you can expect your settlement check from the insurance company. While you may be fortunate to receive a payment check within a matter of months, the other driver’s insurer will be in no hurry to negotiate a settlement. In fact, they may be inclined to delay negotiations as long as possible. To accelerate the receipt of your check and possibly increase your compensation, you need a personal injury attorney working for you.
Reaching a Settlement After Your Accident
After being involved in a Virginia car crash, you should immediately call a personal injury attorney. They will begin collecting evidence related to the accident and working to establish the other driver’s negligence. They will then begin the settlement process which consists of several steps, including:
- Filing a claim. Your attorney will cross-check the negligent driver’s insurance policy and then notify their carrier that you have decided to file a claim.
- Starting an investigation. Once the initial claim has been filed, your attorney will continue the investigation. They may requisition police reports and medical documents, as well as interview eyewitnesses. The investigation will also incorporate evidence of your damages such as medical expenses and lost income.
- Calculating your damages. Your attorney will not begin settlement negotiations until he knows the maximum amount you may recover. Often, this amount is not immediately obvious. While you may have a car repair estimate, a period of time with lost wages, and medical bills, you may require damages for future expenses, too. Your doctor may recommend corrective surgery, tell you take more time off work, or suggest extensive physical rehabilitation.
- Sending a demand letter. After your attorney is confident they’ve collected all the necessary evidence and calculated your damages, they will send a demand letter to the at-fault motorist’s insurance company.
- Initiating negotiations. The at-fault driver’s insurance company will almost certainly offer a lower settlement than what you deserve. Your attorney wants what is best for you, not the insurer, and will negotiate for a higher award.
If the insurance company refuses to negotiate or pay a higher settlement, your attorney may decide the best course of action is to file a personal injury lawsuit.
Often, the biggest obstacle to receiving an expedient settlement is the negotiations stage of a claim. Depending on the circumstances of your claim, you may have a check in-hand as early as three months. However, complicated cases often take longer to settle and could take years to fully resolve.
Claims can take longer to settle if they involve:
- Insufficient evidence
- Wrongful death
- Multiple defendants
- Improper or poorly-calculated claims of damages
- An uncertain medical recovery timeframe
- Catastrophic injuries
But once you, your attorney, and the insurance company agree on a settlement, you will rarely have to wait a month beyond the conclusion of a successful negation to see a check. Sometimes, it may come within a week.
Getting Started With Your Settlement
When you are physically injured, emotionally devastated, and in desperate need of assistance, you cannot afford to wait for the insurance company to take its time addressing your claim. The first step to getting paid is simple: contact a personal injury attorney immediately after your accident. Even if you are certain that the other driver was at fault, insurance companies are businesses that want to protect their profits. They may deny your claim on frivolous grounds, claim you caused the accident, or offer less money than you deserve and an amount that can’t possibly pay for your accident-related medical expenses.
Contact Us Today
The sooner you file a claim and initiate negotiations, the sooner you can get paid and start on the road to recovery. Kearney, Freeman, Fogarty & Joshi can help you get the settlement you deserve. If you or a loved suffered injuries in a Virginia car accident, send us a message online to schedule your initial consultation.