A car accident in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, can be devastating. Victims and their relatives often have to pay for medical expenses and property damage repairs. They also suffer some unquantifiable losses for which they deserve compensation. Therefore, contacting a Palm Beach Gardens car accident lawyer is always advisable if you want to try to recover the compensation you deserve.
However, people are always eager to receive a settlement to offset bills. As a result, they often ask how long it takes to settle a Florida auto accident case. Car accident cases differ, so the time frame for settling a claim varies.
This article discusses the time frame for settling a Florida auto accident case and the factors influencing settlements.
Factors That Affect a Car Accident Case Settlement
There’s no set time frame for settling an accident case. The details of the accident and the circumstances surrounding it will determine how long it takes to resolve the case.
The following situations can affect how long it takes to settle:
The At-Fault Party
The process can proceed very quickly when the cause of an accident is evident, or the other driver involved admits fault immediately. However, it could take longer before a settlement is reached if there is a problem with determining fault.
There is no control over the processing time, but it can be quickened by providing enough evidence of the accident. However, it is best not to rush the crash investigation to avoid making a mistake that jeopardizes the victim’s claim or wrongly attributes all fault to the other driver.
The Severity of the Injuries
Victims sustain different types of injuries in an auto accident. The length of time it takes to resolve an injury claim directly depends on the severity of the damages. Situations involving traumatic injuries will take more time for recovery, and some injuries may also require further treatment.
Usually, a Palm Beach Gardens car accident attorney advises victims not to settle until they reach maximum medical improvement (MMI). MMI means that no additional medical care will enhance the victim’s state of health. Therefore, the time it takes to reach MMI affects how long it takes to conclude a case.
Medical Bills and Records
The victim must gather medical bills, documents, and estimates for future care to claim payment for all medical expenses. Healthcare professionals usually help compile medical bills and determine treatment strategies after attaining the maximum medical improvement, which may take some time.
Obtaining a Response to Personal Injury Demand Package
A demand package is a letter that shows the documentation of injuries, medical costs, lost wages, and expected compensation. In addition, it offers a detailed summary of what happened during and after the accident.
It may take a few weeks to months before hearing a response from an insurance company. However, if the Statute of Limitations is about to expire, file a lawsuit to avoid losing your right to compensation.
What Can a Lawyer Do?
Auto accident victims require medical treatment for their injuries and should obtain legal advice regarding accident claims. This process may overwhelm victims even if they know their right to fight for a fair settlement.
When you hire personal injury lawyers, here are some things they will do:
Tracking All Losses
This involves acquiring and finding out the victim’s medical bills, lost income, and other out-of-pocket costs.
Gather Evidence to Support Claims
A lawyer can establish a strong case using the victim’s medical records, accident reports, employment records, and other supporting data. After, they can present the evidence to the insurance carrier to help you seek compensation.
Obtain Expert Witnesses
A lawyer will help consult with any expert witness needed to prove your claim and establish the other party’s fault. This includes medical professionals and accident reconstruction experts.
Attend Court Trials
A Palm Beach Gardens auto accident lawyer can represent the victim in court if the case goes to trial. In addition, they will handle the filing of court processes and, if needed, appeal an unfavorable court decision.
How Can a Car Accident Lawyer Prove Liability?
A victim should hire a skilled vehicle accident attorney with the knowledge and resources required to establish fault in their case. A car accident attorney can prove:
- Duty of Care: Road users owe each other a duty to drive carefully and obey all traffic rules and signals.
- Breach of Duty: A driver has violated their duty of care if they disobey the traffic rules or engage in careless or reckless conduct.
- Causation: Causation means that the driver’s negligent action resulted in the crash and the injuries sustained by the victim.
- Damages: This means that the accident led to bodily injury and financial losses for which the victim deserves compensation.
Florida Statute of Limitations for a Car Accident Settlement Claim
According to Florida Statutes 95.11, victims have four years to file a lawsuit for vehicle accident injuries. The Statute of Limitations for this filing period starts on the date of the accident.
If you don’t commence your case by the deadline, you will be statute-barred from seeking compensation in court. This prevents you from using a lawsuit as leverage in negotiations with the insurance company.
How Insurance Companies Take Advantage of the Statute of Limitations to Delay Settlement
Insurance providers have a timeframe to respond to a claim and decide whether to accept or reject it. For example, according to Florida Statutes 627.4265, a car insurance company must pay within 20 days to resolve a claim if the parties reach an agreement. However, if they refuse to pay by the due date, the insurance company must pay 12 percent annual interest to the claimant.
Florida Statutes 627.736 states that for a personal injury protection (PIP) claim, the auto insurance carrier must pay within 30 days. It is against the law to delay this response. If the insurance company denies the claim, they must explain why in the rejection letter.
However, insurance carriers sometimes fail to deny claims outrightly. Instead, they drag the negotiations out, hoping to reach close to the time limit set by the Statute of Limitations. This delays the claims process and keeps you from seeking compensation on time.
Have a lawyer involved when you notice your insurer is intentionally delaying the process. Most insurance companies dislike lawsuits, so the fear of being sued can incentivize a company to offer a settlement.
Is Your Car Accident Settlement Taking More Time Than It Should? We Can Help
A lawyer is always your best option for maximum compensation without unnecessary delays. At Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers, we know the tricks used by insurance companies and how to counter them.
Also, we understand the laws surrounding car accident claims in Florida and will use them to your benefit. Our team has years of combined experience helping victims seek favorable outcomes in personal injury cases.
We work on a contingency fee basis and offer complimentary initial consultations. Call us at (561) 800-8000 to schedule a meeting with our Plam Beach Gardens auto accident lawyers (by appointment only).