How long does a settlement take for auto accident?

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Latest post Mon, Apr 13 2009 1:01 PM by adjuster jack. 1 replies.
  • Mon, Apr 13 2009 11:27 AM

    • stand4right
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    • Joined on Sun, Dec 28 2008
    • HI
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    How long does a settlement take for auto accident?

    Hi, I was in a car accident May of 08.  The other vehicle was a rental car that was insured.  It is 100% clear from police reports and traffic abstracts that it was not my fault.  My car insurance covers up to $10,000 for medical reasons.  I spent about $9,000 of that but decided to settle because I moved from Hawaii to Texas.  In Texas I couldn't find a doctor that would work with a 3rd party insurance.  My lawyer was not much help at all either.  I have mostly soft tissue damage, vertigo, as well as emotional problems.  I couldn't work in specific jobs because sitting and standing for a long period of time hurt my lower back. It's been about 2 weeks since my lawyer put in the settlement amount to the rental car company of $50,000.  Now, I don't really like my lawyer and I have a lack in trust in him so i'm asking on here.  How long does this process take? My cousin who was in pre-law said it shouldn't take no more than 3 weeks because the case is so clear that the rental car company shouldn't dispute it because they won't win it in court. What should I realistically expect from the settlement offer? Any ideas or suggestions to speed the process up?  I just want everything closed and done with... I'm ready to move on with my life and put this all behind me!

  • Mon, Apr 13 2009 1:01 PM In reply to

    Re: How long does a settlement take for auto accident?

    Sorry to have to give you bad news, but your cousin in pre-law doesn't know what he's talking about.

    Worst case scenario, the process could take two to four years from the accident.

    Here's why.

    First, is the statute of limitations on lawsuits. You have two years to file one in HI for an auto accident.

    So, if there is no settlement by the time the two years are coming to a close, your attorney would file the lawsuit and litigation could take an additional one to two years.

    Second, even though fault is "clear" to you, your attorney, the police, and your cousin, the other party and his insurance company are under no obligation to accept all those opinions and the insurance company is obligated to its policyholder to provide a defense if one is called for.

    But let's just say that maybe there's no dispute regarding fault and the insurance company is willing to settle.

    There's the matter of monetary damages.

    Your lawyer send a demand for 50,000.

    Unfortunately, with 9000 in medical bills and a soft tissue injury with subjective symptoms like vertigo and emotional issues, I would expect the insurance company to come back with an offer of maybe between 15,000 and 20,000. Maybe less if you had mostly chiropractic treatment all this time.

    Given the average work load of claim reps it's likely to be another two to four weeks till the claim rep actually sees your lawyer's letter. Then it might have to be reviewed by his management before a response goes out.

    Once it gets back to your attorney, I imagine your attorney with his own work load, might not get to review it for a week or two.

    From then on the back and forth negotiations could go on for months or the insurance company might just say take it or leave it and put the file away until you either sue or accept.

    Your disappointment with your lawyer is understandable. Trouble is, he's not doing anything wrong. He's doing the best he can with what he's got and you just have unrealistic expectations.

    There is no way to speed the process up. It takes as long as it takes.

    But the fastest way to get everything closed and done with is to accept whatever offer the insurance company comes back with. However, once you've gotten the offer, I doubt if you'll like it very much and you might have to settle in for the long haul.



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