Car accidents are an unfortunate reality for people across the world. While negligent or impaired driving is often to blame for collisions, even the most careful and attentive drivers may find themselves involved in a car accident at some point. According to the most recent data released by California Highway Patrol, nearly 270,000 people suffered car accident injuries in one calendar year. Even relatively minor auto collision injuries can require lengthy recovery periods and costly medical bills, further burdening victims and creating financial stress during an already challenging time. Fortunately, California allows injured victims to pursue compensation to help cover the medical bills, lost wages, and other unanticipated expenses stemming from the accident. Most people want to know how quickly they can receive an auto accident settlement so they can start rebuilding their lives as soon as possible. It’s important to understand that every car accident claim varies, so the timeline for recovering compensation relies on several factors unique to each situation. This post will explore some of the primary factors that affect the auto accident settlement timeline in Riverside County and the steps you can take to maximize your settlement offer.
The Basics of California Auto Accident Claims
First, it’s helpful to recognize how California auto accident claims work. When you suffer an injury because of a car collision, you should contact your insurance company to report the incident. An adjuster will oversee your claim, calculating your degree of fault and investigating the details of the incident to determine how much compensation you may be entitled to recover. Even though the adjuster may claim to be “on your side,” you should remember that their loyalty lies with saving the company as much money as possible. To that end, the adjuster will attempt to compensate you as little as possible to protect the company’s bottom line. Additionally, they may try to take advantage of your eagerness to obtain compensation as quickly as possible by providing you with a lowball settlement offer. Unfortunately, many injured victims assume that they must accept this initial lowball offer or risk forfeiting their right to recover any amount of compensation. The reality is that the insurance company wants to avoid litigation at all costs, so it will usually be willing to negotiate a more favorable settlement offer. Enlisting the guidance of an experienced and trusted Temecula auto accident lawyer is the best way to maximize your chances of recovering the fair and favorable settlement offer you need to get your life back on track.
Factors Impacting the Auto Accident Settlement Timeline
As you start the auto accident claims process, it’s natural to wonder how long it will take until you are able to get your hands on the compensation so you can start to pay down the costly medical bills and other expenses associated with the collision. Although there is no one-size-fits-all calculation that you can use to determine the exact date on which you can settle your claim, you can use several factors to get a better sense of how long your settlement timeline will last. Below are some of the most significant factors that influence the auto accident settlement timeline in Southern California.
The Severity of the Accident
Generally, accidents involving minor injuries and minimal property damage tend to resolve more quickly than those with complex injuries that require prolonged hospital stays, rehabilitation, and other serious medical interventions. If you suffered an injury that requires surgery, physical therapy, or other long-term rehabilitation, you may not know all the ways in which your injury will impact your future. For example, if doctors are still unsure whether you will regain full mobility, you won’t be able to estimate how much compensation you will need to support your indefinite recovery. It may take months before you are able to quantify the cost of your injuries and start pursuing the compensation you need to move forward.
Liability and Other Legal Considerations
Some car accidents are clearly caused by one driver. However, it’s more often the case that both parties carry some degree of responsibility for causing the collision. Auto accidents involving more than two parties tend to take longer to resolve, as do claims in which the parties dispute their liability. Fault determination takes time, especially when it’s unclear the role that each party played in causing the collision. In some cases, like those in which a party alleges that a defective product or auto safety issue led to the accident, an auto manufacturer may become involved and prolong the timeline significantly.
The Quality of Communication Among the Parties
The auto accident claims that move forward more efficiently often occur when there are minimal disagreements or disputes among the parties. However, the process slows considerably when the parties refuse to accept responsibility or engage in productive conversations or negotiations. One of the more stressful aspects of the claims process is communicating with an insurance adjuster who is attempting to discredit your claim and deny you the compensation you know you deserve. However, you can let your experienced auto accident lawyer step in to handle these negotiations on your behalf, trusting that your attorney knows how to push back against the adjuster’s tactics and get them to make you a fair and favorable settlement offer.
Strategies For Maximizing Your Auto Accident Settlement Offer
Although you may have little control over every aspect of the auto accident claims process, there are steps you can take to move the process along more smoothly and efficiently. For instance, enlisting legal counsel as soon as possible will give you the information and strategies you need to navigate the weeks and months ahead. Additionally, establishing and maintaining an organizational system to keep track of all relevant records, documents, and bills will make it easier for you to support your claim. No matter what path your auto accident claims process takes, you can trust that your attorney will answer your questions, address your concerns, and support you at every turn.
California auto accident victims have the right to pursue compensation to support their recoveries. If you need help filing a car accident claim in Temecula or Murrieta, call Hales & Associates, A Professional Law Corporation, today at (951) 489-3320 to discuss your options with a dedicated and experienced auto accident attorney.