After suffering injuries in a car accident, you may be wondering when your check will arrive so you can begin to rebuild your life. While every car accident has different circumstances, there are common factors that impact the timeline of your claim.

If you were injured in a car accident, you may look to pursue a claim with the insurance company or file a personal injury lawsuit against the driver responsible for your injuries. If you choose to pursue the latter, you will need to file a lawsuit after mediation with the insurance company did not result in a satisfactory agreement.

While filing a lawsuit requires additional work, it may be the best option to ensure you recover the compensation you deserve for your car accident injuries. Below are some of the factors that can play a part in the timeline of your car accident claim. 

Car accident victim meeting with attorney

Elements that Affect the Timeline of a Car Accident Claim

Depending on the circumstances surrounding the accident, a car crash claim can vary from a few months to a few years. 

Recovery Time

Questions surrounding the injuries sustained from the accident can affect your claim for weeks or even months. A medical professional may not know the full recovery period of an injury or the duration of treatments and associated medical costs needed to bring a car accident victim to maximum recovery. 

Some injuries, such as whiplash and other soft tissue injuries, may not be readily apparent after a car accident, and may develop over the following weeks. 


 Insurance companies spend millions of dollars each year investigating and prosecuting individuals who make fake injury claims. Insurance companies will often take the time to fully examine all evidence in a car accident claim to ensure a plaintiff is not claiming false injuries.

“Claims adjusters rarely, if ever, take a plaintiff’s word for their injury,” notes car accident attorney S. David Rosenthal, “This is one reason why a car accident attorney is useful in the claims process – they ensure your evidence is sound and easy to interpret.”

Cooperation of the Insurance Company

Insurance companies will often take significant time to respond to claims, conduct investigations and communicate with claimants. Their current workload may also play a factor in response times. Depending on your state, the insurance company may have a strict deadline on when they must acknowledge a claim and approve or deny a claim. 

If a settlement is reached between the accident victim and the insurance company, most insurance companies will pay the claim within 30 days, although this may not always be the case. 

Legal Proceeding

If the insurance company and car accident victim do not reach a settlement agreement, the victim may take his or her case to court. Court proceedings will add an additional few weeks or months to the timeline of resolving your case. The courts will select a court date, which is often not immediate, for your case to be heard. Once the court has established a ruling on your case, it may be another few weeks to receive your payment. 

There are various factors that can influence the timeline of your car accident claim. Recovery time, evidence, insurance company protocol, and legal proceedings are just some of the common factors that can influence the length of your auto accident claim. If you were a victim in a car accident and are looking for additional resources, speak to a qualified personal injury lawyer in your area to explore your legal options. 

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