How Long Does It Take to Settle a Car Accident Case?

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, you know that the accident itself is just the beginning of a challenging time. You may be facing severe pain. Your medical bills may be piling up — and you’re worrying about whether you can ever pay them off. If you’re unable to work, even handling day-to-day expenses might be difficult. You might have already filed a claim, and your settlement can’t come soon enough. So how long does it take to settle a car accident case?

Unfortunately, there is no simple, one-size-fits-all answer to that question. Here’s a look at some of the factors that might influence how quickly your car accident case is settled.

Have you been injured in a car accident? Call Tyroler Leonard Injury Law at 651-259-1113 today.

What Factors Affect the Timeline of Your Case?

Most of the time, car accident cases are settled out of court. When a case is “settled,” it means your legal team and the legal team representing the at-fault party agree on an amount, and the at-fault party’s insurance company pays you this amount. Taking a personal injury case all the way to the courtroom is an expensive, drawn-out process.

Unfortunately, although settling a car accident case is faster than going to court, it usually isn’t a quick process. These are some of the primary factors influencing the speed of your case:

How Severe Your Injuries Are

You probably already know that the severity of your injuries can be a deciding factor in whether car accident lawyers are willing to take your case. For example, if your car gets hit by another driver but you have no injuries, or very mild injuries, attorneys aren’t likely to take your case — the amount of damages they could recover is too small.

However, the severity of injuries matters for another reason, too. In almost every case, your attorneys won’t finalize a settlement until your condition stabilizes. That’s because a fair settlement needs to account for all of your present and future medical expenses.

Here’s an example. Imagine you’ve been injured in a car accident. You need a surgery that costs $10,000. However, while you’re in the hospital, you develop an infection that requires another $5,000 to treat. If your attorneys had negotiated a settlement too early, the amount you received might not have been enough to compensate you for treating the infection, too. When you and your legal team accept a settlement, you agree not to pursue further legal action, so in the above example, you couldn’t file an additional claim for the $5,000.

Severe injuries take longer to stabilize, so if you’ve been injured badly, the time it takes to settle your car accident case may be several months (or even longer).

Who Is Liable for the Accident

Before you can file a claim against the other person’s insurance company, you must make sure that the other person is legally liable under Minnesota law. This is a process that can be more complicated than it seems.

That’s because Minnesota uses something called the modified comparative negligence doctrine. So does Wisconsin. This means that in some situations, you can recover damages even if you were partially at fault for the accident. Here’s a quick summary of how the rule works:

  • If the court determines you were 51% at fault (or more), you may not recover damages.
  • If the court determines you were 50% at fault (or less), you may recover damages.
  • If you were partially at fault, the court will proportionally reduce your compensation.

For example, say you’re in an accident. The other driver was drunk, but their lawyers argue you were partially responsible because you were speeding. The court determines that you were 10% at fault. If you were awarded $100,000 in damages, because you were 10% at fault, the court would reduce the amount by 10%, so you would receive $90,000.

If you don’t have a legal background, it can be difficult to determine whether you were partially at fault or not. Car accident lawyers deal with these cases every day, so your lawyers can review your case and give you an idea of your percentage of fault.

Your car accident lawyers will need to gather documentation to prove that the other party was more at fault. If your case is legally murky, this might take significantly longer.

Even if you are partially at fault for your accident, you still may be able to recover compensation.

Whether the Person at Fault Was Negligent

Car accident lawyers need to take the time to prove that another person was at fault. They also must gather evidence that shows the at-fault person was negligent.

That can be more challenging than it sounds. To prove negligence, your legal team must prove the following:

  • The other person had a “duty of care” — an obligation to protect the safety of other drivers.
  • The other person breached that duty (in a car accident case, this usually involves texting while driving, driving when drunk, etc.).
  • When the other person breached that duty, it was their specific action that caused your injury.
  • The other person should have known that their actions would injure someone.
  • You (or your property) were harmed badly enough that you can legally recover damages.

Don’t worry about determining negligence yourself. If lawyers take your case, they will be able to analyze the facts and see whether you’re likely to win. Your responsibility is to give your attorneys as much information as you can. That might include police reports, medical bills, contact information for witnesses, and other details. It can take a long time to settle a car accident claim, but the sooner your lawyers have all the information they need, the sooner they can get to work on your case.

If You’ve Been Injured, Our Car Accident Lawyers Can Help

At Tyroler Leonard Injury Law, we’re proud to be able to help Minnesota residents who are experiencing some of the most difficult times of their lives. We have collected millions for injured people like you, and our attorneys are prepared to be your fierce advocates in the courtroom and beyond.

We understand that even navigating daily life can be challenging when you’ve been badly hurt in a car accident. But if you can take the first step to get in touch, our attorneys can guide you the rest of the way.

Contact Tyroler Leonard Injury Law online or give us a call today at 651-259-1113.

Attorney Isaac Tyroler

Attorney Isaac Tyroler has been a strong advocate for injured people his entire legal career. He has a passion for righting wrongs, and he deeply cares about representing injured clients who may feel overwhelmed or uncertain about how to navigate the legal system. He is compassionate toward clients and aggressive with insurance companies and defendants. He is on the elected Board of Governors of the Minnesota Association of Justice (MAJ), the top personal injury lawyers’ group in Minnesota. And is currently the chair of MAJ’s legislative committee. [ Attorney Bio ]