After being injured in a car accident in Florida, it is normal to want to know how long a car accident settlement takes. There really is no set time frame because it will vary based on the extent of damages, your injuries, and whether you can sue the at-fault party. Some cases could settle in a few months, while others could take years to fully resolve. As such, it is worth your time to learn more about the car accident settlement process from our Tampa car accident lawyers.

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The Insurance Claim Process

Since Florida is a no-fault state, the first step to any car accident settlement is initiating the insurance claim process with your insurance company. You should notify your insurance provider as soon as possible following the accident and provide them with the relevant details about the incident. However, you should avoid making any statements and stick only to the facts. Insurance companies are notorious for using anything you say against you to lower or even reject your insurance claim. 

After filing your insurance claim with your insurance company, the next step in the claim process should be to contact a car accident injury lawyer for a free consultation. Your insurance company will open an investigation into your claim and assign an insurance adjuster. 

Having sound legal advice before speaking to the insurance adjuster is in your best interest. In certain cases, especially when you are entitled to a substantial settlement, it is highly recommended to retain legal representation to protect your rights and ensure you get the compensation you deserve.

Once the adjuster reviews your claim and obtains statements and documentation showing your losses, they will make an initial settlement offer. This amount is usually rather low and often is not what you should actually receive. The adjuster does this because their job is to get you to settle for the lowest possible amount. 

Whether you accept the offer or, instead, have your attorney negotiate the settlement, you can no longer seek additional damages and compensation once you accept it. In addition, in Florida, you can also file an insurance claim against the responsible party’s insurance when your damages exceed your insurance coverage.


The Average Car Accident Settlement Timeline

The average car accident settlement timeline in Florida is usually a few months, in most cases, when there are no extensive injuries. However, if you are undergoing ongoing medical care and treatment, the insurance companies can decide to wait until you have completed that care before settling your case. 

Furthermore, insurance companies are not required to settle in any specific amount of time. They can take as long as they want to before making an initial settlement offer. When that amount is not appropriate, negotiations between your lawyer and the insurance companies will mean it will take longer to settle. 

Additionally, if the insurance companies are unwilling to settle, it will be necessary to take them to court. Litigating car accident injury lawsuits will increase the time to resolve the claim. Usually, it is better to plan for the settlement to take between six months and a year rather than banking on your case being resolved within a few months. 

Factors That May Delay Your Claim

Several factors could delay your claim and the amount of time to settle the case, including:

  • Lack of proof showing who was negligent: Part of reaching a settlement is being able to provide sufficient evidence to show who was at fault. Florida insurance companies do use comparative negligence when assigning fault, which means as long as you were less than 50% at fault, you can still sue the other party. However, your settlement is reduced by the percentage you were at fault.
  • The settlement is for a large sum: Insurance companies are less willing to settle quickly when claims are for substantial amounts. They will want to investigate the claim fully, start depositions to gather more information and take longer before they make an offer. 
  • Your medical care for injuries sustained in the accident: Another factor that may delay your claim is insurance companies can delay settling a claim until your injuries from the accident have fully healed or you have recovered as much as possible. 
  • Having to take the insurance company to court: When the insurance companies refuse to settle, you may be forced to take them to court. This will increase the time needed to settle the claim. 
  • Choosing to sue the at-fault driver civilly: In certain situations, the at-fault driver may not have sufficient insurance to cover all your damages fully. You can sue them for the difference when they have assets. However, this civil lawsuit will increase the time before your case is fully resolved.

What Is Needed To File an Injury Claim?

In Tampa and elsewhere in Florida, you must have personal injuries to file an injury claim. You will need the appropriate evidence to support your claim, such as medical reports, police reports, and proof of lost wages. You will first file against your own insurance before you can file a claim against the at-fault driver because of Florida’s no-fault requirements. To file against the at-fault driver, it can include the following reasons: 

  • You suffered damages more than your insurance coverage: Once you reach your insurance caps and still have damages you have not recovered, you can file against the at-fault party’s insurance company. 
  • You suffered loss of ability to perform a bodily function: In cases where you lost a limb, eyesight, or other bodily functions, you can sue the at-fault driver and their insurance company. 
  • You suffered irreversible disfigurement: Disfigurement is another reason why you can file an injury claim against the negligent driver.
  • A fatality and wrongful death occurred: When someone dies as a result of another’s negligence, such as driving under the influence of alcohol, you can file a wrongful death claim against them and their insurance company. 

Mistakes That Will Impact Your Claim

Some people make mistakes that impact their claims and the settlement amount received. These mistakes can also delay reaching a settlement. Some of the more common mistakes you should avoid are:

  • Delaying medical attention: If you do not seek immediate medical care after the car accident, insurance companies can use this to downplay the seriousness of your injuries. This also will cause them to offer an even lower settlement amount. 
  • Not saving vital evidence: Not saving vital evidence, such as pictures of the accident scene or contact details for witnesses, could not only delay your claim but result in a lower settlement. 
  • Not following up on doctor’s appointments, advice, and care: When you do not follow your medical treatment plan, insurance companies will use this against you. They will say because you are not sticking to your care plan, your injuries must not be as serious as you claim. Then, they will reduce your settlement. 
  • Giving statements to insurance companies without legal representation: Speaking to the insurance companies and their adjusters without legal representation or having obtained legal advice during a free consultation is a huge mistake. Insurance companies have their own lawyers and know how to use what you tell them against you to reduce or even deny your injury claim. 
  • Posting on social media about the accident: Insurance companies will use anything you post on social media about the accident against you in any way they can to reduce or deny your claim. You should avoid posting anything about the accident on social media. What may seem normal to you could result in the insurance company twisting it to its advantage to deny or reduce your settlement.

Do I Have To Accept the Settlement Offer the Insurance Company Gave Me?

It is not uncommon for some people to file their own insurance claims and attempt to settle on their own. They often believe they will get a much higher payout if they avoid seeking legal advice and legal representation. In other situations, after filing your initial claim, the insurance company may decide to make a settlement offer to resolve your claim quickly to avoid a more substantial payout. 

In either case, you do not have to accept the initial settlement offer the insurance company gave you. Instead, if you have not done so already, scheduling a free consultation with a Tampa car accident injury attorney is highly recommended. Obtaining free legal advice and finding out if the settlement they offer is acceptable is worth your time. Once you accept the settlement offer, you cannot seek any other compensation, even if you need ongoing medical care or surgeries or cannot return to work for quite some time. 

How Can Jack Bernstein, Injury Attorneys, Help Me After a Car Accident?

Jack Bernstein, Injury Attorneys, can help you after a car accident with the following:

  • Free initial consultation and free legal advice
  • Accurate valuation of your injury claim
  • Legal representation to protect your interests
  • Gathering evidence to support your claim
  • Negotiating a fair settlement with the insurance companies
  • Litigating in court when a settlement cannot be reached
  • Suing the at-fault party in civil court when they do not have sufficient insurance coverage
  • Peace of mind to allow you to focus on your healing and recovery after the accident

Let Jack Bernstein, Injury Attorneys, Fight for Your Rights After a Car Accident

When you are injured in a car accident in Tampa, let Jack Bernstein, Injury Attorneys, help you secure the compensation you deserve. Our caring and compassionate car accident injury lawyers fight tirelessly on your behalf while protecting your rights. We deal with insurance companies so you do not have the added stress and anxiety while recovering from your injuries. 

Schedule a free consultation with our car accident attorneys now.

Sources:

Going Outside No-Fault Insurance for Car Accident Legal Claims. (2023).

No-Fault Car Insurance & Legal Compensation. (2023).

Settlement Negotiations in Car Accident Lawsuits. (2023).


Tampa Car Accident + Personal Injury Lawyers

Jack Bernstein Personal Injury Attorney

For more than 40 years, personal injury lawyer Jack G. Bernstein has protected the rights of individuals who have been injured in a variety of circumstances. Throughout his career, Bernstein has been a strategist thoroughly dedicated to the idea of protecting the rights of his clients. Mr. Bernstein is a member of the Florida State Bar Association, the Hillsborough Bar Association and the Clearwater Bar Association.

Mr. Bernstein has the experience and expertise to handle a wide range of injury cases. Among the types of plaintiffs Mr. Bernstein represents are individuals involved in car accidents caused by drunk drivers or other exhibiting negligence, medical complications resulting from carelessness caused by a physician or a medical facility, including brain injury, bicycle, motorcycle, moped and truck accidents, admiralty law and cruise ship accidents, accidental drownings, all types of wrongful death lawsuits, along with most injury, catastrophic occurrences and legal malpractice issues.

Our firm handles every type of personal injury and accident case, using negotiation and litigation tactics effectively. We handle cases throughout Tampa, Sarasota, St. Petersburg, and Clearwater, FL. With a staff of approximately 40 people, including six lawyers and 34 support personnel, we have the legal resources to get the justice you deserve and the maximum recovery for your losses. Schedule your free consultation today; we are always here to help.

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