Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health in...

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Reviewed by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer

UPDATED: Jul 14, 2021

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In a nutshell...

  • Settling a car accident claim can take different amounts of time, depending on the situation
  • If there are more parties involved, or if there were more serious injuries, then it can take a much longer period of time
  • Having the assistance of an experienced lawyer can help make sure the resolution is reached fairly and as quickly as possible

When you have been involved in a car accident that results in a claim being filed, you may wonder how long it will take to reach a settlement.

If there is only a minimal amount of property damage or injury involved, then the time to reach a settlement may only be weeks.

However, when there are more serious amounts of damage or bodily injury involved, then reaching a settlement can take months or even years.

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Every Car Accident is Different


Car accidents happen each and every day, but no two accidents are identical.

It’s important to remember that after the initial car accident, you will most likely be working with your insurance provider and the insurance providers of any other parties involved.

Knowing this can be helpful for avoiding high-stress situations when it comes to determining fault, but it can also add time to the resolution of the claim.

It may take time for your insurance provider to reach a determination that works for every party involved.

Before leaving the scene of an accident, it’s important to gather the needed information, so your insurance provider can proceed with the investigation.

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It May Take Time to Gather the Evidence

Depending on the amount of property damage or bodily injury that occurs as a result of the car accident, it may take some time to gather all the necessary pieces of evidence.

This evidence could include repair bills, medical bills, property damage reports, photographs of the injuries or damages, police reports and witness testimony.

Remember that the evidence may not be available immediately after the accident either, as injuries can take some time to be treated properly.

Additionally, police reports or photographs may not be ready for 24 to 48 hours after they have been filed and completed by the responding law enforcement agency.

The Extent of Bodily Injuries Can Hold Up a Settlement


Some car accidents produce minor injuries or even no injuries at all, while others may have severe, chronic injuries.

In addition, the nature of the injury, such as a broken bone or a soft tissue injury, may require more confirmation reports from a medical professional.

Also, some people may not be satisfied with simply covering medical expenses and may want a broader settlement that includes “cost” for stress, loss time, and similar intangibles.

In these situations, the insurance provider or lawyer may push for additional compensation or a more detailed investigation of the accident.

Involving a Lawyer May Be Necessary

After every accident, it’s recommended that you contact your insurance provider to discuss the claim process and to determine if a claim is needed.

Your insurance provider may be required to gather additional information based on your state, as each state has different laws and regulations regarding the claims process.

However, your insurance provider is not the same as legal representation, and they may not provide the same level of guidance or support as a lawyer.

Getting the legal counsel of a reputable lawyer may be necessary if there were severe or long-term injuries, extensive property damage, or a combination of both.

Although involving a lawyer may add additional time to the claim settlement process, a lawyer can help you navigate the situation and receive the best settlement possible.

Additionally, a lawyer may feel that the types of property damage or bodily injury involved require additional compensation, which can further draw out settlement negotiations.

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Encountering Issues

Car accidents are an unpleasant situation to be stuck in, and waiting for a settlement to be reached can be time-consuming and stressful.

Remember that your insurance provider or legal representation is there to help make the situation easier on you.

As you move through the claim process, if you encounter issues with your provider, then consider looking at other insurance companies after the process is complete.

Please remember that your legal representation is there to represent you and guide you within the context of the law.

By providing accurate information up front, and complying with every reasonable request made, you can help expedite the settlement process and move past the situation.

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