Car accidents are inconvenient at best and traumatic at worst. In addition to expensive car repairs, you may be dealing with lost wages and high medical bills. A personal injury claim is one way to make your life easier during this tough time.
But you may be wondering how long an auto accident settlement takes and what the average payout is for a personal injury claim. We’ll cover these concerns along with factors that impact the processing time of your claim, and how to get help with your case.
Are You Required to Report an Accident?
In some states, there’s a requirement to report an auto crash that only involves property damage, but Arizona isn’t one of them. However, you must immediately report an accident that involves an injury or death. The best places to make your report are the nearest highway patrol office, the county sheriff, or the local police department in the area.
Auto Accident Settlements in Arizona
A settlement is a method for informally handling a case with a remedy that’s mutually agreeable for both parties. During a settlement, both parties drop the lawsuit, and one party can receive a payout without having to pay extra legal fees in a courtroom battle.
How Much Should You Ask for?
You’re probably wondering, “How much money will I get from my auto accident settlement?” and the short answer is, it depends on the situation. When you’re filing an injury claim, one of the first things you must do is decide the value of the case. Here are some of the factors to consider for your settlement proposal:
- Insurance coverage policy limits
- Lost wages from missing work
- Pain and suffering
- Costs of car repairs
- Medical bills
You can’t begin negotiating a settlement until you figure out how much money you need and how much you can reasonably expect. All accidents are different. For example, a simple rear-end accident will settle for much less than a head-on collision with serious injuries. You’ll have to know exactly what damages you want to claim and what types of awards the jurisdiction you’re working with tends to make. An attorney can likely help you determine this.
Factors that Impact Settlement Timelines
When you’ve been in an accident, one of the first questions you’ll have is how long it will take until you can recover damages. As with all legal matters, automobile accident settlements take time. Keep in mind that pending insurance claims don’t have an effect on the time limit for starting a legal case.
The Statute of Limitations in AZ
Arizona has a 2-year limit (statute of limitations) for filing a legal case concerning an auto accident. There are a couple exceptions to this limit, such as only becoming aware of your injury later on after the accident. In that case, you have two years from the date you became aware of it to file a case.
The other exception is if one of the people in the crash was a minor, in which case the filing could begin on the day they turn 18. Because of the statute of limitations for personal injury claims, it’s best to start your process as soon as you can.
Issues that can Slow Down Your Case
How long does it take for personal injury claims to settle? There are many different factors at play when it comes to an accident claim, so an estimation is impossible to make without more information. Working with a personal injury attorney is one way to get an idea of what you can expect. But there are some issues that can slow down your case:
- Not knowing what your ongoing medical care will look like yet
- The necessity of filing a lawsuit to recover the amount you need
- Having difficulty reaching an agreement with the other party
- Evidence or legal factors in the case that need more review
- The other party denying responsibility
- Missing case information
If any of these factors are present in your case, it may take a while to settle unless you’re willing to accept less money.
Due Diligence for Insurance Companies
Another element that may delay your settlement is dealing with large damages. Insurers won’t pay big sums of money without doing their due diligence, and some companies will even intentionally delay settlement to see if you will accept less. In order to settle, insurance agencies must first make sure you’re telling the truth about your injuries and that they don’t have a solid defense.
Factors that Affect Your Settlement Amount
The amount of your settlement depends on how long you’ve been out of work, how injured you are, whether you’ll need treatment in the future, and the cost of your medical bills. Here are some other factors that can impact how much you receive for your claim:
How long you’re willing to wait: If you want a fast settlement, you can get one if you’re willing to take a low sum. However, most of the time, this won’t cover all of your expenses and waiting is the better option.
When you file: As mentioned before, you have a limited amount of time to file your injury claim. If you file it too late, the statute of limitations in Arizona might prevent you from receiving compensation.
Filing on your own: If you file by yourself (without the help of a lawyer), you might not get as much compensation as you need and deserve. The insurance company will typically give you a low offer initially, which is usually less than what you could get with legal assistance.
Another factor that can impact the amount you receive for your settlement is what you say to the negligent party or insurance company. This can also play a role in how long it takes to receive your money.
How to Get the Best Outcome
The most reliable way to get a favorable outcome in your auto accident settlement is to work with a personal injury attorney who can review your situation. Signing a settlement without talking with a legal professional can have serious consequences, which include receiving a settlement that’s too low to cover what you need. Talk with one of our experts today.
Call our Personal Injury Attorney team at (480) 467-4392 to discuss your case today.
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