Why Is My Car Accident Settlement Taking So Long in California? (2024)

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Car accidents are a leading cause of accidental injuries and deaths throughout the United States each year, and every state has different rules for addressing the aftermath of a car accident. In California, the fault rule applies, so whichever driver is responsible for causing an accident absorbs liability for the resulting damages. If you were recently hurt in a car accident caused by another driver, it is perfectly reasonable to worry about how long it could take to secure the compensation you legally deserve.
Why is My Car Accident Settlement Taking So Long?

Factors That Complicate Car Accident Claims

If you have successfully proven that another driver is to blame for your recent car accident, you are likely to wonder how long it could take for you to see the results of your legal efforts. State law requires all drivers to have auto insurance, so an insurance claim against the at-fault driver is likely to be your first step toward recovering compensation for your losses. However, filing an auto insurance claim can be more challenging than it may seem at first, and you are likely to face additional challenges if you must pursue further legal recourse. A few issues that might arise and extend the time it takes for you to receive your car accident settlement include:
  • Disputes regarding fault for the accident. Your attorney may need time to gather the evidence needed to firmly prove liability for the accident. This may include traffic camera footage and statements from eyewitnesses.
  • Insurance claims. Filing an insurance claim for a car accident can be incredibly frustrating, especially when an insurance company representative does not handle a legitimate claim in good faith. Your attorney can handle your insurance claim on your behalf and handle any bad faith issues that might arise.
  • Uncovering claimable losses. State law allows the victim of a personal injury to seek full repayment for all the economic losses the at-fault driver caused. However, not all these damages will be immediately calculable. Your attorney might need time to coordinate with your medical care team to determine the scope of medical treatment you will require and to calculate future lost income if you are unable to return to work.
  • Comparative fault. California upholds a pure comparative negligence law, so a plaintiff can still recover compensation for a personal injury even if they share fault for the incident. They will lose a percentage of their case award to reflect their shared fault. Determining the fault percentage of each liability typically falls to a judge, so litigation in any contested car accident case will significantly increase the time it takes to recover compensation.
Ultimately, every car accident case is unique, and every victim will face a wide range of legal challenges as they seek accountability and compensation for their damages. Having an experienced attorney’s assistance with your auto insurance claim can streamline your initial recovery, but if you must file a personal injury case to recover compensation for losses that insurance won’t cover, it will take much longer. The sooner you consult with a reliable attorney after your accident, the better your chances are of recovering your losses as quickly as the law allows.


Q: How Long Does It Take to Get Paid After a Car Accident Settlement?

A: The time it will take you to recover compensation for your recent car accident depends heavily on whether the at-fault driver accepts responsibility for the accident and the scope of the losses you suffered. Many factors could arise that extend the time it takes you to secure compensation for your losses. Working with an experienced attorney is the optimal way to streamline your recovery.

Q: How Long Do Most Car Accident Settlements Take?

A: On average, most car accident victims are able to settle their legal proceedings within a few months. However, if a car accident case must be resolved through litigation for any reason, it could take longer than a year. Other variables that can influence your case’s timetable include disputes regarding liability for an accident, reaching maximum medical improvement from your injuries, and difficulties with insurance claim adjusters.

Q: How Is Car Accident Settlement Value Calculated?

A: The total potential value of any car accident claim hinges on the scope of the victim’s economic damages, such as their property losses, medical expenses, and lost income. State law allows the victim to seek compensation for both immediate and future damages. Your car accident attorney can provide an estimate of the total compensation you are able to claim from the driver who caused your accident.

Q: What Happens if a Car Accident Is Fatal?

A: If you have lost a loved one in a fatal car accident, you may have grounds to file a wrongful death claim against the driver who caused the accident. While a wrongful death claim is similar to a personal injury case in some procedural respects, there are several key differences you must understand if you want to succeed with your case. Hiring an attorney offers the greatest chance of reaching a positive outcome in this difficult sort of civil case.

Q: Do I Need an Attorney After a Car Accident?

A: You have the right to attempt to recover from a car accident without hiring an attorney, but you would face several significant risks in doing so. You would be forced to contend with strict filing deadlines and other rules for both an insurance claim and a personal injury claim, and any mistakes could jeopardize your recovery. You could also unintentionally settle for less than you are legally owed. Working with legal counsel you can trust significantly improves your chances of reaching a positive outcome for your case.

Kreeger Law Firm has years of experience helping California clients recover from their car accidents, and we can put this experience to work for you. Whether you think you can recover with an insurance claim alone or you anticipate a more extensive personal injury case, we can help. Contact us today and schedule a consultation with our team to learn more about the legal services we offer.