How Long Does a Car Accident Settlement Take?
There is no set time limit that claims take to reach settlements in Massachusetts. However, there are plenty of ways to project how much time a settlement might take based on each factor that leads to a settlement from the day you file a claim.
What Does No-Fault Car Insurance Mean in Massachusetts?
Every registered vehicle in Massachusetts is required to have car insurance. Massachusetts is a no-fault state, which means that anyone seriously injured, including passengers, in an accident will be compensated through personal injury protection, usually with a cap of $8,000.00. Additional compensation usually comes from the driver who was at fault for the accident.
No-fault also means that it does not matter who causes the accident or who owns the vehicle. If a person was injured in a vehicle collision, personal injury protection can help cover medical bills and up to 75% of lost income due to sustained injuries.
What Determines the Payout of a Car Accident?
The type of insurance policy, current and future medical bills, medical records, liability, loss of income, property damage (if applicable), and both physical and mental pain and suffering all impact how much a person will be compensated due to a car accident.
Having an attorney go through the filing process with you will ensure that you have all the right legal documentation to support your claim. They can also help you receive a higher settlement check by ensuring that you are providing the most supporting information possible.
Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering are not always physical when it comes to car accidents. The mental impact of an accident can sometimes take years to heal if the victim suffers from PTSD or emotional distress as a result of the incident. Compensation for therapy bills can also be included in a car accident lawsuit, as long as the victim is able to provide proof of their mental pain and suffering, along with the physical injuries.
What Do I Need for a Car Accident Lawsuit?
You should always consult with a lawyer before giving a statement to an insurance company and before seeking immediate legal action due to a car accident. If you are ready to pursue legal action, your lawyer will go over all of the documentation that you may need to support your case in the lawsuit.
The supporting evidence and documentation you will need for a lawsuit depends on the purpose of the legal action. For example, if your lawsuit regards damage caused by a roadway defect, you will need to know the following:
- The type of defect that caused your injury on a state highway
- The date, time, and exact location of the accident
- Any witnesses that were there that may be able to back your claim
- Proof of damage to your vehicle
- Proof of sustained injuries due to the accident
For most car accident lawsuits, you will need proof of lost wages due to your injuries preventing you from being able to work, medical bills, medical reports, bills for car repairs due to damage caused by the accident, and any supporting evidence you think may also apply, such as witness statements and witness contact information.
How Long Does a Car Accident Settlement Take?
Car accident lawsuits are not a quick way to receive compensation for the incident. Settlements can take months or even years before you are able to receive a settlement check. Whether the lawsuit goes to trial or whether it is settled out of court will make a great impact on how long the overall process will take.
If the Lawsuit Does Not Go to Trial
If the car accident claim does not go to trial, the amount of time a car accident settlement takes will be greatly reduced. Many cases can be resolved without ever going to trial.
For example, if two cars were involved in the accident, there were a lot of witnesses, and it was clear whose fault the accident was to everyone present, the case can be resolved much quicker. Taking a case to trial can be an extensive and expensive endeavor that likely both parties want to avoid.
Settling out of court means that both parties came to an agreement on compensation for the victim(s) of the accident without the need for further disputes.
If the Lawsuit Goes to Trial
A lawsuit will take much longer if it ends up going to trial. The length of the trial process can vary due to a variety of factors including testimonies, the scheduled court dates, evidence reviews, and how long it takes for the jury to decide.
If a lot of factors were involved in the incident, such as how many parties were involved, the extent of injuries sustained, and any property damage that resulted from the accident, the case may take significantly longer to resolve because it will require more facts to review.
How Soon Should I Hire a Lawyer After a Car Accident?
There is no set time that needs to pass before you consult with a lawyer about your car accident as long as the notice requirement or the status of limitations does not expire. This period can be as short as 6 months. The sooner that you seek legal advice in relation to your car accident, the better prepared you will be for any further legal action that you decide to pursue.
Consulting with a lawyer right away helps to ensure that you keep track of all the evidence and documentation that you might need during a lawsuit.
Bonville & Howard Attorneys at Law provides expert legal consultation to those considering their next steps after a car accident. Each member of our legal team possesses years of experience in distinct specialties, meaning we are a team with many different backgrounds of legal expertise to draw upon.
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