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How Long Does it Take to Get a Car Accident Settlement in North Carolina?

If you’ve been in an accident and are wondering about the insurance claim settlement process and timeline, you’re not alone.  Everyone involved in the incident wants to know how long it will take to work through the paperwork, phone calls, and added headache of resolving issues around damaged vehicles, insurance, and healing from injuries. It can be a confusing and frustrating process and insurance companies often try to offer you less than your medical bills or injury claim deserve. At Rosensteel Fleishman, PLLC, our personal injury attorneys understand that dealing with the aftermath of a car accident can be stressful and overwhelming and that's why we're here to help you navigate the legal process as efficiently as possible and answer any questions that you may have.

Before you start, it’s important to understand your rights as a car accident victim. You could have medical bills from injuries sustained in the accident, lost wages from time off work after the accident, and at the very least, damage to your vehicle. 

First Steps After an Accident 

When you are involved in a car accident in North Carolina, the most important thing is to take care of the people involved in the crash by seeking medical attention and having any injuries evaluated and treated. Be sure to keep all the documentation such as medical bills, repair costs, police reports, and any other evidence related to the accident as they become available. Depending on the severity of your injuries and what treatments or rehabilitation are necessary, this process can be fairly quick, or can be quite a long process. 

Get Your Case Evaluated by a Lawyer

At this point, it is important to consult with a lawyer to assess the details of your case before contacting the insurance company. They understand how to obtain a fair settlement that reflects all medical expenses, lost wages, and loss of personal property that resulted from the accident. An experienced lawyer can also help you determine whether you have a viable claim, which depends heavily on the details of your case and the parties involved. 

How Do You Determine and Prove Liability?

The process of settling a car accident claim usually starts with determining who is at fault for the accident. If the accident is not complicated and one party was clearly at fault, your case may settle more quickly. However, if the circumstances surrounding the accident are more complicated because both parties were partially at fault or if the witnesses and those involved disagree about what happened, it may take longer for your case to be resolved. Evidence such as police reports, witness statements, and photos taken at the scene of the accident can be used to help prove liability. After it has been determined who was at fault in the accident, negotiations can begin to settle the claim. In some cases, it may take months or even years to resolve a car accident claim, especially if the injuries from the victims are very serious. 

Eyewitness testimony can play an important role in determining liability and what events happened leading up to the accident. It is very important to talk to witnesses as soon as possible after the accident to be sure that their memories are still fresh. This will help ensure that their accounts are accurate and credible in court or negotiations. The police officer who responds to the accident will likely work to gather these statements as the scene of the accident.

File an Insurance Claim 

Once you have an attorney, the attorney will notify the insurance companies of the claims. The insurer will review the claims and investigate the incident to determine liability. This process might take 2-4 weeks, depending on factors such as the complexity of the case and how much information is available. Once liability is determined, the insurer will begin settlement negotiations regarding property damage with the other party or parties involved in the crash.

Later, after all of the medical treatment is concluded and the bills and records have been gathered, the attorney and the insurance company will negotiate over the bodily injury portion of the case. If a settlement cannot be reached, the case may proceed to trial. This is rare, however, as most companies would like to avoid the additional fees of preparing for a trial.

Determining Compensation for Your Injuries from the Car Accident

Calculating the value of your car accident claim can be a time-consuming process even if you have all the bills and documentation from injuries and damages that occurred as a result of the accident. Ideally, you should have insurance records from the car accident, medical bills from treating the injuries, photos of the damage, and witness statements. This is where the expertise of a car accident attorney can be invaluable in helping you navigate the process and shorten the time until you receive a settlement.

How Long Do You Have to File a Car Accident Lawsuit?

In most cases, personal injury car accident lawsuits in North Carolina have a statute of limitations of three years from the date of injury. For example, if an accident occurred on Jan. 1, 2023, a personal injury car accident lawsuit must be filed no later than Dec. 31, 2026. This is not always the case, so to determine the statute of limitations on your individual case it is important to speak with an attorney.

Can you sue your insurance company for taking too long to pay a claim?

As we have discussed above, the time to receive an insurance settlement can vary based on the details of your specific case. Most of the time, the claim is settled out of court through negotiations between both parties. If an agreement cannot be reached, a lawsuit may be filed. Insurance company adjusters must investigate a claim before making an offer and it takes time for them to get responses from police officers, gather medical bills, and process the claim. If you believe the insurance company has not acted in good faith with regard to your car accident claim, there are legal steps you can take and you may be able to sue the insurance company for taking too long to pay your claim. An experienced car accident attorney can help you assess whether the timeline for settlement is normal or if the insurance company is unnecessarily extending the time to settlement.

When you’re ready, we’re here to help.

It can be overwhelming to navigate the aftermath of a bad car accident, but it's important to do your research and understand your rights and options. A lawyer can help you assess your case and determine the best course of action. They can also offer guidance on any legal issues you may face in the future. Call Rosensteel Fleishman, LLC today at 1-704-714-1450 for a free consultation on your case.

"Our goal is to assist our clients in the legal process and fight for fair compensation for their injuries." said Corey Rosensteel, one of the attorneys at Rosensteel Fleishman, PLLC. "We work hard to ensure that our clients do not feel overwhelmed as we help guide them through the steps."

This can be a complex process, but you don’t have to do it alone. Call today.

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