When you are involved in a car accident, you instantly have several concerns. If you received injuries in the crash, you worry about how serious your injuries are. How long it will take you to recover? Will you get your medical bills fully covered?
You’re also fretting about the damage to your car and what you’ll do while waiting to have it fixed or when you’ll receive a check because it’s totaled. You aren’t sure how long it will take to have your insurance claim settled.
Because Tennessee is an at-fault insurance state, settling your insurance claim can take at least a couple months. Here are the factors that can make the claim take longer to settle:
- Deciding who was at fault for the accident. This includes police and the insurance companies examining evidence from the accident scene (the police reports and gathering witness statements). If you shared a part of the liability for the accident, how much was it? If it was 25%, you will receive compensation from the other driver’s insurance company for 75% of the accident costs.
- Determining if a third party was liable for the accident. What if a defective part on the other driver’s car caused the accident? Or if a roadway was poorly maintained and that caused the accident? In both those situations, a third party could be liable for the accident. When a third party is involved in settling a claim, the process takes longer because it takes longer to investigate how much faulty equipment or roadways played a role in the crash.
- Determining what your injury costs will be. If you were seriously injured, where you have a permanent disability or disfigurement, then your case likely will take longer to settle. It takes time to determine a settlement for future medical needs and lost wages. That calculation is based somewhat on your initial recovery. You should consult a personal injury attorney if you have a serious injury, because you want to make sure that the insurance company is compensating you fairly.
- Settling your personal injury claim in court. If your case ends up in court, settling your claim will stretch longer because of a mandatory discovery period (allowing both sides to collect evidence) and a possible appeal if you aren’t satisfied with a verdict.
In the end, some auto accident claims can take a year or more to settle, based on complicating factors. Regardless if the process takes two months or 12, you want to get your medical costs covered so you can focus on recovery and moving forward.