how long does a car accident settlement take

Being involved in a car accident is a stressful experience, and navigating the aftermath can be frustrating. One of the most common questions victims have is, “How long does a car accident settlement take in Ohio?”

Understanding the timeline for a car accident settlement is crucial for managing expectations and planning for the future. Knowing what to expect can help alleviate some of the stress and uncertainty.

Call Bensinger Legal Services at (419) 455-1410 today for a free consultation.

Why Is My Car Accident Settlement Taking So Long?

The timeline for a car accident settlement can vary significantly depending on the specifics of your accident. You might think it’s taking a long time, but it’s on par with the timeline for similar cases.

Initial Investigation and Claim Filing

The initial investigation and claim filing are the first steps in the settlement process. This phase involves gathering evidence, obtaining police reports, and documenting injuries. It can take anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks. In severe accidents with disputed liability, it can take even longer.

Medical Treatment and Documentation

After the initial claim is filed, the focus shifts to medical treatment and documentation. It’s essential to seek medical attention immediately after the accident and follow through with all recommended treatments. Depending on the severity of the injuries, this phase can vary significantly in length, from a few weeks to several months.

Settlement Negotiations

Settlement negotiations can begin once medical treatment concludes, or you reach maximum medical improvement (MMI). During this stage, both parties will review evidence, assess the extent of the injuries, and negotiate a fair settlement amount. Settlement negotiations can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months.

Reaching a Settlement or Proceeding to Litigation

If you settle, finalizing the agreement and disbursing the funds is next. But how long does it take to get settlement money from a car accident claim? This process typically takes a few weeks as the insurance company will prepare a release to have you sign.

They won’t disburse funds until you sign and return the release. Remember how long a car accident settlement takes with a lawyer will also differ. That’s because the defendant must send the check to your lawyer, who must resolve any liens, take their fees, and disburse funds to you.

If you can’t negotiate a settlement, your case may proceed to litigation. Litigation can significantly extend the timeline.

Factors That Can Speed Up the Settlement Process

Looking to speed up the claims timeline? Keep these things in mind.

Clear Liability

When liability is clear, the settlement process tends to move much faster. Insurance companies are more likely to settle quickly if the fault is straightforward and ample evidence supports it.

Prompt Medical Treatment and Minor Injuries

Seeking medical attention immediately after the accident and maintaining thorough documentation can significantly speed up the settlement process. Timely medical treatment ensures your health and well-being and provides clear evidence of sustained injuries. Detailed medical records make it easier for your lawyer to build a strong case, which can prompt the insurance company to settle faster.

Cooperative Insurance Companies

The cooperation of the insurance companies involved can significantly influence the settlement timeline. Some insurers are willing to negotiate in good faith and settle claims quickly. For instance, if the insurers agree on the damages and liability early on, they can avoid prolonged negotiations and settle more swiftly.

Early Legal Representation

Hiring an experienced lawyer early on can also speed up your settlement. A lawyer with experience in car accident cases can navigate the legal complexities, handle communications with the insurance companies, and advocate on your behalf. Early legal intervention often leads to more efficient case management and quicker settlements.

Factors That Can Slow Down the Settlement Process

While some factors can expedite a car accident settlement, others can significantly slow it down.

Disputed Liability

One of the most common reasons for a delayed settlement is disputed liability. Resolving disputes often requires additional investigations, witness statements, and possibly expert testimony.

Severe or Complex Injuries

Serious injuries often require extensive medical treatment and lengthy recovery periods. In such cases, it’s essential to wait until the full extent of the injuries and future medical needs are known before settling. For example, if you sustain a traumatic brain injury or spinal cord injury, the long-term impact may not be immediately apparent.

Lengthy Medical Treatment and Recovery

Extended medical treatment and recovery can also delay the settlement process. If your recovery involves multiple surgeries, ongoing physical therapy, or long-term rehabilitation, this phase can take months or even years, extending the overall settlement timeline.

Uncooperative Insurance Companies

Insurance companies sometimes employ delay tactics to pressure claimants into accepting lower settlements. If the at-fault party’s insurer is uncooperative, they may dispute the claim’s value, request excessive documentation, or slow down their responses.

High Case Values

If your claim involves substantial damages, the insurer will likely scrutinize every detail to minimize their exposure. For instance, a claim involving extensive property damage, significant medical expenses, and lost wages will require more negotiation and verification, leading to a longer settlement process.


Cases that proceed to trial can take several months or even years to resolve. For example, a complex car accident case involving multiple parties and significant damages may face numerous legal hurdles, prolonging the settlement process.

Steps to Potentially Expedite Your Settlement

While certain factors can slow down the settlement process, there are proactive steps you can take to help expedite your car accident settlement in Ohio.

Gather Evidence Early

Collecting evidence immediately after the accident can significantly speed up your settlement process. Take photos of the accident scene, gather contact information from witnesses, and obtain a copy of the police report. Early evidence collection helps establish liability and supports your claim.

Stay in Contact with Your Lawyer

Maintaining regular communication with your lawyer is crucial. Keep them updated on your medical treatment and any new developments. Consistent communication ensures that your lawyer has all the necessary information to negotiate effectively on your behalf.

Follow Medical Advice

Adhere to your medical treatment plan. Attend all medical appointments, follow doctor’s recommendations, and complete prescribed treatments.

Avoid Social Media

Be cautious about what you post on social media during your case. Insurance companies often monitor claimants’ social media accounts for information that could undermine their claims. Avoid posting about the accident, your injuries, or other activities that could be misinterpreted.

Contact Bensinger Legal Services

You may be wondering, how long does a car accident settlement take? Aaron Bensinger at Bensinger Legal Services is here to help. With extensive experience and a client-focused approach, Aaron can provide the guidance and representation you need to achieve a fair settlement.

Contact Bensinger Legal Services today at (419) 455-1410 for a free consultation. Let us help you understand your rights, navigate the legal process, and work towards the compensation you deserve. 

Author Photo Aaron L. Bensinger

Aaron L. Bensinger is an Ohio attorney serving personal injury and civil litigation clients. He has extensive trial experience and makes client service is his primary focus. As a partner at Balyeat, Leahy, Daley, Miller & Bensinger, LLC, Aaron happily works in Lima, OH, and serves the entire Northwest region of the state and beyond.

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