How long it takes to get a settlement check from a car accident in Florida depends on the strength of your case and whether you settle out of court or file a lawsuit. It also depends on how large your case is, which insurance company handles the claim, and the nature and extent of your injuries. Based on your situation, it could take anywhere from a few days to a few years to get compensated.
Fortunately, most Florida car accident claims settle sooner rather than later. If your case must go to court to get you the fair financial settlement you deserve for your injuries, a skilled lawyer can help.
Florida Operates on a No-Fault Insurance System
Florida is a no-fault insurance state, meaning drivers must carry at least $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) insurance to pay for medical care after an accident, regardless of fault. According to Florida Statutes § 627.736, PIP pays for 80 percent of necessary, accident-related treatment received within 14 days of your collision.
Because fault is not an issue with PIP, you may receive a settlement more swiftly than you would from a claim against another driver’s liability insurance policy. However, if you have severe injuries or your medical care exceeds your PIP coverage, a third-party claim may be necessary to fully recoup your losses.
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Will My Case Settle or Go To Court?
We cannot say for sure whether your case will settle or go to court. It is not possible to know why the insurance company may contest your case. However, this is the single most important factor in determining how long it takes to get a settlement check after a car crash.
Whenever we can obtain an out-of-court settlement for a client who sustained a brain injury, spinal cord damage, or another serious injury, it means they receive the funds they need that much sooner. Those funds are critical for getting the right medical care and paying their household bills.
If you have a strong case but the insurance company is unwilling to negotiate in good faith, filing a lawsuit may be your only option for recovering compensation. A car accident lawyer in Florida can act as your advocate throughout the claims process.
How Can I Tell If I Have a Strong Case?
If we can obtain hard evidence that another party’s negligence caused your wreck and your injuries, we can make a strong argument that you deserve compensation. We will build a case using:
- Eyewitness statements
- Medical bills and records
- Expert medical opinions
- Information from the crash site
- Available photographs, surveillance video, cell phone video, or dashcam footage
- Official police reports
The more persuasive the evidence is in your case, the less time it could take to get a settlement. A strong case with credible evidence is more likely to convince the insurance company to settle. If the evidence is less-than-convincing, however, the lawyers for the insurance company can find ways to drag the process out.
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Lump Sums Versus Structured Settlements
If you resolve your case through an insurance settlement, you could recover compensation in one of two ways:
- A lump sum. This is when the insurance company cuts you a check for the full cost of your damages upfront. In this situation, you would get the money you need all at once.
- A structured settlement. Instead of getting a check, the insurance company would pay you over time. For instance, suppose you get a $1 million settlement. Instead of getting a $1 million check, the insurance company might send you a certain amount each month until it pays the full sum.
Once your claim is settled, the insurance company has a mandatory deadline for rendering your lump sum or first structured payment. According to Florida Statutes § 627.4265, the insurance company has 20 days from the time you signed a settlement agreement to tender payment. If the insurance company does not pay on time, it may owe you additional interest.
What Is the Value of My Car Accident Claim?
The value of your claim will depend on your damages. Serious, permanent injuries generally merit more compensation, for example, because they are more expensive to treat and manage long-term. Other factors that can affect your case’s value include:
- How much work you missed due to your injuries and whether or not you can return to your job
- Your age
- The extent of your pain and suffering
- The cost of past and future necessary medical treatment
- The cost of your vehicle and personal property damage expenses
The smaller your claim is, the more likely it is to settle quickly. Insurance companies try to minimize liability. These organizations rarely pay out large claims without a fight. More minor claims, however, may cause less of a challenge. An insurer may pay out smaller claims faster to reduce legal fees.
Your Settlement Should Account for the Full Scope of Your Losses
A fair settlement should account for more than your initial medical bills; it should account for the full scope of your injury-related losses. Recoverable damages include:
- Your medical bills. Compensation should account for the health care expenses you already incurred and will continue to incur in the future, including doctor and hospital bills, rehabilitation, medical equipment, and long-term care services.
- Your lost income. Getting injured may have caused you to lose tips, bonuses, hourly wages, and more. Your case’s value should also account for your future loss of earning capacity.
- Property damage costs. You shouldn’t have to pay for replacing or repairing your car. That’s the liable party’s obligation.
Insurance policies generally do not compensate injured claimants for non-economic losses, such as pain and suffering. However, if your case goes to court, you can request pain and suffering along with other related damages. Non-economic awards may include payment for depression, stress, anxiety, loss of bodily function, scarring, disfigurement, and mental anguish.
Additionally, if your loved one suffered a fatal injury, we can help you seek wrongful death compensation. Your family member’s estate and beneficiaries may recover awards for medical expenses, funeral and burial costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
What If My Injuries Are Serious?
The more serious your injuries, the longer it will typically take to settle your claim. In addition, if you are still seeing doctors and getting treatment, determining the type of care you will need in the future can present a larger challenge. A lawyer with our firm can help you fight for fair compensation for a range of injuries, including:
- Head injuries
- Neck and back injuries
- Sprains, strains, and contusions
- Severe cuts and bruising
- Facial injuries
- Broken or crushed limbs
- Internal bleeding and organ damage
To collect a settlement, we must prove the extent of your injuries and how they affect your life and future. That includes losses you will face if you are not able to return to work. As noted above, the higher the cost of your claim, the more roadblocks the insurance company may throw up.
A Florida Car Accident Lawyer from Our Firm Will Seek What You Need
Pursuing compensation after a car accident is more than filling out a few forms. It requires proving the cost of your damages, negotiating for what you need, and being aware of bad faith insurance practices.
All of these obligations in your collision’s aftermath can quickly overwhelm you – even if you know how to file a claim. To get a settlement check for your car accident in Florida, our team will:
- Document each of your losses. This includes obtaining and calculating your medical bills, lost time from work, and other hardships.
- Review the liable party’s insurance policy. You may have coverage options that you didn’t even know about. We can read the “fine print” and hold the insurer accountable for what you are owed.
- Use evidence to prove your case. Using your medical records, employment records, and other supporting information, we can build a solid case. Then, we can present it to the insurance company to promote a favorable outcome.
- Consult with third-party field experts. We have a wide network of consultants who lend their insight into certain cases. To determine what you are owed, we may consult with health care professionals, people in your field of employment, and economists.
Based on your case’s needs, we may employ additional measures to those listed here, including seeking compensation in civil court. According to Florida Statutes § 95.11(3)(a), you generally have four years to file a lawsuit after suffering harm in a collision. You have less time to file if you lost a loved one (usually two years). You can trust our team to file your case within those deadlines.
How Can I Talk to a Lawyer About My Car Accident Case?
A great way to determine how long it will take to get a settlement check for a car accident in Florida is to talk to a car accident lawyer. Contact the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine today at 1-800-747-3733 for a free consultation with an attorney.
During this no-obligation discussion, we can talk about your case’s possible outcome, how much you are owed, and other relevant matters. We offer our services on contingency, meaning we can represent you at no upfront cost. We only collect a fee if we win your case.
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