Unfortunately, there is not a simple answer to how long a car accident claim takes to settle in Jacksonville. Multiple factors can impact the length of time it takes to settle in a car accident claim.
It is certainly understandable that when you are dealing with injuries, doctor’s appointments, and bills piling up, you want to know how long it is going to take to achieve the conclusion of your claim. After all, while you may want to see justice served, you probably just want your life to go back to normal.
If there is substantial evidence available for your case, a settlement may be attained more quickly if the case does not need to go to trial. However, if the case does go to trial, and even if the judgment is in your favor, the insurance company can file an appeal. It all adds more time and can greatly delay a settlement.
Common Litigation Phases That Can Affect the Timeline of a Settlement
Generally, the phases of litigation that can affect how long it takes to reach a settlement are:
- The civil complaint is filed by the plaintiff, which means the lawsuit officially starts.
- A copy of the complaint is then served to the defendant.
- Generally, the defendant is given a certain amount of time to file a response to the complaint.
- The case enters the discovery phase where evidence and information are exchanged between parties.
- The trial will take place if a settlement cannot be reached beforehand.
- If either the plaintiff or defendant does not like how the trial was concluded, they could file an appeal. This appeal could add significant time to the case.
It is typically preferred by both sides of the dispute to reach a settlement without having to go to trial. If this can be accomplished, it can drastically shorten the amount of time spent in litigation. Sometimes there is crucial, undeniable evidence presented that could lead to a motion of summary judgment. This means that a judge will make the final decision before the case goes to trial.
Factors That Can Affect the Amount of Time Spent in Litigation
Each accident case is different, but the factors that can shorten or extend the timeline are:
- The plaintiff: the plaintiff and their lawyer will fight the case to achieve what they deem is a fair and full settlement.
- The defendant: if the defendant is not easily tracked down to serve papers, falsifies or withholds evidence, or files an appeal, these factors can complicate the case and extend the timeline.
- The insurance company: the insurance company may claim that you have no legal right to sue and will not offer a proper settlement until a judge says otherwise.
- Proving liability: the witness statements, the defendant, and the plaintiff may all be providing very different stories.
- Evidence: eyewitness statements, police reports, professional medical opinions, or even a confession can all affect the discovery phase.
- Value of the case: the lawsuit may be worth a substantial amount of money. If this is the case, the defendant will most likely do their due diligence to have the claim reduced or denied during the trial.
- Covered losses: the process could be delayed by the nature of your injuries or if you are still receiving treatment. Maximum medical improvement may need to be reached before that value of your losses can be determined. In addition, a professional witness, such as your doctor, may be required to testify that your injuries did, in fact, result from the accident.
The Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine Can Help
FL § 95.11 imposes a deadline to file a lawsuit. Based on that deadline, it is possible that a case could take years to finalize. Call the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine at 1-800-747-3733 to get started today with a free, no-risk consultation. We can help you understand your options and provide 24/7 support during the process.