Car accident settlement timeline

There is no one-size-fits-all settlement process. While many car accident cases settle in just a few weeks or months, complicated claims can take years.

The simplest answer is that some claims take longer than others to settle, particularly the small number of cases that will make it to court.

Car Accident Settlements: Complicating Factors

You can expect your claim to take longer to process or be set in motion if one of the following factors is present:

You have severe and/or latent injuries.

It may be tempting to settle a car accident case as quickly as possible. After all, you need to pay your medical bills now. But before you sign the settlement agreement, speak with your auto accident attorney at Carner & DeVita. We understand that settling a claim before knowing the full extent of your injuries may lead to an ineffectual or vastly devalued settlement.

In other words, you should settle your claim only after you are healed or as healed as you can be. This will allow for a more accurate estimation of medical costs and will help your attorney negotiate for a more equitable settlement.

If you need to undergo a future medical procedure, your auto accident lawyer at Carner &

DeVita will consult with your doctor for an estimate of those costs. This way, you can receive compensation for anticipated future expenses.

The insurance company does not cooperate.

One of the deciding factors in answering the question, “How long does a car accident settlement take?” is how cooperative the insurance company is. After you and your Long Island car accident attorney at Carner & DeVita draft and send your demand letter, the insurance company will conduct an investigation and evaluate the claim on their own.

Although most car accident injury claims should not take more than a few weeks to settle, the insurance company will often delay payment. Sometimes, they will not respond at all.

Clients may be intimidated if the insurance company fails to respond to the demand letter. Some abandon their claims altogether if they don’t seek qualified legal counsel to negotiate effectively.

This is not recommended; if you abandon your claim, you won’t receive the money you need to pay your medical bills and other expenses. Don’t let the insurance company deter you from taking action to recover the money you need. If they fail to respond, our car accident injury lawyers at Carner & DeVita will file a lawsuit and move toward awarding you a fair outcome.

Auto Accident Settlement Timeline

At Carner & DeVita, our Long Island car accident attorneys work swiftly but rigorously to recover the compensation you deserve. Because every case is different, it would be irresponsible to provide a specific estimate as to how long your unique claim will take to settle.

However, we can provide a general timeline of the car accident settlement process in New York and what you can expect going forward.

Legal review and investigation.

This is the first step to take after the initial consultation with a Carner & DeVita attorney. Your legal team will assess the efficacy of pursuing a personal injury lawsuit – after all, most car accident cases can be settled satisfactorily out of court.

Your lawyer will make this decision by obtaining and evaluating the facts of the case during the period of investigation. In New York, an injured person can take the other party to court only if their case meets certain thresholds:

  • Serious injury threshold. For an individual to sue the other party in a car accident case, they must have suffered a personal injury that resulted in dismemberment; significant disfigurement; loss of fetus; fracture; permanent loss of use of a body organ, function, or system; permanent limitation of use of a body part or organ; significant limitation of use of a body function or system, or a medically determined non-permanent injury that prevents an individual from performing daily activities for no less than 90 days during the 180 days following the accident.
  • Basic economic loss threshold. In New York, a person may also sue if they incurred a basic economic loss of at least $50,000. They must prove that the crash caused an injury or damage that resulted in this loss.

Representation agreement.

After your New York car crash lawyer investigates the facts of the case and decides which course of legal action to take, you will enter into an agreement that allows us to represent you. Because our lawyers work on a contingency basis, we won’t be paid until you receive a settlement.

Filing the insurance claim.

Your attorney at Carner & DeVita will help file the initial claim that gets your case rolling. If you meet the threshold requirements for serious injury or economic loss, you and your attorney may decide to file a lawsuit.

It’s imperative that you and your legal team do so within the statute of limitations. For car crashes, you must file a lawsuit within three years from the date of the accident. It’s a good idea to stay in frequent communication with your lawyer; there may be other deadlines specific to your case that must be met to continue the legal process.


This is a formal legal process where the parties involved in a lawsuit exchange information and evidence. Part of discovery is acquiring the facts of the case through questioning, obtaining medical and other official documents, and taking depositions or affidavits from both parties and any witnesses.

Settlement negotiations.

The next step in the car accident injury settlement process is for your attorney to enter into official negotiation with the other party’s legal team. If you and your lawyer decide to accept a settlement, the other party will be released from further liability.

This process begins when your lawyer makes a demand. The other party and their lawyer

will either agree or present a different offer. This may continue for weeks or months if a 

settlement cannot be reached. If you and your attorney accept the other party’s

offer, your case will be resolved.

It’s important to remember that most car accident cases in New York are settled out of court, but it is possible to go to trial if the parties cannot reach a settlement.

Carner & DeVita Is Here for You After Your Car Accident

If you were injured in a Long Island car accident and believe you have a claim, contact Carner & DeVita today. We function as your legal experts but also as your advising team, representing you with strategy and vigor in every step of the process. We are steadfast in negotiations and are committed to providing you and your family with the compensation you need.

Call (631) 543-7070 today for a free case consultation.