In an ideal situation, it would take a little over a month for you to receive a settlement from the insurance company. However, insurance companies seldom allow for the best-case scenario. It’s more likely that your car accident case will take months to settle. Without the help of an experienced Long Island car accident lawyer, your case could take years to settle, if it even makes it that far.

Because every case is different, it would be dishonest of us to give a specific estimate without knowing the details of your case. However, we can provide a general timeline of the settlement process in New York and what you can expect going forward.

Auto Accident Settlement Timeline

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, and in New York, an injured person can only take the other party to court 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 Long Island car accident lawyer 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.


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.

Next, your attorney enters 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.

The 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.

Car Accident Settlements: Complicating Factors

In New York, how long your car accident settlement will take depends on many 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.

Although most car accident injury claims should not take more than a few weeks to settle, insurance companies 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.

How long will it take to receive my settlement after an initial offer from the insurance company?

Depending on your case, you can expect a check from an insurance company within 4-6 weeks after signing a settlement release. Sometimes, an insurer will include a check along with the release. There will be a stipulation that once the check is cashed, the ability to pursue higher damages is no longer available. The problem is, that check may not cover all of your losses.

What to Expect if You Sign a Settlement Release Early

Insurance companies and their adjusters will almost always expect to get a signed release from you before they write you a check. This process can take several days from the time your claim is fully processed. Getting a check in the mail can take even longer than that.

If your claim is being investigated there will be delays in receiving your initial settlement offer. Your insurer may request more information or they may tell you that certain coverage areas or costs are being denied.

Note that it’s critical for you to fight against any denials since insurers often misinterpret the language of their own policies to their financial advantage. An experienced Long Island car accident lawyer can help you in these situations.

Eventually, once a claim value has been determined and a settlement offer made, a check will reach you. In many cases, receiving this check will likely be the end of your dealings with the insurance company. This usually takes a little over a month, but it depends entirely on your specific case and the practices of the insurance company you’re dealing with.

Remember that once you sign a release, you cannot counter with a claim for more damages. That’s why you must have an experienced attorney review any settlement offer before you sign, especially if it obviously won’t cover all of your known costs.

Fighting for Fair Compensation in a New York Car Accident

Though a quick payout seems attractive, the best way to a fair and just settlement is typically by declining the initial offer from insurance companies. Their primary concern is profit, and they’re able to maximize that by offering you as little as possible as early as possible.

When looking over the settlement offer from an insurance company, consider giving Carner & DeVita a call for a free consultation at (631) 380-4417. We’ll help you fight the insurance company and pursue the full compensation you deserve, so don’t sign on the dotted line just yet! Give Carner & Devita a few minutes of your time, and it could mean a much brighter and quicker recovery in your future.