How Long Will It Take to Settle Your Car Accident Case and Will You Have to Go to Court?

Have to Go to Court?Even a relatively minor car accident can have a big impact on your life. The more serious the accident, the more it is likely to impact all aspects of your life. A serious accident often results in both physical and emotional pain, not to mention the financial hardship that commonly occurs if a victim is unable to work as a result of his/her injures. The good news is that if another party’s negligence caused, or contributed to, the accident you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Understandably, you likely want to know how long it will take to settle your car accident case and whether or not you will have to go to court.

Because every car accident involves a unique set of facts and circumstances there is no way to predict exactly how long your case will take to settle; however, a better understanding of the factors that commonly impact the settlement timetable may help you estimate a timetable for your case.

  • Severity of injuries – as a general rule, settlement negotiations will not even begin until a victim has reached “maximum medical improvement”, or MMI. MMI is the point at which further treatment will not significantly improve your condition. This does not necessarily mean you are completely healed, only that further treatment will not significantly improve your condition. Only when you have reached MMI will you be able to determine a value for your injuries.
  • Issue of negligence – if the other party does not admit that they were negligent it can take much longer to settle your case, if settlement is even possible.
  • Insurance coverage – in most personal injury accident cases it is an insurance adjuster who is actually negotiating the settlement of the case. Some companies are known for settling quickly and reasonably while others make it a policy to hold out as long as possible.
  • Expectations of parties – your expectations will have a direct impact on how fast your case settles. If you have an unrealistic idea of the value of your injuries it will be difficult for your attorney to reach a settlement agreement.

As long as you are eventually able to reach a settlement agreement it will not be necessary for you to appear in court for any reason. In fact, most personal injury accident cases are settlement without the need to ever file an actual lawsuit. If, however, settlement negotiations are not moving toward a settlement it may be necessary to file a lawsuit and eventually present your case to a jury. In that case you will need to appear in court; however, keep in mind that cases that go to trial are a small minority.

If you would like an individualized assessment of the value of your personal injury accident case, consult with the experienced Tennessee personal injury accident attorneys at Bennett, Michael & Hornsby. Contact the team today by calling 615-898-1560 to schedule your appointment.


Dinah Michael