Settling a New Jersey car accident lawsuit can take as little as a few months. However, it is not uncommon for the process to take a number of years as well.
February 28, 2023

How Long Does It Usually Take to Settle a Car Accident Lawsuit?

Settling a New Jersey car accident lawsuit can take as little as a few months. However, it is not uncommon for the process to take a number of years as well. The amount of time it takes to settle a case will depend on a variety of factors, including the nature of the accident, the extent of the victim’s injuries, the willingness of the insurance company to cooperate with the process and the diligence of the accident victim’s attorney. 

Resolving a case through a pre-trial settlement is generally much faster than taking the case to trial. However, there are still many steps between the accident and settlement. 

Physical recovery after an accident

In most cases, after a New Jersey car accident, those involved suffer injuries requiring they obtain immediate medical treatment. Obtaining medical treatment is crucial to determine the extent of the damage caused by the accident. Medical records document the seriousness of an accident victim’s injuries, which is helpful for settlement negotiations. Depending on the accident victim’s injuries, they may have to spend days or weeks in the hospital. Once released, they will likely need to attend follow-up doctor’s appointments and may need to schedule additional procedures, surgeries and physical therapy appointments.

Investigating the accident 

Once an accident victim has started the physical recovery process and obtained a New Jersey personal injury attorney, the attorney will begin investigating the accident. An investigation will largely depend on the circumstances surrounding the accident. However, a typical investigation will include:

  • Visiting the scene of the accident;
  • Taking photographs of the scene;
  • Reviewing police reports;
  • Inspecting the vehicles involved in the crash;
  • Locating and interviewing eyewitnesses; 
  • Reviewing medical records;
  • Searching for other sources of other evidence, such as surveillance video; and
  • Reviewing the accident victim’s employment records. 

Once the investigation is complete, the attorney will use all the information gathered through the investigation to draft a demand letter addressed to the at-fault party’s insurance company. 

The Demand Letter

A demand letter outlines the facts of the accident, details the victim’s injuries, and provides a starting point for the negotiation process. In some New Jersey auto accident cases, the case may be settled without the accident victim ever needing to file a lawsuit. However, more often than not, the insurance company will either deny the claim or respond with a counteroffer. A dedicated personal injury attorney may be able to get the insurance company to increase their initial offer; however, if the insurance company is unwilling to make a fair offer, the accident victim must file a personal injury lawsuit. 

Filing the lawsuit

If the initial negotiations are fruitless, the accident victim will file a formal complaint against the at-fault driver and that driver’s insurance company. Once a claim is filed, the parties will go through the pre-trial discovery process. During the discovery phase, both sides will request information from the other that they believe will be relevant to the case. This may include medical records, accident reports, repair estimates, driving records, vehicle information and more. 

Once discovery is complete, an attorney can re-approach the bargaining table, seeking another settlement offer. At this point, the reality of going through a full trial will be weighing on the insurance company, and it may be more willing to submit a higher settlement offer. 

In all, the settlement process can take a number of years, and in certain instances there will need to be a jury verdict. However, with the assistance of a dedicated and motivated New Jersey Personal Injury Attorney at the Todd J. Leonard Law Firm, accident victims can ensure that their case is proceeding as quickly as possible, helping them obtain the compensation they deserve in a timely manner. 

Contact an Experienced New Jersey Car Accident Lawyer Now!

If you, or a loved one, suffered a serious injury in a New Jersey car accident, the dedicated personal injury lawyers at the Todd J. Leonard Law Firm are here to help. For more than 30 years, we have been helping clients who have been seriously injured in a car accident, or a pedestrian accident, slip and fall accident, motorcycle accident, truck accident, or were injured at work. We are a Five-Star rated law firm, recovering a total of more than $100 million on behalf of our clients. We will do our best to hold the negligent party (or parties) fully accountable for their actions, and get you the justice you deserve.  To learn more and to schedule a FREE consultation, give us a call today at 973-920-7900. You can also connect with us through our online form. There is no risk in calling because we never charge a fee unless we can help you recover compensation for your injuries. We have two conveniently located offices in Denville and Morristown, New Jersey.

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