After the police report has been filed, your car has been fixed (or at least estimated), and you’re starting to heal from your injuries, you may be wondering how long it might be before you actually receive a settlement from a car accident. West Virginia has a process for car accident cases to go through before you actually “get a big check.” There are a lot of variables involved with a car accident settlement, and getting a fast settlement may leave money on the table that you may need later.
Quick settlements aren’t always a good idea. If you’re being pressured by an insurance company to settle your car accident case, it’s time to ask for help from a qualified personal injury attorney who knows how to handle accident cases in West Virginia. Even if you have an attorney you’ve worked with on other matters, it’s best to find someone who works exclusively with personal injury cases.
West Virginia Statute of Limitations
West Virginia has a two-year window of time, called the “statute of limitations,” for claims and lawsuits to be filed. That window begins the day of the accident. Most people aren’t able to file a suit the day of the accident, so you should find a personal injury attorney to assist you as soon as you’re able to.
In West Virginia, the party at fault is required to reimburse the injured party for all accident related expenses. If you have been assigned partial fault, this may affect your settlement, depending on how much you were at fault. If your fault is less than 50%, you can be awarded a settlement.
Your claim with the other party’s insurance company may be all you need to file if your case is minor and you’re able to handle it yourself. Insurance companies want to settle quickly and get your case out of the way. They also may drag out talking to you so that you’re unable to file during the statute of limitations. But if your case involves debilitating injuries, the death of a passenger, or other devastating disruptions, filing suit may be your only option. Don’t speak to an insurance adjustor, sign anything or give any kinds of consent before talking to a personal injury attorney about your case!
You should also not discuss your case details with friends or on social media. Much like a divorce case, these things can be used against you in court, and can potentially impact settlement.
Each car accident case is different, and so is each settlement. When considering an offer, there are a number of costs that have to be added into the final figure. They include:
- Car repair/replacement costs
- Other property damages
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages/work time
- Pain and suffering
- Other related expenses
For instance—if your car was totaled, will you be able to replace it? If you’ve suffered severe injuries in the accident, will you be able to return to work one day, or are you permanently disabled? Will you need additional medical treatment, physical therapy or other medical-related expenses later? An experienced personal injury attorney working for you can help you decide on a suitable settlement.
In addition to compensatory damages, you may be eligible to recover punitive, or “punishment” damages, if the other party was in some way willfully malicious or negligent.
So to answer this question: it depends. On so many things, since every case is different. There isn’t a timetable that can tell you how long it will be before you’ll receive a settlement. A personal injury attorney who is experienced in these kinds of cases will be better able to give you an idea.
How much will an attorney cost? Many personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis—that is, there is only a fee if they successfully win your case and you’re awarded a settlement. We offer free consultations, contact our law firm today and book for an appointment at (304) 344 5683.