How Long Until I Can Collect My Car Accident Settlement

How Long Until I Can Collect My Car Accident Settlement?

When you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident, you will need to file a car accident claim in order to receive a settlement. The settlement process can vary greatly as far as how long it takes to complete and how much compensation is awarded.

Working with an experienced auto accident law firm will help you to maximize the amount of compensation you get in your injury claim and in some cases minimize the amount of time it takes to navigate the process with insurance companies. However, faster is not always better, something that can be discussed in a free consultation with attorney Beverly R. Caruthers.

The Car Accident Lawsuit Process

Most car accident cases settle through the car insurance claim process, without a lawsuit ever being filed in court. However, if there is a dispute as to who was at fault for the crash, or the scope and extent of an injured person’s damages, a car accident lawsuit becomes a distinct possibility.

The litigation process for each case will differ based on any number of factors, but the standard timeline of a personal injury lawsuit provides a rough idea of how long things can take.

  • Step 1: The plaintiff files and serves the complaint
  • Step 2: The defendant answers the complaint.
  • Step 3: Discovery takes place.
  • Step 4: The case settles. Car accident cases can settle at any time, although most car accident cases settle after discovery and before trial.
  • Step 5: The trial occurs.
  • Step 6: Potential appeal.

Step 1: How Long Will It Take to File and Serve the Complaint?

It only takes a few moments to file a complaint with the court, but getting the facts necessary to prepare a complaint could take several days or even a few months. One thing the plaintiff needs to worry about is filing the complaint before the applicable statute of limitation expires. That’s the law that sets the deadline for filing a lawsuit.

After filing the complaint, the plaintiff must serve a copy of it on the defendant. This usually takes a few weeks to complete, but can take longer if the defendant is particularly hard to track down. If it takes extra time to serve the defendant, the plaintiff will often have to ask the court for an extension.

Step 2: How Long Does the Defendant Have to Answer the Complaint?

Depending on the court where the lawsuit is pending, the defendant will have about one month to file its answer to the plaintiff’s complaint. The answer is the plaintiff’s opportunity to respond to the plaintiff’s allegations. It’s also where the defendant can list out any affirmative defenses or counterclaims.

Step 3: How Long Will it Take to Complete Discovery?

Each side will request and exchange information that can serve as potential evidence at trial. Discovery almost always needs at least a few months to complete, but can sometimes take up to a year or more, especially if there are disputes over a party’s access to certain information.

Step 4: How Long Does a Car Accident Settlement Take to Complete?

A car accident case can settle almost immediately after the plaintiff files the complaint, or it can settle after a trial finishes. Often, a case will settle after one side learns or reveals important information that could potentially decide the case. This is why most settlements don’t happen until discovery is complete. (Car accident cases in particular tend to settle via the insurance claim process, perhaps after a few weeks or months, but once a lawsuit is filed, settlement is unlikely until the parties complete discovery.)

For example, if the defendant initially denies causing the accident, but during discovery video evidence emerges showing the defendant running a red light, there’s no longer a liability dispute. Assuming each side agrees on the extent of the plaintiff’s damages, the chances are pretty good the case will settle very soon after the deposition. Even if this revelation means the plaintiff has a slam dunk case, the plaintiff will often agree to settle now to avoid the uncertainty of trial

Given how long it usually takes to complete discovery, most cases settle within a few months to a few years after the lawsuit commences.

Step 5: How Long Will the Trial Last?

A trial starts with the plaintiff presenting evidence to support their allegations. This evidence will typically take the form of eyewitness and expert testimony and the submission of relevant documents, like photographs and medical records. After the plaintiff finishes, it’s the defendant’s turn to present evidence to refute what the plaintiff just claimed. A car accident trial usually only takes a day or two to complete.

Step 6: How Long Will an Appeal Take to Complete?

If one of the parties isn’t happy with the result of the trial, an appeal is possible. There are several levels of appeals—even just one level of appeal could take six months to a year to resolve. Sometimes, a defendant uses the prospect of appeal as leverage to settle a case. They threaten a lengthy and expensive appeal unless the plaintiff agrees to accept a settlement amount that’s less than what the plaintiff might reasonably expect to win at trial.

Spanish Speaking Car Accident Lawyer in Houston, Texas

Spanish-speaking individuals can have a more difficult time seeking justice in their personal injury cases due to language barriers. This causes them to not take action against those who have left them with financial devastation and physical trauma. At the Law Office of Beverly R. Caruthers, our team refuses to let a language barrier affect your right to justice and compensation. If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident and is in need of Spanish-speaking legal advice, our team is here for you.

Personal Injury Lawyer in Houston, Texas

If you or someone you love has been involved in a car accident and suffered an injury, experienced loss of income, or are unable to work due to a car accident, you can benefit from the services of a Houston car accident expert in your personal injury case. Whether you missed work due to an injury or due to not having access to a vehicle, Attorney Beverly R. Caruthers can help you!

Beverly R Caruthers Law Office
Address: 4141 Southwest Fwy, Suite 620
Houston, TX 77027
(713) 526-9557
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In the aftermath of an accident that leaves you or a loved one injured, it is crucial to know where to turn for support and justice. The Caruthers Law Firm stands as a beacon of unwavering commitment to the cause of pursuing justice for injury victims. With a track record that speaks volumes about our dedication to excellence and passion for our clients, we have garnered recognition throughout the Houston area as a trusted name in the legal community. When you or a family member suffers an injury due to the negligence of another, the need for an attorney who is not just competent but also recognized for their excellence becomes paramount. The Houston personal injury attorney at The Caruthers Law Firm fits that bill precisely. We have earned accolades and trust from our clients because we don not just handle cases; we champion causes. Our cases frequently involve traumatic, life-altering events, such as the loss of a loved one, and our relentless pursuit of justice ensures our clients receive the compensation necessary to secure their financial future. Our dedicated efforts have successfully secured over $50 million in settlements for our clients, and our commitment to excellence has brought us national recognition, particularly in fields like birth injury law. Whether your life has been upended by a tragic accident or the negligence of another party, you can confide in Caruthers Law Firm to handle your case with the utmost skill, dedication, and compassion in your time of need. Every case we undertake is treated with the gravity and importance it deserves, and we strive to provide the best possible representation to our clients. At Caruthers Law Firm, our attorneys boast an impressive array of knowledge and expertise in various practice areas, including personal injury, criminal defense, wrongful death, and more. We fully acknowledge that each case is unique, and we value the individual concerns and needs of our clients. This understanding leads us to craft tailored legal strategies that address each case is distinctive challenges. When you choose Caruthers Law Firm as your legal representation, you can expect a high degree of professionalism, unwavering integrity, and an unparalleled commitment from the beginning of your case to its conclusion. We are not just lawyers; we are advocates for your rights, dedicated to securing the justice you deserve.

For over three decades, Beverly R. Caruthers has been on an unwavering mission to provide her clients with top-notch, tenacious, and compassionate legal services and representation. Attorney Beverly R. Caruthers has not only amassed extensive experience but has also consistently delivered high-quality legal assistance to those who have sought her counsel. Her journey to legal expertise began with academic distinction, having graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts from Tougaloo College, followed by the acquisition of her Juris Doctor from Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University. With a primary focus on Personal Injury, Criminal Law, and Business Law, Attorney Beverly R. Caruthers has honed her legal acumen in these pivotal areas. Complementing her knowledge and skills, The Law Office of Beverly R. Caruthers is fortified by a collaborative team of seasoned and highly qualified attorneys. Together, they work tirelessly to achieve the best possible outcomes for each and every client they serve. In the Caruthers family, the pursuit of legal excellence seems to be a cherished tradition. Briona Caruthers, following in the footsteps of her older brother and colleague, hails from Missouri City, Texas, where she graduated from Elkins High School in 2015. Venturing outside her hometown, she spent four years at Hofstra University in New York, where she diligently earned her Bachelor Degree in Legal Studies in Business in 2019. After her academic journey in New York, she returned to her roots in Houston, Texas. There, she attended the same illustrious institution where her mother, Beverly R. Caruthers, and her brothers, Eddie and Parker Caruthers, had studied—the Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University. In 2022, Briona graduated Cum Laude from TSU, thereby continuing the family legacy. Beyond her legal pursuits, Briona finds solace in retail therapy and enjoys exploring the world through her travels when she is not in the office, fervently advocating for her clients rights. Parker Caruthers, another member of the Caruthers family, was born and raised in Missouri City, Texas, where he completed his high school education at Clements High School in 2012. His educational journey took him to Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas, where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing in 2017. Parker commitment to legal studies led him to the Thurgood Marshall School of Law at TSU, from where he graduated in 2021. During his time in law school, Parker legal prowess shone through as he secured victory in the Helen Dawn Williams Mock Trial competition, all while gaining valuable experience through internships at the Harris County District Attorney’s Office. Opting to take a different path by not pursuing prosecution, Parker joined Caruthers Law Firm in 2021. Beyond the legal realm, Parker passions extend to sports fandom and his role as a proud dog owner. At the Caruthers Law Firm, we take a refreshingly transparent and candid approach when assessing our potential clients circumstances. We believe in clear, honest, and direct communication, leaving aside the legal jargon to speak in terms that our clients can readily understand. Each client is treated as a unique individual, receiving personalized and attentive care throughout their legal journey with us.

We are immensely grateful to each and every individual who wholeheartedly contributed to the success of "The Christmas Toy Drive and Giveaway" and "The Back to School Giveaway" right here in the vibrant city of Houston. Your support has made a profound difference in the lives of countless local children, and it is a testament to the incredible community spirit that defines our city. At The Caruthers Law Firm, we take great pride in being active sponsors of these important initiatives, which focus on providing crucial resources to Houstons youth. Some of the recipients come from families struggling with limited income, making it challenging for them to provide the necessary school supplies for their children. For others, the prospect of a joyous Christmas was a distant dream due to a lack of toys. In these circumstances, we aimed to make a meaningful and positive impact on these children and their families. It is through the unwavering support and dedication of our local community that we were able to realize this vision. We encourage you to consider joining us in this noble cause and be a part of the change in the lives of Houston families. Your involvement can take various forms, whether through donating items, contributing funds, or taking the initiative to organize a collection drive within your organization, church, club, or local community. Your support will undoubtedly go a long way in touching the lives of those in need, ensuring that every child in our city can look forward to a brighter future. By working together, we not only provide essential items but also instill a sense of hope, compassion, and generosity within our beloved Houston community. Together, we can create a stronger, more caring, and inclusive community, one that continues to uplift and empower those who need it most. Thank you for being a part of this vital mission.

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