Most car accident claims result in a settlement. The settlement process and timeline is different than going to trial. Our car accident lawyers know that the timeline is very important for victims. Here is the car accident settlement process and timeline in Missouri.
Car Accident Settlement Process and Timeline in Missouri
The car accident settlement process and timeline involves reporting the accident to authorities, making an insurance claim, investigating the events and compensation due, and negotiating the appropriate settlement. Timelines vary based on the complexity of the claim.
A car accident lawyer can help you proceed through each step efficiently, so that you have your compensation as quickly as possible.
1. Reporting the accident
The first step in the car accident settlement process is reporting that the accident occurred. Missouri law requires drivers to report car accidents in most cases. You must call the police if anyone is injured or there is more than $500 in apparent property damage.
In addition, the compensation process begins when you report the accident to the insurance company. Contact your own car insurance company even if you’re not at fault. They may help you work with the other driver’s insurance company, or you may file with another insurance company directly.
2. The insurance company responds
Once you make a claim to an insurance company, they have 10 days to respond under Missouri law. The claim won’t be complete in that timeline, but they must respond and acknowledge receipt of the claim. They should provide you with claim forms to complete and instructions.
3. Investigating the compensation you deserve
When a car accident settlement is successful, it fairly represents your losses. You need to investigate what compensation you deserve for your accident. You can work with a car accident lawyer to understand the categories of compensation possible and whether they apply to you. It’s important to gather documentation to verify these losses to ensure that the insurance company has the information they need to fairly pay the claim.
The investigation process can take time. Especially when you have moderate and severe injuries, it is important to value pain and suffering, lost wages and medical bills thoroughly.
4. Submitting documentation
Once you have the documentation of your losses in hand, you submit complete claim information to the insurance company. Missouri law creates a timeline of 15 working days for the insurance company to respond. They must inform you of whether the claim is accepted or denied. There may be additional time for the insurance company to investigate and verify the amount of the claim.
5. Negotiating your settlement
Once the investigation and claims process is complete, the next step is negotiating a settlement. If the insurance company extends a settlement offer, you may accept it, reject it or continue to negotiate. You may respond with a demand letter or a counteroffer for settlement.
The timeline may vary depending on the disputed issues in the case and the amount of damages. When you’re represented by a car accident lawyer, they handle negotiations with the insurance company on your behalf.
6. Filing a formal legal claim
If the claim is not fully resolved by settlement, the next step in the process is filing a formal legal case. In Missouri, you have five years from the date of the accident to get your claim started under the Missouri statute of limitations for car accidents. A formal legal claim begins a new timeline within the court system for preparing evidence, participating in alternative dispute resolution and waiting for your trial date.
How a lawyer can help
Having the compensation you need quickly is important. It’s also important to make sure that you don’t overlook important steps in ensuring that you’re paid fairly. Your car accident lawyer knows when it’s important to be thorough and when it’s time to proceed to the next step. They can also help you understand the process so that you know your case is moving forward towards a fair resolution.
Lawyers for the car accident settlement process
At Krause & Kinsman Law Firm, our lawyers help people with the car accident settlement process. If you have questions about the process or timeline, or if you want to learn more about how we can help, contact us. We can help you understand what’s involved and work on your behalf to make your claim successful. Call or message the Krause & Kinsman Law Firm today.