Murphy Trial Law

How Long Does a Car Accident Settlement Take With a Lawyer?

Car Accident Settlement With Lawyer

Murphy Trial Law is proud to represent car accident victims as they seek justice and compensation following collisions. Our firm has enjoyed great success settling our car accident cases for fair compensation in a timely manner. Many victims call us up and ask how long the settlement process takes. They need money because they have large expenses, not to mention recurring bills like their mortgage. We completely understand. You deserve compensation—and you deserve it now.

Below, we provide an overview of the process and identify certain factors that can delay settlement. Although we can settle most cases in six months, yours might take longer. 

Initial Steps

Your case begins as soon as you are hurt in an accident. At that moment, you have immediate access to helpful information for your case.

First, you should get the personal details of the driver who hit you, as well as their insurance information. You’ll need this information. Second, call the police so an officer can create a crash report, which is useful.

Third, document the wreck. If you can move around, use your phone to photograph all the vehicles. Walk around and photograph each side. These pictures let us “see” what happened.

Then go to the hospital for immediate treatment. Going will help document the severity of your injuries.


The claims process really kicks into gear once you have completed treatment for your injuries. Relatively minor injuries might heal in 6 months, with more serious injuries requiring years of treatment.

Why doesn’t the settlement process kick in until then? Well, we need to know the dollar value of your claim. We can review medical bills, wage statements, and car repair bills. These are economic losses which you should be compensated for. We don’t know one week after the accident how much you have spent on medical bills or lost because you were hurt.

Some people never fully recover. They have lingering disabilities. If so, we can also estimate the value of future medical care and loss of earning capacity.

Once we know how much your claim is worth, we send a demand package to the defendant or their insurance company. We offer to settle the case for a certain amount of money, and we usually aim high. That gives us room to come down if we need to in negotiations.

Back and Forth

Often, the defendant rejects our offer with a counteroffer that’s considerably lower. It might take a couple of months to negotiate back and forth and settle on a number.

At some point in this process, we might also file a lawsuit in court. In Washington, you get three years from the day of the accident to file. If you waited two and half years to call us, we might find ourselves racing to the courthouse to get a lawsuit filed under the deadline. Doing so protects your ability to negotiate a settlement.

What Can Delay the Settlement Process?

Settlement negotiations typically take 3-6 months in all. Some factors could delay the settlement:


  1. Multiple possible defendants. You might have been injured in a multi-car pileup on the highway. If so, it can take a while to figure out who is at fault. There’s no point in beginning settlement talks until we figure out what happened and who is to blame.
  2. Disputes regarding your negligence. Washington recognizes comparative negligence. You can seek compensation if you are partially to blame, but your compensation is reduced in proportion to your fault. As an example, if you are 70% to blame, you will receive only 30% of your losses. Defendants often fight about their share of fault for the crash.
  3. Disagreements over the severity of your injuries. The defendant might not believe you are seriously hurt or impaired, or they might disregard your pain. We might need to heavily document your case to convince the defendant of the seriousness of your injuries.
  4. Extended treatment. Very serious injuries require years of treatment and rehab. We might delay negotiation until we have a clearer view of the cost of care.
  5. Unmotivated defendants. Some defendants are more motivated than others to finally settle a claim.

Receiving a Check

At some point, we will reach an agreement with the defendant on a settlement amount. How much longer will you need to wait after that point? 

Probably a few weeks. We will need to draft and review the settlement agreement, and then wait for the defendant’s insurer to write a check. We might also need to resolve liens placed on the settlement. For example, you might have received medical treatment on a lien basis, or your health insurer has a lien so they can be paid out of the settlement. We have to pay off the liens.

Your attorney will also need to deduct his percentage for legal work based on the fee agreement you signed. That could take a few days to process. At the end of this process, your lawyer should write out a check for what’s left and send it to you.

How to Speed Up the Settlement Process

Because we know money is tight, our legal team is committed to resolving your case as quickly as possible, while still obtaining the maximum compensation available. There are certain things you can do to speed up the process:


  • Get your lawyer any requested information or documentation as soon as possible. Any delay only delays the resolution of your case.
  • Return phone calls and keep an open line of communication. For example, your lawyer might need to discuss a proposed settlement.
  • Keep up with all recommended medical treatments. This step will help preserve the value of a claim.

Schedule a Free Consultation

Murphy Trial Law has negotiated countless car accident settlements for clients over the decades. Do you have questions? Contact our firm to meet with a member of our team to go over your accident, your injuries, and any concerns that you have.

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