How Long Does It Take to Get a Car Accident Settlement?

how long does it take to get car accident settlement

After a car accident, you are a wreck. You’re shaken up, confused, worried, and maybe even hurt. On top of all of that, your car needs repairs or might be totaled. Should you hire an attorney to help with the aftermath? And if you file a claim, how long does it take to get car accident settlement?

At Curcio & Casciato, our Chicago car accident attorneys strive to get the maximum compensation possible for your personal injury case. If you are in a vehicle collision due to someone else’s negligence, you deserve to heal without worrying about lost wages and medical bills. Let us help you. We handle car accident cases on a contingency fee basis. This means you don’t owe us anything until your case settles.

Our law firm has experience with various types of vehicle wrecks, including Chicago drunk driving accident lawsuits, Chicago truck accident lawsuits, Chicago motorcycle accident lawsuits , and Chicago brake checking accident lawsuits. Contact us today if you are injured in an auto collision by a negligent driver. Call our office at 312-321-1111 or fill out our online intake form.

Illinois Car Insurance Laws

The at-fault driver pays damages in Illinois. That is because the state follows a fault-based insurance system. 

As a result, you have three avenues if you have damages after a car accident caused by another driver. The first is filing a claim with your insurance provider. After paying for your losses, they contact the other driver’s insurer for reimbursement. Another option is filing a third-party claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. The final option is filing a personal injury lawsuit in civil court. The at-fault driver’s insurer typically defends their client against a suit.

Illinois requires drivers to maintain a minimum amount of coverage. This includes mandatory liability coverage that pays for the other driver’s damages and injuries if you cause an auto accident:

  • $25,000 – Bodily injury liability for one person in an accident
  • $50,000 – Bodily injury liability for all people hurt in one accident
  • $20,000 – Property damage per accident

These are the minimum amounts. If the injuries caused in an accident exceed your coverage amounts, you can be held personally responsible for any overages. This puts your assets at risk, such as a home and vehicle.

How Do Car Accident Settlements Work in Illinois?

Most car accident claims settle before reaching a jury trial and verdict. They are paid in two different ways. They can be a lump sum check or structured settlements. Payments made over several years are a structured settlement.

How long does it take to get car accident settlement? The answer is that it varies and depends on multiple factors, such as how badly you are injured, the insurance companies involved, and which driver is assigned fault.

Car Accident Dos and Don’ts in Illinois

When Will I Get a Car Accident Settlement

You and another car just collided. Are there certain things you should or shouldn’t do to have the best possible auto accident case?


You should seek medical attention right away. Do so even if you don’t think you are seriously hurt. A frightening event like a car crash fills your body with adrenaline. This can cause you to not feel any pain for days. Ask for a copy of your medical records. 

Call the police. You’ll need them there to help anyone hurt, document the accident scene, and collect evidence and witness statements. If you don’t call the police and have a police report, it’s your word against the other driver’s.

Make sure you have the contact information for the other driver and any witnesses. This includes addresses and phone numbers. Also, be sure to get license plate numbers, insurance information, driver’s license and car registration numbers, and information about the other car, such as the year, make, and model. 

Document the scene with photos. Photograph the vehicles and surrounding areas from multiple angles. Be sure to capture road conditions and any hazards, malfunctioning traffic signals, or broken or missing traffic signage that may have contributed. 

Write down the time, date, weather, and location of the accident. Draw a diagram of the accident if you can.

Finally, contact your insurance provider. Don’t say or sign anything if you think you may file a car accident claim. Speak to a personal injury lawyer first. 


Stay on the scene until after help arrives, and you’ve exchanged information with the other involved parties. 

Consult an attorney before telling anyone else (including friends or family) about the accident. 

Never admit fault in an accident. On the other hand, don’t accuse the other driver, either. The evidence will show who is to blame. 

Don’t agree to a recorded statement if your insurance or the other driver’s insurer contacts you. They can hold any information you give against you at any time. Most insurance companies strive to pay out as little as possible for an insurance claim.

Review any paperwork an insurance company gives you with your attorney. Don’t sign anything without getting their legal advice first. 

Consult with your attorney before accepting a settlement offer. Your legal representative has the necessary knowledge and experience to get you the most compensation for your damages. 

Evidence doesn’t last forever. Be sure to document it and contact the Chicago personal injury lawyers at Curcio & Casciato right away. We’ll start gathering and preserving evidence while we work on your case. 

How Long Does It Take to Settle an Illinois Car Accident Case Involving Injuries?

Car Accident Settlement

How long does it take to get car accident settlement? There is no set time frame to settle a car accident. It can take as little as several weeks to a few months or years. It depends partially the injuries themselves. If you sustained a head injury, you might want to consider hiring a Chicago TBI lawyer for your case. Many factors affect the timeline and can shorten or lengthen it. These factors include:

The Insurance Companies Involved

Your insurance provider and any other insurers involved in the accident claim impact how long it takes to conclude. The at-fault driver’s insurance company can deny or question your claim. Then there are bad faith practices some companies employ. Insurance adjusters do this to keep claimants from getting the damages they are due. They may ignore your phone calls, deny coverage, or push you to accept a quick settlement. 

How fast your case resolves also depends on whether your accident claim is first-party or third-party. A first-party claim is filed with your insurer. Personal injury claims filed with the at-fault party’s insurance company are third-party claims. Often, first-party claims are handled quickly because your insurance company doesn’t want to lose your business. 

Determining Liability

The settlement process can take longer if there is a dispute about fault in an accident claim. If the blame is shared, the process requires more steps in states that use comparative negligence. Comparative negligence divides responsibility among the parties and assigns damages.

The Severity and Type of Your Injuries

The injuries sustained in vehicle collisions range from minor bruises, scrapes, and soreness to life-altering trauma. 

It’s important not to settle until you reach maximum medical improvement (MMI). This is the point where further medical treatment won’t improve your condition. Your Chicago car accident attorney advises you not to settle until there is a complete understanding of your medical costs – current and future. 

Whether a Lawsuit Is Filed

How long does it take to get car accident settlement? It depends on many factors. One is whether a lawsuit is filed or the case goes to court.

However, most claims don’t require a lawsuit or go to court. If your claim is denied or disputed by the insurance provider, you may need to attend arbitration or mediation. Suing the at-fault driver is another option.

A lawsuit can recover compensation for damages that include medical bills, lost wages and earning potential, therapy and rehabilitation costs, prescriptions, mental anguish, and pain and suffering. 

In addition to a personal injury lawsuit, a few other types of cases can stem from a car wreck. For example, you could sue a government entity if a road sign design flaw caused the accident. When a defect in the vehicle caused the wreck, you could sue the vehicle manufacturer. Finally, you can file suit if someone lost their life in the accident. In this case, we recommend speaking with a wrongful death attorney in Chicago.

Who Determines Fault After a Car Accident?

How Long Does It Take to Get a Car Accident Settlement

Figuring out who is at fault after an accident can be simple, or it can be complicated. For the most part, if a driver violates Illinois’ road rules and causes an accident, they are typically at fault. However, even if no laws are broken, a driver can still be at fault for negligence. 

Rear-End Collision

A car that hits another from the rear carries all the fault in most cases. Sometimes, the lead car shares some responsibility if it stops suddenly. But, the rear car still should have left enough space between the vehicles to allow for a safe stop. So, the rear vehicle still has primary responsibility.

Turning Vehicle

A driver must make sure it is safe before turning. So, if an accident happens, they’re almost always assigned most of the fault. The non-turning vehicle may be entirely or partly to blame if it broke the law by traveling too fast or changing lanes without signaling.

A typical complex scenario is when a car waits in the middle of an intersection to make a left turn. The light turns red, and they turn left. Meanwhile, another car drives through the intersection and collides with the left-turning vehicle. At least 50% of the fault may get assigned to the vehicle turning left because turning vehicles have a higher duty of care. 

Lane Change or Sideswipe

A driver must make sure it’s safe to change lanes. If an accident happens in the process of a lane change, the driver changing lanes is usually at fault. It’s best to get the contact information of a crash witness because this type of accident can come down to one driver’s word against another’s. 

Comparative Negligence in Illinois Car Accident Cases

Multiple drivers can be at fault for an accident. If a driver gets assigned more than 50% of the responsibility, they cannot recover any damages. In addition, any fault that is less than 50% reduces a jury verdict by that percent. So, if a jury awards a plaintiff $100,000 and 40% of the fault, that award is reduced by $40,000. The final amount of the settlement money awarded is $60,000. 

Why You Should Resist the Temptation to Settle Too Soon After an Accident?

How long does it take to get car accident settlement? The personal injury claim process can be exhausting. If you are racking up medical expenses or unable to work, it can be tempting to accept an initial settlement offer from an auto insurance company. However, insurance companies want to pay out as little as possible. Rarely is a quick settlement the best outcome for you. When insurance providers make a fast offer, they’ve typically not had time to review all the elements. The total damages calculation includes lost income and current and future medical costs. 

Once your case is settled, and you sign a release, pursuing further damages is no longer an option. This is regardless of whether your known injuries turn out to be worse or additional injuries requiring further treatment arise.

What Is the Average Car Accident Settlement in Illinois?

average car accident settlement illinois

There are no two cases alike, and damages vary. The length of your recovery time and possible lifelong disabilities are a factor. The award could be a few thousand dollars up to a million or more. It depends on the circumstances of the case. 

Compensation is due to you if the other party is assigned fault for the crash. If you receive a portion of the responsibility, this will reduce any damages accordingly.

How Long Do I Have to File a Car Accident Lawsuit in Illinois?

Illinois requires that you file a lawsuit within two years after a car wreck. This deadline, or statute of limitations, applies to pedestrians, bicyclists, drivers, passengers, and motorcyclists hurt in an accident.

Wrongful death lawsuits follow a different standard. A one-year time limit exists for a surviving spouse or family member to file after someone dies in a vehicle collision.  

735 Illinois Compiled Statutes section 5/13-202 details these statutes of limitations

Within five years after an accident, you must file any lawsuit for property damage, as mandated by Illinois law 735 ILCS 13-205.

Top Chicago Car Accident Attorneys

Car accidents are called that because they’re usually just that – an accident. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get compensation for your injuries and property damage. Your pain and suffering and property damage or loss deserve a fair settlement.

A motor vehicle collision can leave you with minor injuries that are easy to treat. On the other hand, you could suffer serious injuries that leave you with sky-high medical bills and unable to work. You deserve to recover in peace and get back to your life.

But how long does it take to get car accident settlement in Illinois? A settlement can happen fast, or it can take months or even years. The experienced Chicago car accident lawyers at Curcio & Casciato can help you with this. 

We go over your case during your free consultation and devise an action plan for your injury claim. Give us a call today at 312-321-1111 if you or a loved one get hurt in a wreck.

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