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What is the Typical Duration for Settling an Accident Case?


Facing the aftermath of a car crash is an undesirable scenario, with the potential to deeply impact the mental health of those involved. Besides this, such accidents may also result in property damage and severe physical injuries. However, in such situations, the victim can get legal help, file a lawsuit against the responsible party, and most likely attain adequate compensation from the insurance company. Unfortunately, claim settlement is not an easy process and requires considerable time. It’s vital to note that the duration of car accident injuries may hinge upon various factors, including the type of injuries, fault, the relevant insurance company, and the seriousness of the collision. This blog will cover all the essential information regarding the timeline for settling an accident case, enabling you to make an informed decision. 

Understanding Auto Accident Settlement

If you sustained injuries in an automobile accident, you may be entitled to compensation from the party responsible for the collision. The likelihood of securing compensation depends on multiple factors, including: 

  • Relevant provincial laws 
  • Your level of contributory negligence in the incident 
  • The severity of your injuries
  • Whether there is income loss

When seeking restitution from the other driver involved in the collision, you have two main legal pathways for pursuing compensation: 

  1. You can file a lawsuit and convince a court to award you compensation.
  2. You can also negotiate a settlement outside of court. Usually, this involves an agreement with the insurance company representing the at-fault driver.

If you choose to negotiate the settlement for an auto accident in such a situation, the insurer for the at-fault driver agrees to offer you an agreed upon amount of money. In return, you must release the insurer and the driver at fault from any further liability related to the accident. Remember, it is considered a quicker and simpler method to settle your claim than a lawsuit; particularly one that proceeds to trial, which can be six or more years from the date of the accident.

Key Stages in the Settlement Process

  • Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI) Assessment 

The initial stage in the settlement timeline involves the claimant reaching MMI. This medical benchmark is critical as it helps define the long-term implications of injuries, influencing settlement negotiations. The timeframe for reaching MMI can vary significantly based on injury severity and individual recovery rates. 

  • Evidence Collection and Analysis

This phase is foundational and involves a systematic approach to collecting and analyzing data from multiple sources, such as accident scene reports, digital surveillance, eyewitness accounts, and comprehensive medical evaluations. The efficiency of this stage is dependent on the systematic gathering and forensic analysis of evidence to establish fault and causation.

  • Insurance Claim Processing

Post-evidence collection, a detailed claim is filed with the insurer of the liable party. The claim includes quantified demands for compensation based on calculated current and future medical costs, lost wages, and other damages. Insurers have a legally mandated period (which varies by jurisdiction) to respond to the claim, including acceptance, rejection, or a counteroffer.

  • Negotiation Strategies

If the insurer acknowledges liability or potential liability, negotiation phases commence. This stage often involves actuarial valuations of damages and strategic negotiations. The duration here hinges on the alignment of party expectations and the skill in deploying negotiation tactics.

  • Litigation and Judicial Processing

If negotiations fail, the next step is usually a lawsuit. This stage can be prolonged due to procedural necessities such as examinations discovery, involving detailed evidence exchange and analysis, and mediation, and pre-trial motions. Court scheduling delays also play a critical role in determining the length of this phase.

Factors Affecting Settlement Duration

  • Injury Complexity

Higher complexity and severity of injuries typically require extended periods to reach MMI and a prolonged evaluation to forecast long-term impacts, which delays the overall settlement process.

  • Liability Controversy

Cases with ambiguous fault or multiple liable parties involve intricate legal analyses and extended negotiations or court proceedings, which can substantially delay settlements.

  • Insurer Conduct

Strategic delays by insurers, such as slow responses, extended evaluations, or unreasonable positions, can prolong the settlement. Legal strategies need to counter such tactics effectively.

  • Regulatory Environment

The legal environment, including specific statutes of limitations, and the efficiency of local court systems, can significantly influence the timeline.


While the impulse to accelerate the settlement of an accident case is understandable, it is paramount that the final agreement comprehensively addresses all facets of the claimant’s damages. At SG Injury Law, our approach integrates advanced legal strategies and focuses on meticulous documentation and specialist negotiation to smooth the settlement process’s efficiency. If you’ve been involved in an accident and are looking for professional legal assistance, consider contacting our Ottawa accident lawyers today. Our experienced team will help you secure the compensation you deserve. Don’t settle for less—ensure your rights and recovery are fully protected.