How Long Does it Take to Get a Settlement Check From a Car Accident in California?

If you sustain an injury or property damage due to a vehicle accident caused by another driver in California, you should be able to recover compensation for your losses. The vast majority of car accident claims in the state are resolved through settlements with insurance carriers, but how long will it take to get your check after an incident occurs? There are various factors that could influence the amount of time it takes for you to receive your final settlement check, which we will discuss here.

Insurance Carriers Offer Quick Settlements

If it is fairly clear that the other driver caused your car accident, this may seem like a good thing. However, it is not uncommon for insurance carriers to offer a settlement very quickly after an incident occurs, sometimes within a week or two. 

The reason an insurance carrier will do this is to try and catch you off guard. Early settlement offers are typically far below what you should actually receive, but the insurance carrier thinks that by making the settlement quickly, you will want the case to be over with. This is particularly effective when individuals need compensation for their initial medical bills and property damage expenses.

Even though it may be tempting to take an early settlement offer from an insurance carrier, we encourage you to work with an attorney who can examine the offer and help you determine whether or not it is adequate.

Disputes Over Liability

If there is any dispute over liability for a vehicle accident, this is going to extend how long it takes for a settlement to occur. There will need to be an investigation into the incident in order to determine who should be held liable. In some cases, there may be partial liability between multiple parties involved. 

California operates under a “pure comparative negligence” system, which means individuals can recover compensation even if they have partial fault for the incident. However, they will receive reduced compensation based on their percentage of fault. This must be sorted out before a settlement can occur.

Ongoing Medical Treatment

We always encourage car accident victims in California to never agree to an insurance settlement until after they have completed all medical care related to their injuries. As soon as an individual signs an agreement with an insurance carrier, that essentially ends the case. There will really be no way to go back and recover more compensation at a later date.

You should never agree to an insurance settlement until after your doctor says you have reached maximum medical recovery, which is the point where any further medical treatment will be unlikely to improve your condition. Depending on the severity of the injuries, this can take some time. 

Receiving Your Check

After a settlement agreement has been reached with the insurance carrier, it will not take very long for you to receive the final settlement check. Typically, you will receive the check within a week after you sign the final agreement. Again, we caution against rushing to receive a settlement. We recommend working with a skilled Irvine car accident attorney who can examine the facts of your case and help you deal with the insurance carriers involved.