How Long Will it Take to Settle My Case?

How Long Will it Take a Lawyer to Settle My Car Accident Case in Georgia?

In Georgia car accident cases, the nature and duration of the medical care determines how long it takes to resolve your case. On this page you will find information on what to expect during the settlement demand phase of the case and in the litigation phase of a case. Understand that these timelines assume that you have a fairly common car accident case in Georgia involving straightforward injuries and each case is different.

Although over 85% of cases settle rather than go to trial, Georgia insurance companies are litigating more and more often so you do need to understand that sometimes our firm will suggest that you allow us to file suit to get fair compensation for your injury. Below is a timeline that outlines the process and what you can expect at each step of the way:

Stage 1: Medical Care

During stage one, you will meet with the attorney in person and lay out a general game plan for how things will go. Understand that actual timelines are determined by your medical care. Mr. Simon cannot prepare a demand to the insurance company until your medical care is finished and all of the bills and records are in. During stage one, Mr. Simon will:

  1. Contact the other insurer and discovery the insurance policy limits;
  2. Obtain the accident report;
  3. Interview witnesses if necessary;
  4. Preserve any critical evidence like police dash cameras, 911 calls, physical evidence, photographs;
  5. Coordinate how your medical care is being paid for through health insurance and med pay;
  6. Research necessary case law for your demand;

Stage 2: Preparing the Demand

Once your medical care is over, Mr. Simon will request the records from the doctor. It usually takes 45-60 days to get records back from a doctor after the request is made and you should expect it will take around one week for the lawyer to complete your demand package. In a plain vanilla car accident case, once the records are in, Mr. Simon will:

  1. Decide if a medical narrative is necessary;
  2. Prepare the demand package;
  3. Meet with you to go over value ranges and goals;
  4. Send the demand package.

30-60 days later, Mr. Simon will hear back from the insurance adjuster and the offer and counter-offer process will begin. It is his practice to keep you notified of progress in the negotiations. If the insurance company makes a reasonable offer, then a confirmation letter is sent. It will take around a month from the date of the settlement until the day you actually get a check in your pocket.

Who decides if it settles? You do. The Firm is there to advise you and guide you, but it is your case. It is true that over 85% of cases settle but each case is different.

Stage 3: Litigation

If Mr. Simon advises you to file suit and you agree, then it will take him around 30 days to prepare the lawsuit. For simple car accident cases, it will be filed in the home County where the Defendant lives, by law. In Georgia, the lawsuit does not truly begin until the Firm has the other driver personally served. Service means that the sheriff or an appointed server actually hands a copy of the lawsuit to the defendant driver or an adult they live with. Remember that in Georgia, you sue the other driver personally and the insurance company’s name does not appear anywhere unless there is an uninsured motorist case.

The defendant driver will generally give the lawsuit to his insurance company and that company will either hire a lawyer to defend the driver or have their employee lawyers at a captive law firm represent the driver. In Atlanta, you will find that State Farm, Allstate, Liberty Mutual, Geico, Nationwide, Zurich, Travelers and several other insurance companies actually own entire law firms that do nothing but litigate cases for them. That is one reason why insurance companies do not mind litigation costs. They are internalized and controlled costs.

Once the lawsuit is served, the Defendant has 30 days within which to answer. If they fail to and don’t fix it within another 15 days, they are in default and admit most everything in the lawsuit, which makes your case easier. Normally, an Answer is filed and the defendant will send a ton of written questions to your lawyer for you to answer.

Stage 4: Discovery

Discovery lasts six months in the Georgia state courts. During this time the parties discover information about each others case by sending written questions called Interrogatories, by sending requests for the production of documents and by requesting that you admit certain things.

After the written discovery is answered, you can expect the insurance company to take a sworn statement from you with a court reporter present. This statement is called a deposition. It can last for 3-4 hours, depending on the situation, and your life is an open book throughout this process. Meanwhile, the Firm will depose the defendant and any other necessary witnesses and prepare medical evidence and exhibits. In practice, discovery in Georgia can drag on for 8-10 months.

Stage 5: Trial Preparation

If the parties are not too far apart, they may choose to mediate their case. They meet with a neutral mediator and make a brief opening presentation to each other. The licensed Georgia mediator then takes the parties into separate rooms and explores issues with each to see if there is common ground on settlement numbers.

Mediation is not mandatory unless ordered by the Court and if it fails, then it is on to trial. In Georgia the time to get to a jury trial can vary from around 10 months to 2 years, depending on the County and the Judge. It is rare for a case to go on longer unless the lawyer is lazy.

Trials on basic car accident cases in Georgia last around two days and you must be present for the trial.

Although most cases settle, a good number get litigated and tried. Just because a case can settle, does not mean that it should. A case should settle when fair value is offered and if not, the case should go into litigation.

Copyright © 2014 by Christopher Simon Attorney at Law, All Rights Reserved

Client Reviews
My wife and I were hit by a tractor trailer in 2014. After extensive research online, we were deeply impressed with the various reviews we read on Google and Avvo and chose Chris to represent us. We could not have a made a better decision. Chris and his firm treated us like we were their only clients, soothed our worries, and instantly gained our trust. Chris settled both of our cases for more than we expected. James
A co-worker of my wife recommended Chris to us. At the very beginning Chris showed that he cared and his knowledge is priceless. Going through this process can be aggravating but Chris did a great job guiding me through this and was always available to answer my questions. Chris fought to get what I deserved even though at times I wanted to give up. Tracy
I want to express my deepest sense of gratitude and appreciation to Attorney Chris Simon & Attorney Chris Carsten, for all the hard work that they put forth into my case (car accident filed after being hit by drunk driver). Their attention to detail and professionalism far surpasses their firm's reputation. Because of their diligence and dedication to their craft, they were able to bring my case to a successful close, one that I could live with. You will not find a better team for your case. Should I have a need for their services again in the future, or know of anyone looking for a top notch Auto Accident Law Firm, I would not hesitate to recommend them!!!! Elle
Wow...Chris is a very good attorney. Me and my son was in a very bad car accident an I was clueless on how to handle the situation. It's very hard to find an attorney who allows you to contact them personally instead of you contacting their asst. I was told that I didn't have a case because the hosiptal put a lien on my acct. Chris prove different and I was able to file my case with the insurance company. The process was very quickly and Im glad I selected the right attorney..Thanks Chris A Car Accident client
Chris is a great lawyer and the most people friendly attorney I have ever delt with. He handled my case with great attention to detail and did so in a very short period of time. He is very consice, efficient, patient and understanding. He has a strong passion for what he does and he does it well. I recommend Chris Simon as legal representation for anyone who has suffreed damages or a loss at the negligence of others. He really cares about you and your case. A Car Accident client