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

Last Updated on September 15, 2023

After a car accident, you may be entitled to compensation. But how long does it take to get a car accident settlement check?

It can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to a few months to receive a settlement for a car accident, depending on many factors. Some drivers receive a settlement check within 5 to 10 days of an accident, while others wait 5 to 10 months – or longer.

Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about how long it takes to get a car accident settlement check.

Key Takeaways:

  • Timeline of Receiving a Settlement: The process of receiving a car accident settlement check can vary greatly, ranging from a few days to several months. Factors influencing this timeline include the complexity of the case, the efficiency of your attorney, and the practices of the involved insurance companies.
  • Pre-Settlement Requirements: Several steps need to be completed before settling. These include completing medical treatments, collecting proof of expenses incurred due to the accident, and waiting for the insurer’s response to the demand package.
  • Reasons for Delays: Delays in receiving a car accident settlement check could be due to bottlenecks in the insurance company or with the attorney, the case’s complexity, significant paperwork, outstanding liens being negotiated, choice of annuity payments, or verification of large settlement amounts.
  • Ways to Avoid Delays: To avoid unnecessary delays, it’s advisable to hire an experienced attorney, respond promptly to all requests from the insurer or attorney, maintain thorough documentation of the accident, and contact the attorney if the settlement process exceeds six weeks from the signing of the settlement documents.

It Could Take a Few Days or a Few Months to Receive a Car Accident Settlement Check

Receiving a car accident settlement check is one of many steps involved in a car accident settlement.

Assuming you have already reached a settlement in your case and are waiting for a check, you may need to wait for several more steps to be completed:

  1. First, you must reach an agreed settlement amount for your personal injury claim.
  2. Next, after a settlement has been reached, you (the plaintiff) must sign a settlement release form. It takes time to process the claim.
  3. Additional processes and steps must also take place before you ultimately receive your car accident settlement check. These specific steps vary from case to case and from state to state. However, they could take a few days or a few months, depending on the situation.

Once these steps are complete, there’s nothing preventing you from receiving your car accident settlement check.

Steps Required Before Reaching a Car Accident Settlement

Before you receive a car accident settlement check, you must reach a settlement amount. You, your lawyer, and the insurance company will negotiate a settlement based on your medical bills, car repair costs, and other expenses incurred as a result of the accident.

Before you reach a car accident settlement, you must typically complete the following steps:

  • You must complete medical treatment or reach a state of maximum medical approval. Some patients receive first aid and are back to normal, while other patients require months or even years of medical care before being 100%.
  • You must have proof of all medical records, bills, proof of the loss of future wages, and other expenses incurred as a result of the accident. This can take a few days or a few months to collect this information.
  • You must wait for the insurer to respond to your demand package. A lawyer can help you submit a demand package. The insurer reviews your package, then calculates an appropriate settlement amount. Typically, this process takes anywhere from one week to three months, depending on your insurer and the complexity of the case.

Why is My Car Accident Settlement Check Taking So Long?

It may feel you’ve been waiting a long time for your car accident settlement check to arrive. Sometimes, the insurer is dragging its feet. In other cases, the delays are legitimate because of a complicated case or requests for additional paperwork.

Here are some of the reasons it may take an extra long amount of time to receive a car accident settlement check:

  • There may be bottlenecks at either end of the settlement process, either with your insurance company or with your lawyer. Your insurance company may be dragging its feet, acting in bad faith, or deliberately delaying your case to push for a lower settlement. Or, your lawyer may not be doing a good job staying on top of the case and its details.
  • The case may be extra complex.
  • The case may require significant paperwork proving long-term injuries, rehabilitation costs, total loss vehicle damage, and other costly expenses.
  • Your attorney could be attempting to negotiate outstanding liens on your behalf, and they are temporarily holding the payment until the negotiations are complete.
  • You chose to receive annuity payments instead of a lump sum, and you will receive smaller payments over time.
  • The settlement is over six figures, and it may take longer for the insurance company to verify the amount and issue the check.

All of these situations can extend the length of time it takes to receive a car accident settlement check.

How to Avoid Delays with Your Car Accident Settlement Check

Sometimes, there’s no way to avoid delays with your car accident settlement check. It’s outside of your control, and the delays are caused by a third party – not you.

In other cases, you could take certain steps to avoid delays with your check, including:

  • Hire an experienced attorney specializing in your type of car accident claims. Inexperienced attorneys could lack the expertise needed to efficiently guide your claim from start to finish.
  • Respond to your insurer or lawyer promptly. Insurers have a duty to respond to your requests within an appropriate length of time. As the insured party, you have the same duty. You or your attorney must respond to your insurer within an appropriate length of time. Provide requested evidence, complete paperwork, and ensure all parties have the information needed to proceed.
  • Document everything and keep it on hand. The more documented evidence of the accident, damages, and injuries you have, the smoother your claim will go. Be organized to ensure a speedy resolution. Keep copies of the police report, photos of any damage, insurance information for the involved parties, the names of any witnesses, medical bills, and other supporting evidence.

Contact Your Attorney If You’ve Waited More than Six Weeks

If you signed the settlement documents more than six weeks ago and are waiting for your settlement check, you should contact your personal injury attorney.

In some cases, there are legitimate delays with the process – say, with the insurer approving a larger-than-average amount of money for the settlement.

In other cases, there are other problems with your process, and it’s important to contact your attorney as soon as possible.

Final Word

It can take a few days – or a few months – to receive a car accident settlement check.

Generally, complicated claims last longer than simple claims. If you have a settlement worth over $100,000 and complicated medical bills, then it could take longer to receive your settlement check than if you were in a fender bender with minor injuries.

Contact your insurer or speak with an experienced car accident attorney to ensure you receive your car accident settlement check in an appropriate length of time.

James Shaffer
James Shaffer James Shaffer is a writer for and a well-seasoned auto insurance industry veteran. He has a deep knowledge of insurance rules and regulations and is passionate about helping drivers save money on auto insurance. He is responsible for researching and writing about anything auto insurance-related. He holds a bachelor's degree from Bentley University and his work has been quoted by NBC News, CNN, and The Washington Post.
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