Why Is My Car Accident Settlement Taking So Long in North Carolina? [2024]

Why Is My Car Accident Settlement Taking So Long in North Carolina? [2024]

Jan 15, 2024 | Car Accidents

Insurance companies are never eager to pay their policyholders. Many insurance companies employ tactics that make it almost impossible for the average car accident victim to make a claim on their own without having their settlement reduced immensely if not lost entirely. Especially in North Carolina, one of the strictest states for recovering losses after an accident, it is crucial to have a North Carolina car accident attorney who is specifically trained to deal with insurance companies.

They are fluent in the language required to discuss a claim so as not to hurt your settlement. A lawyer knows what to look for within the evidence that was collected, and they know how to build a strong case for your settlement.

How Do I File a Car Accident Claim in North Carolina?

You should first call 911 after an accident. It is ideal to move your car out of traffic, but only if it is possible to do so. After that, you can start working to build your claim.

The first step to take when filing for a car accident claim in North Carolina is obtaining information from the other driver or drivers. This should be the first thing that you do, as it solidifies who your claim is against and ensures that no mistakes can be made regarding who your insurance company contacts. The information you want to obtain from the other driver includes:

  • Full contact information
  • Driver’s license number
  • Registration and insurance information
  • License plate number
  • Vehicle make, model, and color

After you’ve gathered the above information, the next thing to do is gather as much information about the incident as possible. This should include:

  • As many photographs as possible
  • Information about the location of the event
  • A copy of the police report
  • Witness statements
  • The other driver’s own words

It is crucial to never admit fault while talking with the other driver(s), especially if the accident was their fault. Even something as simple as an “I’m sorry” could be used as an admission of guilt and hurt your claim.

Finally, after you’ve accomplished all of the above, you need to call your insurance company as soon as you can to report the accident. Do not, under any circumstances, allow them to record a statement, and do not say anything that would indicate fault. It is absolutely crucial to be as objective as possible, as anything that you say, especially in the state of North Carolina, could severely impact your case.

From here, have your insurance company speak directly to your car accident attorney, who can also file your claim on your behalf, as they are trained to specifically navigate an insurance company’s tactics.

Why Does Receiving a Car Accident Settlement Take So Long?

Most states use some form of fault system that directly determines the percentage of fault for both drivers in an accident. This usually allows people to recover at least some of the damages done during a car accident, even if they are partially at fault.

However, North Carolina is a pure contributory negligence state, which means that if you even had some small part in the accident, including not preventing the accident by acting differently, you will not recover anything. Nevertheless, it may still be possible to sue for personal injury, depending on the damages incurred in an accident as well as who is more at fault, despite North Carolina’s ruling on contributory negligence.

It is largely due to this policy that North Carolina car accident settlements can take anywhere from 90 days to a year to resolve. Insurance companies often fight over who is truly at fault in an accident, as both of them are competing to protect themselves as well as their clients from having to pay the other party.

Even without this, both insurance companies need to separately conduct their own investigations to determine what took place. To do this, they will sift through the available evidence, like police reports, photographs taken at the scene, witness statements, etc. Additionally, car accident settlements sometimes require a significant amount of negotiation between your attorney and the insurance companies to reach a fair agreement or, if necessary, go to court.


Q: How Long Does an Insurance Company Have to Settle a Claim in North Carolina?

A: After your attorney files your initial claim, an insurance company has a maximum of 30 days to either pay the claimant or send a notice. This notice includes details of the reasons why they will not be paying the claimant. The 30-day period begins immediately upon receiving the paperwork from your attorney.

Q: Why Is My Car Accident Settlement Taking Forever?

A: Car accident settlements can take a long time based on a number of factors, including:

  • The two insurance companies are negotiating over which driver was at fault or if both were.
  • Investigations of the incident could take an extended period of time
  • The insurance company could be uncooperative with your attorney.

It’s important to allow your Hickory car accident attorney to handle the situation, as haste could result in mistakes, which, in turn, could hurt your settlement.

Q: What Is the Average Car Accident Settlement in North Carolina?

A: Depending on the severity of the car accident, the average settlement ranges from about $7,000 in the case of minor injuries to upwards of $640,000 in the event of severe injuries. Typically, most settlements will only cover the compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage. However, if there is long-term, sustaining damage, the settlement may also cover pain and suffering.

Q: How Long Does a Car Accident Settlement Take?

A: A car accident settlement can take anywhere from 90 days to a year. This is mostly due to the investigations required, negotiations between insurance companies as well as those with your lawyer, and the complexity of the accident. After these investigations and negotiations, the case is either resolved or goes to trial. After the settlement or compensation is finalized, you should receive the payment within 30 days.

Contact a North Carolina Car Accident Attorney Today

At the Law Office of Lyndon R. Helton, PLLC, our attorney can help you build a case to claim your rightful settlement. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.