There is no way to know up front how long it may take to file, negotiate, and receive a car accident settlement after an Alabama crash. This process may take only a few weeks for some collision victims, while others spend months or even years fighting for the financial recovery they need and deserve based on their accident case.
Determining how long your Birmingham car accident settlement will take could be easier if you have a personal injury lawyer on your side. They can offer information based on their experience with similar cases. Insurers may also offer higher settlements simply because they know you have an attorney fighting for a fair agreement in your case.
Many Factors Can Affect How Long a Settlement Takes
There are many factors that can influence how long it takes to recover a settlement following a Birmingham car crash. Which of these apply and how long they could delay the claim depends on the circumstances of the case.
The Severity of the Injury
When injuries are severe, it may take longer to reach a settlement. This is because it may take longer to reach maximum medical recovery or fully understand the victim’s long-term prognosis. This is necessary to take into account when filing an insurance claim because future treatment needs and ongoing care costs are recoverable damages.
How Difficult It Is to Show Negligence and Liability
Victims must prove that the at-fault driver acted negligently and is therefore liable for the injuries that occurred. While this may be straightforward in some cases, it is more complex in others. It may take time to determine what happened and develop a strong claim to show the insurer that their policyholder is legally responsible for their damages.
Delays in Gathering Evidence
Gathering evidence can take time. Many types of evidence—such as the police report, medical records, expert testimony, and eyewitness interviews—rely on someone else cooperating, which means collecting this information often occurs on someone else’s timeline. Accident reconstruction, surveys of the accident scene, and analysis of physical evidence can also take longer when the crash is more complex.
How Much the Claim May Be Worth
In general, larger payouts may take longer. When there are ongoing care needs and lasting disabilities, the insurer may look more closely at the case than if they need to pay a few thousand dollars for minor injuries.
Some types of injuries are more difficult to prove, so negotiations may be tough. Whiplash is a common example of a serious injury that can cause chronic pain, but that insurance companies often vastly undervalue.
Whether There Are Questions of Fact
If there are questions of fact or debates about shared fault in a case, it may be difficult to reach an out-of-court settlement. Only if the victim can provide the necessary evidence to show the other driver is 100 percent at fault may it be possible to reach an agreement without a lawsuit.
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Steps Required to Navigate the Birmingham Claims Process
There are several steps an accident victim must navigate to pursue and eventually recover compensation in a car accident claim. If you work with an attorney, they will handle each of these steps for you while you heal from your injuries and get your life back.
The steps required for the claims process include:
- Building the case against the at-fault driver
- Demanding fair compensation and filing the claim
- Waiting for the insurance company to investigate the crash
- Receiving their initial offer for compensation
- Settlement negotiations, which could take several rounds
- Agreeing on a settlement amount and drafting the agreement
- Signing the agreement
- Waiting on check
What If I Need to Sue to Recover Car Accident Compensation?
In general, a lawsuit will take longer than an insurance settlement. However, it is sometimes necessary for some crash victims. Your attorney will assess your options and discuss the possibility of suing with you if necessary.
Most crash victims have up to two years to sue in Alabama under Ala. Code § 6-2-38. Additional deadlines or extensions may apply in some cases.
Even if you do not think a lawsuit is necessary, an attorney may be able to manage your insurance claim and help the process move along efficiently. While they cannot force a settlement any faster, they can certainly reduce the stress you experience, and they may offer advice about how to pay your bills in the meantime.
Speak to an Attorney From Our Team About Your Birmingham Crash
You can discuss your legal options for compensation following a Jefferson County car accident with one of our lawyers for free today. We have 15 locations, including six in Alabama: Birmingham, Decatur, Hoover, Huntsville, Mobile, and Montgomery. We serve clients in all areas of the state. Our lawyers work based on a contingency fee.
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