It may be difficult to get a Birmingham car accident attorney to accept your case if the statute of limitations is near. The statute of limitations creates a deadline for filing a lawsuit in a civil matter in Alabama. Missing this deadline generally prevents the victim from recovering compensation. It makes it difficult to negotiate a fair settlement, and the court will likely bar them from moving forward with a lawsuit.
No personal injury law firm will want to mislead you into thinking you can recover compensation when there is no time to investigate what happened, develop a claim, and take legal action.
Preparing a Car Accident Claim or Lawsuit Takes Time
Alabama law generally gives car accident victims up to two years from the accident date to file their complaint and begin their lawsuit per Ala. Code § 6-2-38. Under some circumstances, this timeline may be even shorter. While two years is usually enough time to navigate the process, your car accident attorney will want to get started as soon as possible. This is because this process takes time.
While a lawyer could theoretically write and file a complaint in a single day, such a lawsuit is not likely to be successful. There are many steps they must go through before they are ready to file. This can take several weeks, a few months, or even a year or more. The process may include:
- Investigating the cause of the crash
- Identifying the negligent parties
- Interviewing witnesses
- Obtaining related documents, including medical records and police reports
- Documenting the client’s damages and valuing the claim
- Filing a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurer, if there is time
- Attempting to negotiate a fair settlement with the insurer, if there is time
Only once they clear these steps and determine a lawsuit is necessary will they begin to prepare the complaint using the information they have obtained. This is why these steps are so vital to the process. Without documentation of what happened, why, and who was involved, the lawsuit may likely be dropped before it ever makes it to trial.
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The Insurance Company Is Aware of the Statute of Limitations
Knowing a car accident victim can sue their policyholder and force them to court provides a lot of leverage when negotiating for a fair settlement with an insurance company. You’d better believe they know the statute of limitations in your case, and they know when it runs out.
After this date passes, you will lose your leverage for negotiations, making getting a fair recovery far more difficult. For this reason, it is best to ensure your attorney has plenty of time to negotiate with the insurer before the statute of limitations approaches.
Personal Injury Law Firms Work Based on Contingency Fees
One reason most firms will not accept your case if the statute of limitations is near is because personal injury lawyers work based on contingency fees. They only get paid if they recover compensation for you. Investigating and building a car accident case is expensive. They don’t want to spend their firm’s resources on proving negligence and liability in your case and then run out of time to recover money damages.
It would not be financially responsible or ethical to accept your case and then be unable to meet the tight deadlines. Instead, they need to ensure they have plenty of time to navigate all the necessary steps for a fair outcome.
What Should I Do After Being Injured in a Car Accident in Birmingham?
If you were hurt in a Birmingham car accident, your treatment and care should be prioritized. You need to get medical care for your injuries and ensure you have a treatment plan in place to help you heal as quickly and fully as possible. After your injuries are stable, though, it is time to consider your legal rights to pursue compensation.
We understand if you want to take some time to explore how the insurance claims process works and what it takes to get a fair settlement offer. However, do not take too long. Connect with a personal injury lawyer near you for your free consultation within a few weeks of your injuries whenever possible. Do not wait too long.
Even if you only want to discuss your options during your consultation and are not ready to act, do not delay doing so. Some people find out too late that the deadline in their case is coming sooner than they expected.
You Can Reach a Lawyer from Morris Bart & Associates, LLC for Free Today
The Morris Bart law firm has 15 locations, including an office in Birmingham. We provide free case reviews to car accident victims statewide. We may be able to help you pursue and recover compensation in your case, as long as there is time remaining to do so. Connect with us today to get started.
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