A recent annual report stated that a person in Alabama is injured in a traffic accident every 13 minutes and 50 seconds. Some of these injuries are minor, while others are severe and even life-altering. If you have been injured in a Birmingham, Alabama, car accident, you may be wondering how long it will take for your car accident case to settle.
Unfortunately, it is difficult to determine how long it may take to settle a case because each car accident and injuries are unique. Some claims may be resolved within days, while others may take months or even years if you need to go to trial.
The best way to ensure that your car accident case is handled as quickly as possible is to hire a personal injury lawyer immediately following the collision. An experienced attorney is best prepared to work on settling your claim as quickly as possible while also ensuring that you recover maximum compensation.
At Norris Injury Lawyers, we have over 40 years of experience helping clients settle Alabama car accident cases. Contact our law firm today to schedule a free case review with a member of our legal team. Call us 24/7 at (800) 477-7510 or fill out the online contact form.
Factors That Determine How Long It Takes a Birmingham Car Accident Case to Settle
Car accident cases where fault is clear and no one suffered catastrophic injuries can sometimes be settled rather quickly. However, cases where multiple parties are involved or when someone has sustained life-altering injuries can take years to resolve. The time it takes all depends on the following factors.
Proof of negligence and liability
In some situations, it is clear who caused an accident. At other times, it may be more difficult to determine what happened and who is to blame. If fault for a crash is unclear, the insurance company may be reluctant to settle, delaying your case.
If it is unclear who is at fault, a car accident lawyer can investigate. It may take weeks or months to complete a thorough investigation of your case and gather sufficient evidence. Nevertheless, the time and effort spent will be well worth it when you get the maximum amount of money you are due.
Steps that your lawyer may take to prove negligence and liability may include:
- Identifying and interviewing eyewitnesses
- Hiring accident reconstructionists and other experts
- Obtaining copies of police reports, medical records, and other essential documents
- Gathering physical evidence such as photos or video surveillance footage from the accident scene
- Requesting copies of commercial driver’s logs, cell phone records, driving history, and other information relevant to the accident
Severity of injuries
The cost of medical care for car accident victims who have sustained severe injuries will likely be substantial. If you are receiving ongoing treatment for your injuries, the final amount of your medical bills has yet to be determined. The full extent of your medical expenses and ongoing care will only be fully understood once time has passed and you have recovered as much as possible.
It could take a while for you to reach maximum medical improvement after a severe accident. Thus, your Birmingham, AL, car accident lawyer will likely advise you to avoid settling until you have recovered and it is clear what damages you need.
One excuse that insurance companies give to deny claims is the existence of previous injuries. Insurers may claim that you did not sustain your injuries in the crash and that you are trying to get compensation for conditions that you suffered before the accident occurred.
If the insurance company has denied your claim for this reason, you and your attorney must prove that your injuries were caused by the car accident. This may involve obtaining medical records and testimony from your doctor, verifying that your current injuries were caused by the car accident.
Number of parties involved
In some situations, multiple parties may be liable for a car accident. Your personal injury lawyer will identify anyone who may be responsible for the collision.
Additional liable parties may include:
- Other drivers
- Parts manufacturers
- Government agencies
- The driver’s employer
If there is more than one party involved in the car accident, this means that you may have additional options for pursuing compensation. At the same time, these can complicate your claim and lengthen the time to build a case against additional parties.
Insurer delaying the claim
The more significant the damages sustained in the accident, the longer it will take the insurance company to settle. Insurers will thoroughly investigate the case, looking for any evidence or information that could be used to lower the value of your claim. During this time, insurance adjusters may continue to give you lowball settlement offers, hoping that you will give up because you need the money.
Insurance companies may also intentionally delay payouts, hoping that you will run out of time to sue. In Alabama, you usually have 2 years from the date of a car accident to file a lawsuit.
The best way to stop an insurance company from delaying your claim is to have an experienced car accident attorney on your side. A lawyer will be familiar with the tactics insurers use to avoid paying claims and know what to do to push your case forward.
Whether you need to file a lawsuit
The vast majority of Birmingham, Alabama, car accident cases are settled out of court. However, if a fair settlement agreement cannot be reached with the opposing party, then your case may need to be taken to trial. While filing a lawsuit may be necessary to recover the compensation you deserve, it will further delay how long it takes for you to receive your settlement money.
The following is a brief summary of the steps your lawyer will take when filing a car accident lawsuit on your behalf:
- Complaint: A formal complaint will be filed and sent to the defendant
- Response: The defendant must respond to your complaint within a certain amount of time (usually 30 days)
- Discovery: Both parties will gather and analyze evidence, which can take anything from a few months to a year
- Trial: Both sides will present a case before a judge and jury, which may take a few hours or days depending on the severity of the accident
- Appeal (if necessary): If one of the parties disagrees with the results, an appeal could be filed, delaying the settlement further
In many situations, the filing of a lawsuit motivates the other party to settle to avoid the expense of a court case. A settlement agreement can be reached at any stage of the claims process.
What Happens After the Insurance Company Makes a Settlement Offer or Denies Your Claim?
After a car accident claim has been filed with the insurance company, the insurer will either make a settlement offer, ask for more information, or deny your claim.
Depending on the decision that the insurer makes, you will have one of the following options:
- Accept the insurance company’s offer
- Appeal a denial
- Reject the offer and renegotiate
- Reject the offer and file a lawsuit
Keep in mind once you accept a settlement offer, you cannot go back later and ask for more money. A car accident lawyer can help you determine whether you should take the offer, negotiate further, or file a lawsuit.
How Long Does It Take to Receive a Check After Your Birmingham Car Accident Case is Settled?
Once a car accident case is concluded, both parties will sign the settlement agreement. By signing the settlement documents, the plaintiff gives up the right to pursue further legal action against the defendant or other parties known or unknown who were involved in the accident.
After the documents have been signed, the insurance company or liable party will issue a check or send a direct deposit. Typically, the money is sent within 30 days of the final documents being signed and received. In most situations, you will receive the check or deposit within a week or two. If you worked with a car accident lawyer, your check will be sent directly to the law firm for your legal fees to be easily paid out of your settlement before you receive it.
A Birmingham, AL Car Accident Lawyer Can Help Expedite Your Claim
At Norris Injury Lawyers, we understand that you need money after your car accident to cover medical bills, lost income, and other expenses. When you choose our law firm to represent you, our personal injury lawyers will work hard to negotiate a settlement on your behalf and put pressure on the insurers to expedite your claim.
Are you hesitant to contact a car accident lawyer because you are concerned about the cost? Our law firm believes that everyone deserves skilled legal representation regardless of his or her current financial situation. At Norris Injury Lawyers, we offer our clients our No Fee Guarantee®. This means that you do not pay any upfront fees and we are only paid if your case is successful and you receive a settlement.
Don’t delay in getting the help you need from our Birmingham, AL, car accident lawyers. The sooner you contact us, the sooner we can begin working on your car accident settlement.
Contact us today to schedule an initial case consultation. Call us 24/7 at (800) 477-7510, start a live chat with us, or fill out the evaluation form.