Timeline for an Injury Claim after a Car Accident
After you are involved in a car accident in Alabama, you will need to file a car accident claim to recover compensation for your injuries and property damage. While you may need the money – and need it fast – how quickly your claim will be settled depends upon a number of factors, including how soon a determination of fault can be made, the extent of your injuries, and more. After a car accident, this is what you can expect when pursuing an injury claim.
Step 1: Seek Medical Treatment
The first thing that you will need to do after a car accident is to seek medical treatment for your injuries. Depending upon the extent of your injuries, this process alone could take weeks – you may even have to stay in the hospital for a month or longer. It will be difficult to estimate the full value of your medical expenses and file your claim until after medical treatment is completed; in fact, you should not pursue damages until you have reached your maximum level of medical improvement.
Step 2: Hire a Lawyer
As soon as you are able after a car accident, you should think seriously about hiring an attorney. An attorney will know how to guide you through the claims process, and how to maximize your settlement amount. An attorney will also handle upfront costs, organization of documents, negotiations, an investigation, and more.
Once you hire your attorney, they will immediately get to work on organizing important documents for your claim and determining the value of your case. Your attorney will consider the full extent of your losses, including future losses and pain and suffering, in order to calculate the total amount of damages you have suffered. The investigative process can take months to complete, especially if your losses are great or if fault is particularly difficult to determine.
Step 3: Make a Demand
The third step in the process, once you and your attorney know what your claim is worth, is making a demand to the insurance company of the at-fault party. A demand is made via letter, and should contain all important details related to your claim, including your claim number, your name, the name of the insured (at-fault) party, a statement of facts, details of your injuries and treatment, a list of out-of-pocket expenses, details of your lost wages and pain and suffering, and the exact amount of money that you are demanding to be paid.
Step 4: Negotiations
Once you file your demand letter, the insurance company will either reject your demand outright, counter with a smaller settlement offer, or agree to your demand and settle the claim. If you are not offered the amount of money that you believe you are entitled to, you can engage in negotiations with the insurance adjuster. Negotiations can take weeks or months to conclude and in some cases, parties may be unable to reach a settlement agreement.
Step 5: Filing a Lawsuit
A car accident claim is the informal process of pursuing damages from an at-fault party (or their insurer) after a crash; a lawsuit is the formal process of bringing forth a civil action in court. If a settlement cannot be reached out of court without legal action, then filing a lawsuit may be necessary. It is still possible to reach a settlement before a case goes to trial. You must file a car accident lawsuit within two years from the date of your car accident.
If a lawsuit is filed, it may take a year or more for the case to actually go to trial. Once the trial begins, it typically only last a few days.
Contact Our Experienced Alabama Car Accident Lawyer Today
When you are injured in a car crash, you don’t want to have to wait years before you are paid the compensation that you need and deserve. While the timeline for each case can vary significantly depending upon the details, our lawyers at The Law Office of Gary W. Fillingim, L.L.C. work hard to get you the maximum amount of compensation available as fast as possible. We handle the entire process from start to finish, beginning with a thorough investigation and concluding with litigation if need-be.
If you’ve been injured in an accident, call Attorney Gary Fillingim at the Fillingim Law Office and speak with a knowledgeable and dedicated Mobile Alabama personal injury lawyer. The consultation and evaluation are always free and we never charge you anything until we recover for you. Don’t wait, call us now for your free evaluation at 251-445-7257 or visit us at Fillingimlaw.com.