After you’ve been injured in a car accident, it’s normal to wonder when you’ll finally see compensation for harm you’ve already suffered – money can be tight due to expenses you incurred from your injuries, so looking forward to a settlement is understandable. Most of these cases settle before trial but it may take months or even years to completely wrap up a claim.
Settling a case involves presenting a demand letter, negotiating, coming to an agreement, delivering a check, and finalizing settlement papers. A good Alabama car accident lawyer should work with you during the process to explain what’s happening and look out for your best interests.
A demand letter to your insurer lets you present the facts, details about injuries, and other relevant details related to your car accident injury claim when asking for a settlement. The initial amount should be higher than you expect to settle for to give you room to negotiate.
Negotiation and Acceptance
The insurance company responds to the demand letter with a settlement offer. First offers are usually a low-ball attempt to buy you off quickly, so it’s never wise to accept one unless advised by counsel. Their offer allows you to negotiate until both parties compromise on an amount they both will accept. Take into consideration medical expenses, attorneys’ fees, and all damages you suffered when considering if an amount is enough.
Finalizing Settlement Papers
After an offer is accepted, the acceptance needs to be in writing. Once you accept the offer, your insurer will have you sign a release of all claims you could file regarding the accident. You will either receive the check at signing or a few weeks after executing the release form and closing your case.
Factors Affecting Settlement Time
Having an Attorney
Going it alone or hiring an experienced Mobile personal injury attorney can affect the length of time it takes to settle your claim. An attorney can often negotiate a higher settlement, but that can take more time. Dealing with an insurance company alone may resolve more quickly but may result in a lower settlement.
Facts of the Accident
Any dispute regarding who’s at fault for the accident can postpone settlement negotiations and prolong your case. Insurance companies will need to investigate the accident and determine fault before they are willing to negotiate and make settlement offers, and this can take months or years.
Depending on the severity of any injuries from the accident, a settlement could be delayed. It takes time to investigate and document serious injuries as well as determine the full extent and value of your injuries.
If you sued, the length of time for settlement can depend on the court’s schedule. If the court is busy, your hearings may be pushed back, and settlement can be delayed.
Contact an Alabama Personal Injury Attorney
If you or a loved one were hurt in an accident, call the skilled Mobile Personal Injury Attorneys at Stevenson Klotz today to help you deal with difficult insurers and get you the maximum possible compensation for your injuries. We have years of experience delivering aggressive representation for clients like you and recovering millions of dollars for their injuries. Call us at (850) 706-4226 or fill out our online Contact Page to schedule your no-obligatio, free initial case evaluation. Let us review your situation and help you put your best case forward starting today.
Following graduation from Cumberland School of Law at Samford University, Eric Stevenson held a number of positions including Assistant State Attorney in the First Judicial Circuit of Florida. Eric has been practicing with partner Christopher Klotz since 2015 litigating personal injury and car accidents in Alabama and Florida.