If you or someone you love has been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence – car or truck crash, motorcycle accident, slip and fall, or wrongful death – you may decide to pursue damages and seek compensation for your losses. When the accident wasn’t your fault, it’s not fair that you should be stuck with medical bills, lost wages, and the pain and suffering that come with these tragic circumstances.
An Alabama personal injury case is often the best way to achieve a positive outcome, which includes an award for the damages you need and deserve to move on with your life. But, this can be a daunting process, and you may not want to jump into something that is going to take years to resolve.
You may wonder if your injury case can be resolved quickly? It certainly is possible, but if you settle quickly, you most likely won’t receive the full value of your case. Your Alabama personal injury attorney will want to make sure that your rights are protected, and you aren’t shortchanged in the process. There is a basic timeline for all personal injury cases as well as several factors that could delay your settlement.
Alabama Personal Injury Case Timeline
Each personal injury case is unique, but they all progress according to a similar timeline. Between the date of the accident and the resolution of your case, these are various milestones that you can expect:
- Medical treatment. After you’ve been involved in an accident, you should seek immediate medical care. This could be ongoing until you stabilize, lasting anywhere from a few months to several years.
- Consult an attorney. Speak with an experienced Alabama personal injury attorney as soon as possible after your accident about your rights and legal options.
- Claim investigation. Your attorney will investigate your case and collect the evidence necessary to substantiate your claim.
- File an insurance claim or demand a settlement. Many personal injury cases settle before going to court. Your attorney will file claims with the appropriate insurance companies and speak to you about your settlement options.
- File personal injury lawsuit. If you are unable to reach a fair settlement agreement that fully compensates you for your losses, your attorney will file a personal injury lawsuit. Getting a trial date can take a year or more.
- Both sides will engage in the investigation of each other’s claims and legal defenses. There will be written questions (interrogatories) as well as depositions of witnesses and other interested parties.
- Mediation and/or arbitration. Before a trial, both parties will attempt to settle the case again through mediation, arbitration, or both.
- If your case does not settle by this point, you will go to trial. The defendant can also appeal the decision if they lose.
Factors That Could Delay Your Personal Injury Case
Not all personal injury cases settle quickly. In fact, an insurance company that tries to push a quick settlement may be trying to get off the hook for much less than your case is actually worth. There are three common reasons that personal injury cases take a long time to resolve.
- There are problems with the case. Your case might take longer to settle if there are questions or disputes around two issues – liability (who was at fault) and damages (the severity of the injury or other losses).
- The case is “valuable.” The more money your case is worth, the more resistance you will meet from the other side. An insurer will insist on either investigating or fighting every aspect of your case if “big money” is involved.
- You haven’t stabilized medically. A personal injury case becomes difficult to settle if you are still receiving treatment for your injuries. Once you reach maximum medical improvement, the parties can place a more accurate value on your damages.
Speak With An Experienced Alabama Personal Injury Attorney
The Alabama personal injury attorneys at McPhillips Shinbaum, LLP, have over 153 years of combined experience helping injured victims seek justice in a variety of personal injury matters. If you or someone you care about has been injured due to another party’s negligence, our seasoned Alabama personal injury lawyers can help you recover damages for medical care, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
Contact our Montgomery office now at 334.262.1911 or reach us online to schedule your initial consultation.