The average time for a car accident claim to run from start to finish in court is approximately 18 months. You typically have two years (2) from the date of your injury to file a lawsuit. After filing, the typical lawsuit takes anywhere from 9 to 18 months to go to trial. However, the facts of each case are unique and different. It is impossible for anyone to tell you how long your case will take without knowing more detail about your particular circumstances. What I can do is give you an idea of what factors impact how long a case takes to come to resolution.
Your case typically waits to either settle or go to trial until after you have completed your medical treatment, or until your medical treatment has been stabilized. Your case only settles once, so if there is adequate insurance coverage to cover all of your damages, then you're probably going to want to get as clear a picture as you can of the total impact of your damages before we attempt to value your claim.
If you cannot agree with the other driver's insurance company to a reasonable settlement, then your next option is to file a lawsuit. They are typically filed in the county where the accident occurred. Auto Accident lawsuits in Alabama must be filed within two years of the date of the accident; this is generally referred to as the "Statute of Limitations." For the best results, you want to give your attorney a little bit of time to work with prior to the two year deadline. If you want to attempt to settle your claim without filing a lawsuit, you need to allow your attorney six months time to work with. A lawsuit is initiated by filing a Complaint. Once we file it, we have to make sure the defendant gets a copy. Then, the defendant has 30 days to respond. If all goes properly, they will file an Answer.
Along with the Answer, the defendant will file Discovery Requests, which are written questions about your claim, such as how the accident happened, and what injuries you suffered. I will help you prepare responses to those. Some of them we might even object to and not respond at all. I will help you decide. We have thirty days to complete our responses. If you're keeping count, we're two months in at this point, and that's assuming no delays, and delays are very common. After both sides have completed and responded to each other's written questions, we gather all the relevant records. This process takes at least another month, and usually longer. It depends on how many records there are, and in how many different places.
Once everyone has had an opportunity to gather and review all of the records, we are prepared to move forward. Both parties typcially take a series of depositions, which is sort of like testifying in court, it just isn't done in court. Read more about depositions here. After we complete depositions, many cases attempt a formal settlement process known as mediation. It's voluntary, and usually productive. Even if a settlement is not reached, we might get closer to a settlement through mediation. As mediation is fairly deep in the lawsuit process, it's hard to say more about what to expect for a particular claim. It is something you and I would discuss at the appropriate time in your process. You can read more about mediation here.
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During your Initial Strategy Session, I will asist you in creating a strategy on how to best pursue your claim, whether it be the result of a Car Accident Claim, 18 Wheeler Injury, or, Alabama Workers' Compensation Claim. At your Initial Strategy Session, you will receive the following:
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