How Does a Car Accident Settlement Work in Mobile, AL?

Another driver hit your car, injured you, and caused damage to your vehicle. If you believe the accident was the other driver’s fault, you may expect them to cover your medical bills and other damages. However, like many accident victims, you might be unsure how to proceed with filing a claim.

If you’re asking, “How does a car accident settlement work in Alabama?” this article will give you some general information. A car accident lawyer in Mobile, AL, can provide more detailed guidelines and determine how much your case is worth.

Step 1: Contact a Car Accident Lawyer

Calling a personal injury lawyer is one of the first things you should do after a car accident. An experienced attorney will explain how personal injury settlements work and review your case to see whether you have grounds for a claim. Then, the lawyer will let you know whether they’re prepared to represent your case. 

Your lawyer can also handle communication with insurance adjusters, who may call you after your accident to pressure you into a lowball settlement or trick you into saying something that may undermine your claim. 

Step 2: Investigation and Calculating Damages

Your lawyer will work with you to collect any available evidence of the accident, including the police report, medical documents, witness statements, photos, videos, and your account of the collision. Your attorney may also recommend hiring a professional like an accident reconstructionist to strengthen your case and prove negligent behavior such as distracted driving.

Your lawyer will then calculate your damages, including both losses you already suffered and prospective damages like long-term rehabilitation and lost earning capacity. The latter is especially important after serious or catastrophic injuries that may leave you with a permanent disability. 

Step 3: A Demand Letter and Settlement Negotiations

Once your lawyer has a clear picture of what your damages are worth, they will issue a demand letter to the other motorist’s lawyer or insurance company. This letter will list your injuries and other losses, provide supporting evidence, and request compensation. 

The at-fault driver’s insurer may comply with this settlement demand, reject it, or, as happens more often, make a counteroffer. The other side may try to prove that your damages are lower than you claim or that your injuries stem from a pre-existing condition. This back and forth may take some time while your lawyer works to negotiate a fair settlement. 

Step 4: Deciding Whether To Accept a Settlement or Proceed to a Lawsuit

At this point, you will need to decide whether you accept the offer. It’s important to remember that settlement agreements are binding contracts. Once you sign an agreement, you release the other side of further liability and give up on your right to pursue any additional claims for this accident. 

Accepting the offer would shorten your case settlement time. It’s the quickest way to provide the funds you need to cover your medical and living expenses after an accident. However, you may consider going to court if the other side makes an offer far below your case’s estimated worth.

Your lawyer can help you weigh the pros and cons of accepting a settlement vs. filing a lawsuit. However, the final decision is yours. There’s always some risk involved in a lawsuit since you can’t predict its outcome, but sometimes litigation is the only remaining way to fight for justice.

Step 5: Litigation

The answer to “How does a car accident settlement work?” doesn’t always involve a lawsuit. However, if negotiations don’t work out and you decide to file, your attorney will draft a complaint that explains how the accident happened and what you demand as compensation. 

The next step will be a discovery process, in which you, the defendant, and any witnesses will testify under oath. Both attorneys can use the information found during discovery to prove their arguments.

The other side may make a new, more acceptable offer after discovery. If negotiations are still unsuccessful, you and your lawyer will prepare for trial, which will decide the outcome of your case.

Although car accident cases usually settle before this stage, choosing a lawyer with good courtroom skills is important. You’ll have a better chance of negotiating a reasonable settlement if the other side knows you’re ready to proceed to trial.

What Do Car Accident Settlements Cover?

Your car accident settlement may compensate you for the following:

  • Medical bills (including costs you already covered and prospective expenses)
  • Lost wages
  • Reduced or lost earning capacity
  • Damage to your vehicle
  • Pain and suffering (physical and mental anguish, reduced quality of life)
  • Loss of consortium

If the at-fault motorist’s actions involved gross negligence or recklessness, like driving under the influence in a school zone, the court may also award you punitive damages. 

How Long Do You Have To File a Claim?

Usually, you must file a car accident claim within two years of the accident. Acting more quickly can help your case. 

Even if you suffered a serious injury and the full extent of your damages is unclear initially, you should start working with a lawyer as soon as possible. Quick action will make it easier to secure evidence, contact witnesses, and reconstruct the chain of events that led to the car crash. 

Call Jackson & Foster for Help With Your Car Accident Claim

According to Mobile car accident statistics, most Alabama drivers will end up in a vehicle accident at some point. If this happened to you and now you’re asking, “How does a car accident settlement work?” call Jackson & Foster. Our skilled car accident lawyers will handle all the steps of your claim, work hard to ensure your compensation is as high as possible, and provide unwavering legal support until your case settles.

Call 251-433-6699 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation today. 

Contact us for an evaluation of your case today.