When you have been in a car accident, the trauma you experience is often something you want to forget as quickly as you can. The distraction caused by your injuries and property damage lead most people to want to reach a resolution quickly so they can get their lives back to normal. The length of time it may take to actually resolve your car accident claims will depend on several different factors that a car accident lawyer can explain. While having a lawyer is not a guarantee that your case will be resolved to your liking, consulting with a lawyer for car accident case issues is still a wise thing to do.
Understanding your option to settle your car accident case
The term “settlement” in the context of a car accident case refers to the agreement between everyone involved in the accident to resolve any lingering disputes, usually through an exchange of money. The victim in the accident will also be expected to dismiss any pending claims and release the at-fault party from all liability relating to the car accident. A settlement can be reached at almost any time, including before a lawsuit is actually filed.
What typically affects the likelihood of a settlement?
With few exceptions, most car accident cases move along the same track. However, the among to time it may take to pursue and litigate a car accident case can be different depending on several factors. These factors include the nature and degree of any personal injuries and how complicated it may be to establish and prove those losses. A lawyer for car accident case can evaluate your situation and help you determine how likely it is your claims can be resolved.
Issues regarding the nature and extent of personal injuries
The nature and extent of your injuries can have an effect on how long it may take to resolve your case. The more complicated or serious the injuries are, the more time it will take to investigate and gather proof relating to those injuries. The more people that were injured, the more time it will take to gather evidence. Another factor is whether or not your injuries have “matured.” Depending on the nature of your injury, it may take a while for the injury to fully manifest itself. The only way to truly obtain full recovery, you need to wait until you have fully recovered, or at least been released from your doctor’s care.
How to prove your losses
Once your injuries have been assessed, the next step is to obtain documentation to prove the losses you have sustained. This will include not only medical records and bills for your medical expenses but also evidence of any other out-of-pocket expenses and lost wages, as long as they are a result of the auto accident. Many people do not realize how long it can actually take to gather your medical records. Some health care providers can take months to provide such documents. But, without this evidence, it is impossible to begin negotiating a settlement of your auto accident claims.
Legal issues that can affect your car accident case
In addition to the legal issue of damages, there are two other common legal challenges that frequently cause delays in litigation of an auto accident case. Those two issues are liability and causation. That is, who is responsible for the injuries and did that guilty party’s conduct actually cause your injuries. These issues can often be complicated and the facts are not always black and white.
Proving the appropriate theory of liability
The simple fact that the other person was driving the car that hit yours, doesn’t automatically make that person at-fault for the resulting auto accident. In some situations, the other driver will try to shift some, if not all, of the blame on you. For example, there are defenses known as contributory negligence of assumption of risk, which may create a real issue of liability in your case. If those defenses are raised, the resolution of your case may be further delayed. It is important to have as much evidence as you can to support your theory of liability, including witness testimony, if possible.
Proving what caused your injuries
You might assume that, if your neck and back are hurting immediately after an auto accident, that is evidence enough that your injuries were caused by the other driver. That is not always the case, however. If the at-fault driver can establish that any aspect of your injury was pre-existing, then proving your injuries will become very problematic. Sometimes, there are even questions as to how serious your injuries truly are. In some auto accident cases, experts are required to prove that a particular accident would actually lead to the type of injuries you claim to have sustained.
If you have questions regarding car accidents or any other personal injury matters in Arkansas or Missouri, please contact the Cottrell Law Office for a free consultation. You can contact us either online or by calling us toll-free at (800) 364-8305.
He is licensed to practice law in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas, eastern Arkansas, western Arkansas, and western Missouri. He was Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Crawford County, Kansas from 1987-1989.
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