If you think someone is just going to give you money for no reason, think again. No person or company is going to hand over thousands of dollars if they do not have to do so. That is why sometimes you must have a judge or jury force that hand. However, there are a lot of steps before you get to that.
If you are in a car wreck in Alabama, you have 3 choices: go after the other guy’s insurance (if he has insurance), go after your insurance company (if you have Uninsured Motorist insurance coverage) or go to court.
If you file with an insurance company, it will usually make you an offer, but it will probably be a low-ball offer. This is not the check you are looking for. Remember, you are under no obligation to accept this offer, and if you do, that is all you will ever receive.
Now it doesn’t take a genius to realize that an insurance company is better off if you accept less. This is where a lawyer can help. Clients call me often and ask if the amount offered is fair. I can give them a good idea and am happy to do that.
From my experience, the reason people without a lawyer accept too little is because they do not consider the other ways the accident has impacted them. For example, there are lost wages, pain and suffering and even indirect medical expenses.
In Alabama, you only have 2 years to file a lawsuit after the accident. If you wait too long, you are eliminating one of the three ways to collect money and probably your chance of getting a reasonably sized check.
My strongest insight: a quick settlement is rarely the best settlement. Keep that in mind.
If you are hurt in a traffic accident, you can talk to us at the Law Firm of Eiland and Ritchie for free. We want to help you get back on your feet.
Also join us on NBC 15 LawCall here in Mobile every Sunday night at 10:30 right after the news. We will take your calls live.