Accident victims and their families are faced with many important decisions after a car accident. Treatment options, family and caretaking changes, and legal options all need to be considered. When it comes to filing a legal claim, victims may feel hesitant. Most people have little experience with the law, and the thought of managing a long, complex legal battle can be daunting. They often want to know—how long will it take to resolve my claim? While the answer to that question is unique to each specific case, there are some common factors that affect the timeline of an injury case.
Timeline of a Personal Injury Claim in Alaska
A personal injury claim can be resolved in just a few short months, or it could take a number of years. How long your claim will take depends on the details of your accident and injuries. Some of the factors that determine the length of a claim include:
- Accident investigation. In some cases, the details of the accident are quite clear. At other times, however, it may take time to determine what caused the crash. Both law enforcement and insurance agents will investigate the accident and determine what exactly happened.
- Fault determination. After the investigation, fault will be determined. As before, it might be quite clear who or what caused the accident. This would lead to a quicker resolution of the claim. However, there is often a dispute over who is to blame or how much responsibility the involved parties share. It may take time to settle that matter.
- Evidence gathering. Gathering evidence often requires filing documents requesting information or waiting for test results (as in cases where the at-fault driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol). Finding and talking with witnesses can take time if there is not a complete list of names and contact information.
- Severity of injuries. Typically, more severe injuries would make for a longer case. This may be frustrating, but it can also protect the victim. It’s important to wait until the full extent of your injuries and your future prognosis have been determined by a medical professional. Settling a claim early can hurt a victim later if further, unexpected treatment is needed.
- The insurance company. In most cases, the at-fault driver’s insurance company would pay the accident victim. An insurance company is a business above all else, and they will take the time to seek out any way to reduce the amount of money they must pay. There may be a disagreement about the compensation that is appropriate, and negotiations often must take place. The willingness of the insurance company to play fair can affect the timeline of a claim.
- Going to trial. It is often possible to reach a settlement agreement in a personal injury claim. This means that both sides agree about who is at fault and how much compensation the victim deserves. A settlement can mean a faster resolution than going to trial, which would require significant preparation and would be scheduled by the court.
An Experienced Alaska Injury Attorney Can Help
While it’s natural to want to move forward from an accident as quickly as possible, it’s important to do so in a manner that protects the victim’s rights as fully as possible. An experienced injury attorney can help victims and their families understand these rights and determine a course of action that will be the most beneficial. An attorney can review your case and provide an idea of what your claim may entail based on the specific details of your unique claim. Knowledge of the law and experience navigating the legal system can mean a significant difference in both the time it takes to resolve an injury claim and the compensation awarded.
Attorney Ben Crittenden has helped many Alaska car accident victims obtain the compensation they deserved as quickly and completely as possible. If you or someone you love has suffered injuries in a car accident, call Ben in his Anchorage office today or take a moment to request a free copy of his book, A Guide to Car Accident Claims in Alaska, to learn more about what he does and how he may be able to help.