If you are hurt in a car accident that was due to another driver’s negligence, you may seek compensation for your injuries and damages in a personal injury lawsuit. This compensation can pay for your medical bills, lost earnings in the past and future, and pain and suffering. But how does the auto accident lawsuit process work?
It involves more than just turning in a car accident claim to the at-fault driver’s insurance company and getting a check to cover your damages. It will probably involve a time-consuming investigation of your car accident and negotiations between your personal injury attorney and the auto insurance company. If you are unable to reach a good settlement with the auto insurance company, you may need to move forward with an auto accident lawsuit.
Car Accident Investigation
After you have filed the personal injury claim with the other driver’s auto insurance, the claims adjuster will investigate the accident. The investigation will look at all of the evidence to prove that you have a valid claim. Evidence the adjuster will review include the police report, pictures of the accident scene, eyewitness statements, medical records, testimony from the other driver and the area where the crash occurred.
Also, the insurance company will talk to experts about the accident and injuries, such as your doctor, an accident reconstruction expert, and perhaps a mechanical engineer.
It is possible that your case could end up going to court, but most end in a car accident lawsuit settlement. If your personal injury attorney thinks the settlement offer you have gotten is fair, the case could end here. Do not accept any car insurance company settlement without talking to your lawyer.
Filing an Auto Accident Lawsuit
If a fair settlement is impossible or cannot be reached by the parties, your attorney may go ahead and file the lawsuit. They lawsuit will be filed in the appropriate circuit court in your state. This court is typically located in the county where the crash occurred, or where the at-fault driver resides.
Even after you file a lawsuit, you may be able to settle the claim out of court. Your attorney may continue to talk to the auto insurance company and a settlement may be reached at any time prior to the jury rendering a verdict.
Going to Court
If no settlement is forthcoming, you may end up going to court to have a jury render a decision.
Both parties will show up in court and present claims to the jury. After both sides cross examine witnesses and present their evidence, the jury will adjourn and reach a verdict. The judge will read the verdict, and you have the option to appeal if the decision goes against you.
Keep in mind that when you decide to go to court, you stand a chance of losing and walking away with nothing. That is why it is important to have a good personal injury attorney working with you on your case. He or she can advise you if it is best to take a settlement, where you are guaranteed at least some amount of compensation, or risk going to court for more money, but also could walk away empty handed.