If you are hurt in a car accident, you may think that filing a lawsuit and going to court is the best option. But in many cases, settling your claim will be the best choice. Keep reading to learn more about the car accident lawsuit process.
Most Americans do not know how many car accident injury claims result in a settlement. Most personal injury lawsuits result in a car accident settlement and do not go to trial. Also, most insurance claims for car accident injuries are settled before a lawsuit is filed.
That said, there are some advantages to going to court and letting the jury decide the case.
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Getting Started with the Car Accident Lawsuit Process
The first part of the car accident lawsuit process is to get copies of all police reports and medical records pertaining to your injuries. You need to have these documents reviewed by an attorney to begin the legal process.
After you have chosen a personal injury attorney to handle your car accident claim, he will start to negotiate with the insurance company to see if a fair settlement is possible. The advantages of settling with the insurance company include:
- You will get compensated faster
- Avoid expensive attorney’s fees
- Not having to go to multiple court appearances
- Avoid getting nothing if the jury decides against you
The main question you and your attorney need to decide is whether you should settle the claim early and get some sort of compensation, or risk a trial and perhaps walk away empty handed.
To get negotiations going, your attorney will probably start by sending the insurance company for the liable driver a demand letter. There is a lot of preparation and gathering of evidence that must be done before the demand letter is drafted. If you had medical treatment, you need to have all your medical records in hand. Also, you will need to have your employment records that show your lost time from work.
When you have all these documents, your attorney should draft a concise demand letter. The letter will describe all events about the accident and injury and provide the exact amount of money that was spent on your medical treatments. It also will detail how much work time you lost.
After the demand letter is received, your attorney will enter into settlement talks with the insurance company.
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Car Accident Lawsuit Process: Going to Court
It is usually a better idea to try to settle the accident claim before you go to court. But settlement may not be possible. If the insurance company does not respond to your demand letter, or the offer from the insurance company does not cover your medical costs and lost earnings, you may have to go to court.
Your attorney will file the lawsuit in the appropriate court by filing a legal complaint. Then the complaint will be served on the other driver. Next is discovery, where both sides submit information to each other about their side of the case. Deposition of witnesses also will occur. Then, there is the actual trial. But you can still settle the case at any time up until the jury renders a verdict.