What do I need to know about the car accident lawsuit process?
If you are hurt in a car accident that is due to the negligence of another driver, you can seek compensation in a personal injury lawsuit. But how does the car accident lawsuit process work?
The car accident lawsuit process is more complex than simply filing a claim with the insurance company. The process usually involves an investigation of the car accident, and negotiations between your lawyer and the insurance company. You may need to file a suit if a settlement cannot be reached through negotiation.
Below are the most common aspects of the car accident lawsuit process.
Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney
You should do ample investigation to find a good car accident attorney experienced in successful trial outcomes. Next, you will sign a contract stating you will pay approximately 25% to 33% of monies awarded after the case is concluded.
Your lawyer will research the case to understand how and what your resulting injuries and damages are. After, they then will deal with the other driver’s insurance company and try to reach a settlement.
Most car accident claims end in settlement not trial, but not every time. Therefore, your attorney will encourage you to settle if a fair settlement offer is made.
If the auto insurance company will not offer a fair settlement, your lawyer will file a personal injury lawsuit in court. The judge sets a deadline for every aspect of the lawsuit process. The entire legal process can take weeks or months, depending on how serious your injuries are.
Complaint and Answer
This document states your injury and damage allegations. It will be filed in the county where the accident happened, or where the defendant lives. The defendant is served the complaint and needs to answer within 20 or 30 days.
Each party to the lawsuit collects case relevant evidence, documents, information and testimony from all parties. Which can include document requests and depositions.
The defendant may file a motion before or after the discovery phase to ask the court to take action of some kind on their behalf. This motion might ask the court to dismiss the case or one of your claims. Your lawyer has about 30 days to respond.
This is a type of alternative dispute resolution that either side can request during the case. Therefore, mediation involves both sides and their attorneys, as well as a neutral mediator. During the mediation process, both sides argue their case and try to reach a settlement before trial.
If mediation fails, the case goes to trial. Then, each side will present their side to the judge or jury. After that, it will be decided whether the defendant is liable and how much you should be awarded, if anything.
In conclusion, most car accident cases end in settlement because a trial is risky and time consuming. It is possible you could walk away empty handed. Therefore, it is important to discuss settlement vs. trial compensation carefully with your attorney.