If you’ve been involved in a car accident, you’ve likely sustained personal injuries and damages to your vehicle. In addition to physical injuries, many auto accident victims struggle with financial and emotional hardships. It may be in your best interest to hire an attorney to protect your rights and receive a fair settlement. You can then focus on your recovery and improve your chances of receiving the full compensation you deserve. 

The process of a car accident lawsuit can be confusing. Our legal team has compiled an overview of the process so you have an idea of what to expect during your injury claim. 

Pre-Litigation Phase

Once you select an attorney, both of you will investigate the details of the accident, collecting documentation and facts to support your claim. This preparation stage is essential to a well-developed injury claim. The process of the pre-litigation phase is as follows:

  • Initial Evaluation. At your initial consultation with your attorney, both of you discuss the details of your case and determine whether there is a valid case for a personal injury claim.
  • Documentation and Damage Calculation. Once you decide to file a claim, your attorney will request access to your medical records and history to better understand the extent of the physical, emotional, and psychological injuries you incurred from the accident. Additionally, your attorney will request your medical and treatment bills. An estimate of your total damages is calculated from the accident’s financial, physical, and psychological impact. 
  • Accident Investigation. In addition to collecting medical records and other documentation, your attorney may investigate the accident scene to collect evidence, obtain copies of the incident report, interview law enforcement officers and witnesses. Additionally, they will evaluate the condition of the other vehicle and may request the other party’s driving or mobile phone records. All the collected data is used to prove the other party was negligent, resulting in the car accident and your injuries. 
  • Consultation With Experts. To develop a strong case. experienced attorneys build networks of experts to consult on specific matters about car accidents. This network can include but is not limited to physicians and medical specialists, accident reconstruction experts, mechanics, and life care planners. 
  • Insurance Negotiation. Your attorney negotiates with insurance adjusters to resolve your case without filing a lawsuit. Many claims settle out of court After intense negotiations, most cases settle out of court. If the insurance company fails to offer a fair settlement, the claim progresses to litigation.

Litigation Phase

A lawsuit is formally filed against the at-fault parties to start the ligation phase. While settlement negotiations can continue during this phase, you and your attorney must comply with the court’s procedural rules and prepare for trial.

  • Filing a Lawsuit. When filing a personal injury lawsuit, you must provide the court with a written complaint plus additional paperwork, filing fee, and serve your papers to the other party. Most accident victims choose to work with an experienced injury attorney. It’s easy to make mistakes filing on your own, which could result in reduced compensation or dismissal of your case. 
  • Discovery. During the discovery period, the attorneys from both parties investigate the facts of the case. Discovery is a formal process where both parties to a lawsuit agree to share documents, evidence, and other information with each other. Your attorney will ask questions and request documents from the opposing attorneys, and they will do the same in return. You may have to answer a written series of questions from The defendant may request that you answer interrogatories or a written series of questions.
  • Deposition Testimony. During the pre-litigation phase, your attorney will collect witness and expert opinions. The formal presentation of these testimonies is called a deposition. Depositions are statements taken under oath and can be given by witnesses to the accident, the responding police officer, or any individuals who consulted on your case. A court reporter transcribes each person’s testimony, which can be admitted at trial, if necessary.
  • Mediation and Settlement Negotiations. Many injury attorneys seek to settle cases out of court through mediation, as all lawsuits involve a level of risk and unpredictability - no matter how well-prepared you are. Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) where the parties to a lawsuit meet with a neutral third-party, called a mediator, to settle the case out of court. The mediator listens to the evidence from both parties, to help you find common ground and come to a settlement agreement. Mediation is designed to settle a case early in the process rather than spending time and expense on litigation and court costs. If the parties cannot negotiate a fair settlement, your case goes to trial.

Trial

Nearly 95% of all accident injury cases are settled before going to trial. However, in some cases going to court is necessary to receive the compensation you deserve. 

If your case goes to trial, it will likely be a jury trial. A group of your peers listens to arguments and reviews evidence submitted from both parties. The jury will issue a verdict based upon the facts presented and laws pertaining to your case. If the jury rules in your favor, the trial process is over. If not, you and your attorney may be able to file an appeal to challenge the verdict. 

At any point during the lawsuit process, including during a trial, the defense can offer a settlement. Your attorney can advise you on whether to take the settlement or continue your case, but ultimately you decide to accept the settlement agreement. If you choose to take the settlement, your case is considered resolved and is dismissed. 

At Hudgins Law Firm, our sole responsibility is to YOU. We will fight for the compensation you deserve following an auto accident. We deal with insurance companies and take them to court if necessary. To set up a FREE consultation, call us toll-free at 800-950-5534, or complete our online contact form. We’re the right team for you!


Sources

https://www.attorneys.com/auto... https://www.alllaw.com/articles/nolo/personal-injury/how-long-after-accident-should-file-claim.html 

https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/reasons-to-file-a-car-accident-lawsuit.html