As a car accident victim, you will no doubt have concern not just for your health, but also your financial well-being after the accident. Such accidents are quite common with drunk driving being among the leaders in car accident cases. Whatever the cause of the accident, you have the right to fair compensation following your car accident case.
With the help of a qualified personal injury lawyer specializing in car accident law, you can file a claim with the negligent parties’ insurance companies and as may be necessary, file a lawsuit to get well-deserved compensation.
That said, what can you expect from the process going forward? Here is a brief run-through of what lies ahead as you file a claim, and lawsuit following a car accident
The Pre-Litigation Phase
This stage, before litigation or lawsuit is crucial and involves gathering information, consulting with experts, filing the insurance claim, and negotiating with the insurers. Here is what to expect from this stage
- Initial Consultation– Schedule an initial consultation with a qualified persona injury lawyer as soon as possible. During this session, the attorney will evaluate your case, for all its merits. The lawyer can advise you on whether or not your claim is valid.
- Documenting Medical- Your lawyer will obtain your medical records, and make time to speak to your doctors, all in a bid to assess your overall medical standing, post-accident.
- Calculating Damages- Your lawyer will consider several factors when calculating damages. This includes the type and severity of your injuries, injury-related direct expenses, lost wages, and other consequences, as well as the expected length of recovery.
- Filing a Claim-You lawyer will reach out to the insurance company, letting them know that their policyholder has been involved in an accident and you are filing a claim as an injured party. The insurer will initiate an investigation into the same, and you will have an adjuster assigned to your case.
- Accident Investigation-Your lawyer will initiate a thorough investigation into your crash or accident. This includes going through and analyzing police reports and witness interviews. Your lawyer will also investigate the scene of the accident, as well as the other driver’s phone records and vehicle. Succinctly put, your lawyer will be investigating and looking for information proving the other driver’s negligence, and by extension, culpability.
- Consulting with Experts-Expert testimony will no doubt strengthen your case. Your lawyer will want to consult with not just doctors, but also accident reconstruction experts and engineers.
- Negotiation with the Insurance Company-Having gathered all the information to help with building your case, your attorney will have what it takes to sit at the negotiating table with the negligent driver’s insurance company. The insurer’s legal team will no doubt have done as much due diligence before this negotiation stage. It the better if the legal teams representing can come to a settlement that is agreeable to both parties. If that is not the case, your attorney can then go ahead and file a court complaint. Filing the complaint will initiate a lawsuit.
The Litigation and Mediation Phase
Following a failure to reach a settlement, pre-litigation, your lawyer can then go ahead to file a lawsuit against the negligent party or parties. In preparation for the trial, your lawyer will give time to the discovery phase, which involves taking and reviewing the sworn statements of witnesses in your car accident case.
After the discovery phase, your lawyer an insurer’s legal team will have another sit down to discuss the findings of the discovery. Present during this meeting will be a mediator, who will be there to help you get to an amicable agreement. The mediator is a trained professional who will bring an unbiased perspective into the negotiations.
If you fail to reach an agreement at this mediated negotiation stage, then your car accident case lawsuit can proceed to the next stage, which is going before a civil court judge.
The Trial and Appeal Phase
At the civil court stage, a judge, or alternatively, a jury of your peers will be based on the evidence presented by lawyers from both sides, deciding the verdict of your case. Whoever the decision is in favor of, the other party is at liberty to file an appeal. If none is filed, you can count the decision of the court as a conclusion of the matter. The appeal, if filed, should follow more or less the same process as the initial litigation.
Being involved in a car accident can leave you with physical as well as non-physical injuries. These injuries may leave you unable to carry on with work, or with extra medical expenses. While there are ways to generate some extra money, it is your right to get fair compensation for these injuries. As such, be sure to work with a qualified personal injury lawyer to get exactly that.