After going through a car accident, you may be entitled to compensation. If the other party was at fault and they owe you money, you may need to take them to court.
Many insurance companies aren’t interested in paying out claims, and this can delay the time it takes to get what you have coming to you.
Understanding a car accident lawsuit and what you have to look forward to will help you better prepare for what is going to take place. Read on to learn more about the car accident lawsuit process and more.
The Average Time for a Resolution
From the time the accident happens, you file, and you go through the court process, it usually takes around two to three years for a resolution, and that doesn’t mean you’re going to win.
If you can settle out of court, it will take less time, but you should work with an attorney to make sure you’re getting a fair settlement. Keep in mind that the insurance company doesn’t want to draw things out any longer than they have to. Every day they’re in court, that’s more money going out of their pockets.
Do I Have to Pay An Attorney Upfront?
The good news about filing your car accident claim is that you don’t have to pay an attorney upfront. You can find a lawyer that will work on your case on a no win-no fee basis.
A no win-no fee basis is pretty common when it comes to personal injury lawsuits. Most lawyers are more than happy to opt for a percentage of your settlement. If they don’t think you’re going to win, they aren’t going to take on your case.
Keep in mind that many lawyers charge 33% of your settlement for helping you secure the win.
Many people ask, “Do lawyers still get paid if they lose?” In this case, no, they don’t get paid if they lose, so you don’t have to worry about it.
Preparing for Your Case
When you’re preparing for your case, you want to have as much of your information together for your attorney as possible.
They’re going to want to gather witness testimony, police reports, medical reports, and anything else you have to prove that the accident wasn’t your fault.
In the pre-litigation phase, your attorney will evaluate your case, and based on what you’ve provided them; they will calculate the damages. If they choose to take your case, you’ll know you have a legitimate legal claim.
Before accepting, they are likely to do a negligence investigation to make sure you weren’t at fault. They will pull the other party’s driving and mobile phone records in some cases to try to prove they were at fault.
During this time, you and your attorney will put together expert witnesses to build your case. People like physicians, accident reconstruction experts, mechanics, and economists can help you build a strong case.
Getting Your Case Going
During the litigation phase, you formally file a lawsuit against the at-fault parties, and this is when the court gets in on things.
When you file your lawsuit, you’ll provide the court with a written complaint, filing fee, and anything else your attorney tells you that you need.
During the case, you’ll also go through discovery and deposition testimony. Discovery is when the two parties share information, and the deposition testimony is when all of the expert opinions and witness protection are presented formally.
After this, you can enter into mediation and settlement negotiations. Many times, neither you nor the other party want to continue on in court. Once everyone knows what the other party is working with, they’ll be more likely to want to negotiate.
Mediation gives everyone the ability to work it out without a jury by finding common ground and agreeing on a settlement. If there is no negotiation that each party can agree on, then the case goes to trial.
Trials and Appeals
The trial is what can take the longest time. Everyone has to be able to say what they have to say. Each side gets to call their witnesses and provide closing statements.
The trial might go on a few days, few weeks, or it could even go on much longer. If the jury finds in your favor, then you get the compensation you deserve.
If the jury doesn’t find in your favor, you still may have the opportunity to file an appeal if you or your attorney thinks there was a legal error. Keep in mind that appeals are very complex and could take even longer to get through.
Your best bet out of all of this is to try to come to some kind of agreement with the other side so both of you can save a lot of time and stay out of court as much as possible. Make sure you speak to your attorney before accepting a settlement deal for the best results.
Making It Through a Car Accident Lawsuit
Now that you know more about what goes into a car accident lawsuit, you don’t have to flounder around trying to figure everything out.
Instead of getting frustrated with how things are done, you’ll be able to understand what’s happening and navigate it easily. When you know what to expect, you’re more likely to be able to get the money you deserve.
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