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What You Need To Know About Auto Accident Litigation

Posted June 21, 2024 | Personal Injury Blog

A serious auto accident can be absolutely devastating. A leading cause of injuries in the US, car accidents send 3.8 million people to the emergency room annually. After such an incident, you may be hurt physically, drained emotionally, and struggling financially. 

If you were in an accident caused by the negligent or reckless acts of another driver, legal resources are available to help you attain the restitution you deserve. An insurance claim or lawsuit is often a key step in pursuing just compensation for your losses. 

Understandably, in the aftermath of a severe car crash, you may feel confused and overwhelmed by the prospect of taking legal action. Below, we will explain the steps generally required to resolve your auto accident claim through litigation.

The Legal Process of an Auto Accident Claim

The process of litigating a car accident claim involves several phases. Each of these steps is important in obtaining fair compensation for your damages – and best taken with the support of an experienced personal injury attorney.

Seek prompt medical attention

The actions you take immediately after your car accident can significantly impact the strength of your claim. Once you have been hurt, it is essential to have a medical evaluation done as soon as possible. Addressing your injuries without delay can help ensure a better long-term prognosis while also documenting the gravity of what happened.

Medical treatment and expenses account for a significant part of the compensation amount commonly awarded in auto injury cases. Therefore, detailed medical records can be a deciding factor in an auto accident lawsuit.

Contact the insurance company

One of the first things you need to do after a car accident is notify your insurance company. In some instances, you may need to file a claim with the other party’s insurer. If you fail to promptly tell the insurance company about the crash, they may deny your claim later. 

When you file your car accident claim, the insurance company will review any evidence you provide and likely conduct its own investigation into what happened. 

Contact a personal injury lawyer

Any time someone else might be legally responsible for your accident, it is advantageous to discuss your situation with an experienced personal injury attorney. This is especially the case if you suffered significant injuries or property damage in the incident.

Your lawyer will be able to examine the evidence and evaluate the strength of your claim. He or she can help you navigate the legal system and advise you on the best steps to attain maximum monetary compensation for your pain and suffering. 

Begin an investigation into the auto accident

Once you retain a lawyer, he or she will begin an independent investigation into the car accident on your behalf. In this way, the facts of your case can be firmly established. This lays a solid foundation for a successful auto accident suit moving forward. 

Your lawyer’s legal team will likely examine any physical evidence from the scene of the accident, review emergency responder reports, and interview eyewitnesses to the incident.

He or she may also hire an investigator or consult expert witnesses in an effort to prove exactly how the accident happened.

Further, your attorney will review your medical records and history to determine the severity of your injuries and the full impact they have on your life. He or she can then assign a fair monetary value to your auto injury claim.

Send a demand letter to all liable parties

Once your lawyer has determined the facts of your case, he or she will send a settlement demand letter to the other side’s attorney or insurance company. The demand letter states how the auto accident happened; your injuries and medical treatments; and the compensation amount you are seeking for your medical bills, lost earnings, and pain and suffering.

The defendant’s lawyer or insurance company will generally respond to your demand with a counteroffer. At this stage of the legal process, comprehensive negotiations may occur between the parties involved before the accident claim is resolved.

If an amicable and appropriate settlement agreement can not be reached, the injury case will move into the litigation phase.

File an auto accident lawsuit

The litigation process begins when you and your car accident lawyer file a lawsuit in civil court. The other party will be notified that you are taking legal action against them. This step is typically only taken after all options for settlement with the insurance company have been exhausted.

When you file an accident lawsuit, you are putting the outcome of your case and the settlement award amount in the hands of the judge and jury.

Complete the discovery process

The discovery phase of an auto accident lawsuit allows each party to investigate the other side’s legal claims and defenses. 

During the pre-trial period, the defendant and plaintiff will request to see paperwork, accident reports, medical records, and other evidence, such as pictures and physical objects related to the case. Throughout this time, each party may be asked to respond to questions while under oath.

Additionally, the discovery phase is when your attorney will investigate any disputed facts in your case. He or she may then petition the court to throw out evidence that is irrelevant to your claim.

Arrange settlement negotiations and mediation

Many civil courts require the parties to enter mediation before moving forward with a lawsuit. The mediation process is often used to negotiate an acceptable and fair settlement agreement. 

In mediation, a neutral third party facilitates a discussion between the plaintiff and the defendant. The goal is to come to a mutually agreeable resolution so as to relieve all parties of the stress, expense, and time involved in a lawsuit. 

Take the auto accident case to trial

At times, negotiation and mediation attempts are frustrated and a reasonable settlement agreement cannot be reached. Consequently, your auto accident attorney will use the facts and evidence collected throughout the legal process to argue your case at trial. 

Get Advice From Experienced Car Accident Attorneys

A bad car accident can change your entire life. Deciding whether to pursue a lawsuit against the other party is a weighty decision that may greatly impact the amount of compensation you receive. When considering such a serious matter, you need sound legal advice.

The car accident attorneys at Fielding Law are committed to helping injury victims rebuild their lives after a crash. Our empathetic legal team has both the skills and resources needed to guide and advocate for our clients throughout the litigation process. 

Please don’t wait to get the help you need after a car accident. Call a personal injury lawyer at Fielding Law at (877) 880-4090 or fill out our online contact form for a free consultation. 

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Text edited by Mitchell Fielding, a personal injury lawyer and partner at Fielding Law. Mitchell is known for his hard work ethic, friendly personality and dedication to the law. You can find out personal injury law offices in Taylorsville, UT and Mesquite, TX.