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Navigate a Car Accident Lawsuit with This Guide

Navigate a Car Accident Lawsuit with This Guide

If you or your loved one has suffered a car accident, you may need to file a personal injury or car accident lawsuit. However, before you get involved in the legalities and formalities of such a complex lawsuit and file a personal injury claim, it is imperative to fully understand the legal requirements, your rights, and timelines of such lawsuits. This will help you recover maximum and fair compensation not only for your personal damages but also for the property.

Thus, if you are planning to file such a lawsuit and seeking to get the right compensation, read on. In this guide, we will discuss everything from types of damages to settlement timelines that will help you make the right choice, decide whether you should settle or sue, and get the best outcome for your case.

So, without further ado, let's find out.

1. Initial Consultation with a Qualified Lawyer

Most individuals involved in a collision often forget that insurance companies work with a team of adjusters and legal advisors who start reviewing personal injury claims immediately after the accident. Thus, your foremost step should be to book an initial consultation with a board-certified lawyer associated with a reliable car accident law firm to level the playing field.

Remember that having the knowledge and experience of a qualified lawyer can significantly help you negotiate with the insurance company and reach a fair settlement, let alone protect your rights and navigate the legal process.

2. Deadline for Filing a Car Accident Lawsuit

Another important thing to know is that each state has different deadlines and laws regarding the timeframe to initiate the legal process following an auto accident, also called the statute of limitations. It is the maximum timeline for how long involved parties have to consult the court and initiate the lawsuit process. Most policies require individuals to file a claim within a reasonable period.

3. Initiating a Car Accident Lawsuit

From starting a lawsuit to resolution, the length, or the timeline of such a case may take several years or several months. However, the length usually depends on various variables, like the parties' willingness to agree upon a settlement that may happen at any time during the process and both parties' litigation strategies.

Remember that lawsuits seeking damages for losses related to car accidents are known as civil actions or civil suits. In each state, the set rules of civil actions may vary, but loosely, the same format applies.

4. Damages for Car Accident Lawsuit

If you have been involved in a car accident, you may be eligible to recover the following damages from the lawsuit.

  • Medical expenses
  • Property damage
  • Mental anguish
  • Disfigurement
  • Suffering and pain
  • Permanent disability
  • Loss of earning potential
  • Lost wages
  • Punitive damages due to negligence like distracted driving or driving while intoxicated
  • Loss of affection or companionship for your spouse

5. Suing for Additional Compensation After the Settlement

Typically, the settlement for a car accident is a one-time payment, and suing the other party to get additional compensation is not legally allowed. In fact, each settlement usually includes an agreement to release lawsuits or future claims against the other party. However, if you think the settlement failed to account for all the losses or damages you suffered or is under-compensated, you may be able to claim or challenge the settlement agreement.

6. The Decision to File a Car Accident Lawsuit

Most car accident lawsuits are often settled before they are even filed. Therefore, most settle before entering a court trial. In other words, you get an opportunity to settle the claim and avoid filing a lawsuit, helping you avoid the stress, high legal fees, and the risk of losing, let alone the time needed to pursue a trial.

Some states offer at-fault laws, requiring the insurance of the person liable for the accident to pay the damages. In contrast, almost twelve states offer no-fault laws, requiring each party's insurance to cover the injuries regardless of who caused the accident. However, some situations may call for the need to sue at-fault parties.

7. Types of Compensation

There can be many different claims when it's about a car accident lawsuit relating to injuries and damages accrued by both parties. However, the amount of settlement for every claim varies. After all, it depends upon the case's severity, including the impact on the involved parties.

For instance, if you suffer an injury due to a car accident, your fair settlement must include a sum for any long-term damage, covering an assessment of expected long-term and future needs.

8. Car Accident Lawsuit and Trial

The trial of a car accident lawsuit usually lasts for around one or a maximum of two days. Although there is no set rule on how long the trial can take. Also, such cases could be tried before a jury or a bench trial, i.e., heard by a single judge. A few states require requesting a jury trial at the time of filing the initial lawsuit complaint. Thus, once all the evidence is submitted, the judge or jury gives final remarks on the case.

However, in case either of the parties remains unsatisfied with the trial outcome, they have the right to appeal. While there are many levels of appeals, most of them are usually expensive and lengthy for the involved parties.

9. Mediation

It is a form of alternative dispute resolution where a neutral third party, also the mediator, facilitates dialog among involved parties. This allows them to reach a final and mutual settlement outside the court. However, it is important to note that mediators have the right to enable rational discussion among the involved parties but no authority to make either party settle the case.

During a personal injury mediation, both parties are in different rooms with their legal representatives. The mediator usually moves between the two rooms. This allows both parties to explain their case views and proposals about how to resolve the case.

Conclusion

Being involved in an auto accident is a highly traumatic experience. However, what is worse is the process of recovering compensation for physical injury and property damage. Especially, if you are unaware of the legalities and formalities of such cases. It can be an expensive and long journey. Therefore, an attorney's professional helps to ensure the best possible outcome.

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