In a car accident case, you may start with your end goal of getting a check for your injuries and work backward from there. In any car accident case, you can reach the same result through numerous. The one constant in all of these cases is that you must work hard to get full compensation for your injuries. Therefore, give yourself the best chance to obtain the best possible legal outcome in your case and hire a car accident lawyer.
Once your lawyer understands more about your car accident case, they will decide with you on the best legal strategy to get you financial compensation.
Often, your lawyer will start with the other driver’s insurance company. However, the insurance company can deny the claim. They may not offer you nearly enough money to compensate you fully. The insurance company may not seriously attempt to settle your case, and they may waste your time.
Your Car Accident Case Might Lead to Court
Your lawyer can recommend that you take your case to court and let the jury decide the matter. You have a legal right to a court hearing, whether in front of a judge or jury. You do not need to let the insurance company decide matters because they do not have that power. You can file a lawsuit against the responsible driver in court at any point in the legal process.
As a plaintiff in a civil lawsuit, you control if or when you file your lawsuit. You will file it in a court that has jurisdiction over your matter, usually in state court. You can file the lawsuit so long as you do so within the statute of limitations.
How a Car Accident Lawsuit Begins
Your attorney will investigate your car accident and gather the proof to show the other driver’s negligence. They will draft the legal complaint that lays out the basic facts of your case, why you deserve financial compensation, and how much you seek. The lawsuit begins when your attorney files the complaint with the court and serves it on the other party.
Your lawsuit will be against the responsible driver instead of their insurance company. However, the insurance company has a legal duty to defend its policyholder from lawsuits according to the terms of their contract. The insurance company will call the shots during the case for all intents and purposes. The insurance company will hire and pay the attorney who is defending the lawsuit.
Insurance defense lawyers defend many cases on behalf of insurance companies. The insurance company either pays them a flat fee or by the hour. They understand the intricacies of car accident litigation since they handle them regularly.
What Happens After You File a Case
Once you file your complaint, the defense attorney typically has 30 days to file their answer in court. They must answer your allegations individually when they have information that can respond. The defense may ask for additional time to file the answer.
The defense may file a motion to dismiss your case on various grounds near the outset of the case. The court will need to rule on them before your case can proceed. Sometimes, the insurance company may settle the case if they cannot get the court to dismiss it.
Discovery Is the Most Important Part of Your Case
After the initial motions, the most essential part of the lawsuit will begin. Many people think the actual trial is the most critical part of a lawsuit. While the hearing is vital, you will not have a strong case unless you acquire evidence that proves what happened in the accident.
You do not begin a car accident lawsuit with all the necessary evidence in your hands. Some of it can be in the hands of the defendant. Your lawyer can seek evidence through the crucial discovery process.
How You Can Build Your Case in Discovery
In discovery, you can build your case through:
- Interrogatories – You can submit factual questions to the defendant, which they must answer.
- Requests for admissions – Your lawyer can also send some facts to the defendant, which asks them to admit specific facts.
- Requests for production of documents – Your attorney will request any documents relevant to your case that are in the defendant’s possession.
These requests aim to obtain facts and evidence and learn of potential witnesses in your case. You may learn of people the defendant will call as witnesses and want to depose them.
Depositions Are a Critical Part of Discovery
Depositions are the most important part of the discovery process. Your attorney can question the defendant and other witnesses under oath. The facts that you receive can help you build your case. The defendant cannot give testimony at trial that is inconsistent with their deposition testimony without being challenged.
In turn, the defense attorney might also depose you under oath. Your lawyer will extensively prepare you for the day. In addition, they will also accompany you to the deposition to defend you.
Your Lawyer Will Continuously Negotiate a Settlement
After discovery, you will have a strong chance of where your case stands. If your attorney has gathered significant evidence, everyone involved in the case will see that, including the insurance company.
That you have filed a lawsuit does not mean that settlement discussions ended. Even when car accident victims initiate lawsuits in court, most will settle before they reach the hearing. Your lawyer and the insurance company’s attorney may check in with each other occasionally to discuss the possibility of a settlement.
The Insurance Company Often Wants to Settle Your Case
The insurance company wants to settle your case if possible. If the insurance company fails to settle a case when it has a reasonable opportunity to do so, it can end up in trouble.
Their policyholder, who must pay for any damages above the policy limit, can sue the insurance company in a bad faith claim. That can put insurance companies on the hook for more money they will need to pay their policyholder (or you, when the policyholder signs over the right to file a bad faith claim).
Negotiations may intensify as your case gets closer to trial. If your lawyer has shown that they built a strong case in discovery, the insurance company may settle. They know that a jury can award you more money than they must pay in a settlement agreement. Many car accident lawsuits settle between the close of discovery and the trial.
Trial Happens if All Attempts to Settle Your Case Failed
If your case does not settle, it will go to trial, but only 5 percent of personal injury cases will proceed to a courtroom hearing.
The insurance company is paying very close attention to the case. Their focus is on managing their own risk. Insurance companies win roughly half the car accident cases that go to trial because they know which cases will likely lose, and they get more aggressive about settling those cases.
What Happens When Your Case Goes to Trial
While you may think that the trial is the climactic end to your case, it is only partly true. You may only get a day or two from the judge to present all the evidence in your case. Your attorney will call you and witnesses who saw what happened to testify. They may also call an expert witness, who will give their own opinion about the cause of the crash.
Once you testify, the insurance company’s lawyer can cross-examine you. Your attorney protects you from these difficult questions. A car accident case may not contain one dramatic gotcha moment. Each side will just present their case.
Once your attorney has finished presenting your case, the defendant will get equal time to present theirs.
The Jury Will Eventually Decide Your Case
Then, the jury will begin to deliberate on your case. They will use model jury instructions from your state. The jury will determine whether the defendant is civilly liable for the car accident. The standard that they are using is the preponderance of the evidence. Your attorney must prove that the facts that will entitle you to financial compensation are more likely than not to have happened.
The trial judge may review the jury’s verdict. They may decide to change the amount of damages on their own if the judge believes them too high.
Either party can appeal the verdict if they lose. If the insurance company has lost the case, they may appeal to add extra time to the case and give themselves another chance to potentially settle it for less than the amount of the verdict.
Your Attorney Needs to Have Experience in the Courtroom in Case Trial Is Necessary
When hiring an attorney for a car accident case, you should look for one with an extensive record of taking cases to court. It may make sense to settle a case, but the threat of litigation ultimately holds the insurance company accountable in your case. If they know they are up against an aggressive attorney who will not hesitate to take them to court, they may be less likely to try to take liberties with your legal rights.
Sometimes, it makes sense for your lawyer to increase pressure on the insurance company by taking the case to court. Then, the insurance company needs to pay an attorney. Then, the insurance company will either need to step in and settle or defend the case in court.
Litigation Is How You Can Even the Playing Field with the Insurance Company
Different circumstances call for different strategies in your case. Much depends on the insurance company involved and your attorney’s judgment. Every insurance company will try to make your life more difficult. Some are far worse than others. They may need more than a push to do the right thing.
Litigation is how you will enforce your own legal rights when the insurance company tries to step on them. While you do not necessarily want litigation because it will add time to your case, there are times when it is a must.
There is much that you cannot control in a car accident case. You cannot control the timing or how the insurance company will act. The things that are entirely up to you are whether you will hire an attorney and when you will do it. You need legal help to maximize your financial compensation. You should call an attorney as soon as possible after your accident to protect your rights and put you in a strong legal position to get the most possible money.
Consult with a Car Accident Attorney
Consulting with a car accident lawyer is essential if you’ve been involved in a car crash. They can explain your rights, legal options, and potential avenues for compensation. An experienced attorney has the knowledge and resources to gather crucial evidence, file a lawsuit, and take your case to court when necessary.
Their experience allows them to assess the full extent of your damages and pursue maximum compensation for your medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and other losses.
A personal injury attorney in Long Island offers you the best chance of navigating the legal process effectively and securing the compensation you deserve. Never wait to seek legal assistance today.