The 3 Stages of Your Car Accident Lawsuit 

Getting in a car accident is more than a major inconvenience. It can have serious repercussions on your career, family life, education and especially your health. So if you’re considering filing a lawsuit, it’s important to know what to expect.

The Accident

The first part of a car accident lawsuit, is, of course, the accident itself. From the beginning, anything you say and do can be used against you by the other driver and their insurance company to make you seem more liable than you may be for causing the accident. 

It’s important that after you check on yourself and other passengers, that you check on the other driver and any affected pedestrians or cyclists. 

Next, you need to call 911. After that point, the police will arrive and take a statement from you, the other driver, as well as any witnesses. It is crucial for your eventual lawsuit that you do not admit fault when the police arrive. You cannot be sure what the other driver did moments before the accident, such as looking away at the radio or checking for turning cars coming from the opposite direction. Only tell the officer what you saw and remember, without editorializing it.

The reason why this is important is that the police report will be used as evidence when your suit is brought before a judge. 

Developing A Legal Strategy

Immediately after the accident, you will want to hire a lawyer. If you want to sue to injuries, property damage, loss of wages, and noneconomic damages, then your attorney will need to prepare a settlement letter to present to the insurance company. Your attorney’s intention is to get you the highest compensation you deserve, but the insurance company will argue aggressively and minimize your suffering, so if they cannot agree on a suitable settlement for you then your case will go before a jury trial. 

In order to help you, there are some crucial pieces of evidence you need to provide: 

  • Medical records and bills
  • The police report
  • Information on your wages

If you want to know more about this phase and litigation, then click to read more car accident lawyer advice.

Who Decides Fault?

In most car accident cases, the insurance adjuster looks over the police report, the damaged car itself, and other evidence to determine who was at fault. They will pull information from witnesses, the scene of the accident itself, and from the police report. The police may also write in the report who they believe is at fault for causing the accident.

Litigation

Litigation begins when you formally file a lawsuit with the at-fault party. Your attorney will begin to collect evidence from expert witnesses, witnesses of the accident and the investigating police officer.

Trial

While not every case makes it to trial, it’s important to be ready for the possibility of going to court. Most likely it will be a jury trial, where a group of your peers will hear the evidence from attorneys on both sides. 

Typically, car accident cases go to trial because there is a dispute over the facts and evidence. The witnesses will be brought in to describe what they saw, or to give their expert opinions. The trial itself can last days, weeks, months or even years. But the most important part is ensuring that you have a personal injury lawyer by your side fighting for you and your rights.

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