If you are involved in a car accident you may want to put it behind you quickly. Do yourself and your family a favor and slow down. Consider whether it is in your interests to speak to an attorney about filing a claim – if you were struck by a negligent or distracted driver and suffered a serious injury because of it, you may have grounds for a strong personal injury case. The fact is that most car accident cases settle rather than go to trial, but to get the maximum settlement you need to find someone who will fight for you and who will be ready to fight aggressively for you at trial should it become necessary.
The following steps should allow you to understand the process of car accident litigation:
Investigation: In this first step, you will discover the cause of the accident. Experts may be used to recreate the accident. The appropriate party to sue is identified.
Complaint: Your car accident attorney draws up a complaint listing the basis of the suit and files it against the party or parties named. The defendant has a set amount of time to answer the complaint.
Discovery: During the discovery phase of your lawsuit, the parties can give each other information and can arrange to question each other to obtain evidence in depositions that can be used at trial. Depositions are sworn statements taken in front of a court reporter.
Settlement: Your case may settle before or even during trial. If you are able to agree on terms, you enter into a settlement agreement with the other party and avoid a trial.
Trial: If you and the other side cannot agree your case goes to court and before a jury.