When you are hurt in a car accident due to someone else's negligence, you can opt to recover your damages through a personal injury lawsuit. You and your lawyer will work together to get through the process, which can often be lengthy. The following are the steps you can expect to go through as you navigate your claim:
Work with Insurance Carriers
One of the first steps is to contact both your and the other driver's insurance carriers. To do this, your car accident attorney needs to first build a case for you through investigation and documentation of your damages. This process can take some time, depending on the nature of your case and the complexity of your injuries. The investigation can consist of independent medical examinations to help prove you require medical intervention for your injuries, thus requiring money to provide for yourself.
Once your attorney has gathered the necessary information, he or she will contact the insurance carriers. The carriers will either accept or deny your claim. You may be offered a settlement, of which you may or may not feel is sufficient to cover your injuries and damages. If you do not accept the settlement, your next step is to go to court.
File a Complaint
If you do not like the settlement offer, and your attorney believes you have a good chance of winning the case, you can take your claim to court for litigation. Your attorney will file the complaint and discuss the accident and why you should receive compensation. The negligent party will receive notification of your court claim as well.
The negligent driver has the chance to respond to the claim and can either accept the claim or deny guilt. You will then have to provide a deposition to the court in which you explain what happened during the accident, the results of the accident, and how it has impacted you. The other driver will have to be deposed as well. The outcome of the deposition will determine if your case will move forward to court.
Taking the Claim to Court
If you go to court, your primary goal is to prove your case, as you hold the burden of proof. This simply means you have to have undeniable proof that the defendant caused your accident and resulting injuries. During court, your attorney will make an opening statement on your behalf. He or she will also present evidence in various forms, such as physical evidence and witness testimony. Once all the evidence is presented and the defense attorney has had the opportunity to cross examine, the judge will determine the outcome of the case.