Car accidents are unfortunate events that can have a significant impact on individuals and their families. When it comes to getting you the compensation you deserve for damages and injuries resulting from a car accident, understanding the legal process is crucial. In this blog post, we will take you through a comprehensive timeline of a typical car accident case, from the initial incident to the resolution. But remember, every case is different!
After an accident, it is important to call to 911 to ensure that medical help and law enforcement are dispatched to the scene.
Although most important information should be included in an officer's crash report, all drivers involved in the accident should swap contact and insurance information and get the names and contact information for any witnesses to the collision. Pictures should be taken of all damage to cars involved in the crash, and any hazard that contributed to the accident such as cars parked on the road or overhanging branches.
Seeking medical attention right after the accident is crucial for identifying and treating injuries. Any delay in medical treatment could be harmful to a personal injury claim. Some injuries may require ongoing medical care, so keeping a detailed record of all medical appointments and expenses is essential.
The insurance companies of the parties involved will conduct their own investigations to determine who was at fault and to assess damages. It is in your best interest NOT to talk to an insurance representative without an attorney.
Hiring an Attorney
It is highly advised to hire a personal injury attorney to guide you through the legal process and protect your rights after a car accident. Your attorney will collect important evidence such as witness statements, medical records, and expert opinions to build a strong case. There is a limited timeframe for filing a lawsuit, known as the statute of limitations, and varies depending on where the accident occurred. The statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit in the State of Alabama is typically two years, but it is advisable to speak to an attorney who can better advise you on your particular situation.
Ongoing Medical Treatment
Some injuries may require ongoing medical care, so keeping a detailed record of all medical appointments and expenses is essential. Your attorney will check in with you periodically to get status updates on your treatment.
Pre-litigation Settlement Negotiations
Once treatment is at or near completion, your attorney will request your remaining medical records, billing statements, and lost wage/income information to assess the value of your claim. Determining how much your case is worth is based on a variety of factors including but not limited to the severity of your injuries, medical costs, lost earnings, pain and suffering, future medical costs and lost earnings, similar settlements and jury verdicts, and the potential jury pool for a lawsuit.
Your attorney will attempt to negotiate a settlement with the insurance company, but if they are not able to come to an agreement, your attorney will discuss whether it is in your best interest to file a lawsuit.
Filing A Lawsuit
Your attorney will file a legal complaint outlining the details of your case, the damages sought, and the legal basis for the lawsuit.
After all parties are served, the case will enter the discovery phase during which both parties exchange relevant information and evidence. Witnesses and involved parties may be questioned under oath to provide sworn testimony during a deposition.
Some cases go through a process called mediation during which a neutral third party may facilitate settlement negotiations between the parties. Both parties may exchange settlement offers, and negotiations may continue until an agreement is reached.
If a settlement cannot be reached, the case goes to trial. A judge or jury will determine the outcome based on the presented evidence and arguments. The court will render a verdict, determining liability and the amount of damages to be awarded.
Either party may appeal the verdict if there are legal errors or disputes about the judgment. If the verdict is in your favor, efforts will be made to collect the awarded compensation from the liable party.
Navigating a car accident case involves a complex legal process with various stages. Understanding this timeline can help individuals involved in such incidents make informed decisions and ensure they receive fair compensation for their losses. If you find yourself in such a situation, our experienced lawyers would love to help you obtain a successful outcome in your case. Give us a call to discuss your case today!