Damages and injuries after a serious car accident may have you thinking of suing the driver at-fault. Taking the matter to court could help you recover non-economic damages that you may otherwise not get from an insurance claim, such as compensation for emotional suffering, loss of spousal companionship, or emotional distress.
If you do decide to sue, you should consult a car accident lawyer to look at the case and determine whether the losses suffered merit a lawsuit. You will also need to act quickly so that the case is filed before the statute of limitations lapses.
The process before a car accident lawsuit finally gets to court is long, and very few cases make it to trial. Here is a look at the processes in-between filing a lawsuit and going to trial.
Once you file a formal complaint against the driver responsible for your accident, their insurance company will usually jump to their defense and try to deny the allegations or opt for a settlement. The at-fault party may also counterclaim, which is essentially to try and shift the blame to you. With the help of your lawyer, you will be able to file a strong suit that should force the at-fault party to settle out of court.
In other instances, the defendant may file a motion to dismiss the complaint, which usually tries to get the lawsuit dismissed on grounds that it was brought in an untimely manner, or that no compensation is warranted. If you survive the preliminary motions, a judge may order you into mediation, where your accident attorney and the other driver's defense will attempt to negotiate a settlement with the help of a mediator, in the hope that the matter can be resolved out of court.
If mediation fails, then the case moves into the discovery phase, where attorneys from both sides perform preliminary investigations to prepare for trial, which may involve examining police reports, medical reports, witness statements and other documents. The process also involves depositions, where witnesses with information pertinent to the case are interviewed by lawyers from both sides.
If your lawyer feels that there is overwhelming evidence for compensation during the discovery phase, he could advice you to bring a motion for summary judgment. This involves taking the evidence before a judge, who then makes a decision on the case without having an evidentiary hearing.
If there are no disputed facts, the judge can review the filing and grant a motion to compensate. However, if there are disputed key facts in the case, the lawsuit will then have to finally proceed to trial. Talk to a lawyer like Edward M Graves for more information.