Stop the confusion in your mind with this quick and easy guide!
One moment you’re picking your kids up from school and easing back into the increasing rush-hour traffic, and the next you’re waking up in a daze wondering where you are and if your children are okay.
While experiencing the trauma and pain of an auto accident can be challenging enough, the process of a car accident lawsuit can almost seem too much to handle!
That’s why it’s imperative to allow a professional to handle it for you. If you feel that the process seems unclear and intimidating, you’re not alone. Many individuals just like you have walked into the lawsuit process fearing the unknown at first. But with a little information and the right attorney on your side, you will be able to handle any challenge that may present.
While most cases will not end in an actual trial, it is still important to have a professional on your side in order to protect you from powerful insurance companies and their bullying tendencies.
In order to allay at least a few of your fears at the onset, we have provided a simplified step-by-step process for the car accident lawsuit process.
Steps to the Car Accident Lawsuit Process
- Choose an attorney: While some individuals may choose to settle their claim on their own, it is often advised that you find a car accident attorney who will help you navigate all the intricate details of state and local laws for auto accidents. Most attorneys will offer the initial consultation for free. According to the DMV, you might need an attorney if:
- Your medical bills cost thousands of dollars.
- You’ve broken one or more bones.
- You missed a significant amount of work due to your injuries.
- Draft a Complaint: This begins the actual legal process of your car accident lawsuit. Your attorney will draft a formal legal complaint and submit it to the appropriate court. This acts as your official lawsuit filing. Your attorney will also serve the complaint to the other driver, the defendant. Usually the defendant has 20 days with which to respond to the complaint.
- Share Information: The next step in the car accident lawsuit process is called discovery. In the discovery phase, your attorney as well as the defendant’s attorney will give and share information concerning the accident, your physical and emotional condition, the condition of the defendant, etc.. By submitting an official interrogatory, your attorney is able to ask specific questions and request documents be presented by the defendant. The defendant’s attorney will do the same.
- Deposition: Some cases may involve a deposition. A deposition is merely a pre-arranged time for witnesses and involved parties to testify under-oath and produce recorded statements that can be used later in trial.
- Trial: The last step to your auto accident lawsuit is the actual trial. The steps involved in the trial are as follows:
- Voir Dire – selecting the jury members
- Opening Statements – Both the plaintiff’s attorney and the defendant’s attorney offer a summary of their client’s case, setting the stage for what is to be proven during the trial.
- Plaintiff Presents Evidence – Because the plaintiff has the “burden of proof”, the plaintiff and his or her attorney will always go first. It is here that your attorney will present evidence, including documentation and witnesses.
- Defendant Presents Evidence – The defendant’s attorney then has the opportunity to offer evidence refuting the claims of the plaintiff.
- Closing Arguments – Much like the opening statement, closing arguments provide a time for the attorneys on either side to drive home key points and evidence involved in their case.
- Jury Deliberation – After all evidence has been given, the jury retires to a separate location in order to reach a decision.
- The Verdict – After the jury has reached a verdict, it notifies the judge and the verdict is then read to both parties.
This simple guide may help hone your expectations, but don’t stop there. Arm yourself with an auto accident attorney that will fight tenaciously for the compensation to which you are entitled. Arm yourself with Tom Holland! Call the Law Offices of Thomas More Holland today!
Related Tags: Car Accident Lawsuit Process | What To Do After A Car Accident