What Is the Process if you Sue Someone After a Car Accident?
Car accidents are unexpected, scary, and they have the potential to be life-changing. Anybody who is injured in a car accident may find themselves filing a personal injury claim. When you meet with a lawyer, your lawyer should go over the facts of your case. They should take the time to explain the process of pursuing a personal injury claim. They should answer any questions you have about filing a claim after a car accident. The Law Office of Matthew C. Williams helps car accident victims recover compensation for their injuries. We can help you understand what steps to follow after a car accident.
Your number one priority should always be your health, so make sure you call 911 and receive immediate medical care if necessary. Receiving medical treatment is frequently the most crucial step in healing and getting back to some normalcy after sustaining an injury in a car accident. Make sure you receive treatment as recommended and follow up with your chiropractor, physical therapist, or orthopedic specialist as recommended. It’s also important to continue receiving treatment if you still have symptoms. Insurance companies frequently look at a lack of treatment as an indication that you are no longer injured.
Your attorney will begin requesting copies of your medical records and billing while receiving treatment for your injuries. The length of your treatment will depend on the extent of your injuries and the number of specialists that you are referred to. Still, the treatment phase usually lasts around three months to five months. Once your condition has stabilized enough for your doctors and specialists to draft final reports detailing their opinions regarding your injuries and your future medical care, they will send the final report to your attorney, and your attorney will draft a settlement demand.
The demand for settlement is a settlement offer to resolve your personal injury claim. It will include your doctor’s reports, medical bills, and the amount of money your attorney predicts you will need for future medical bills. The insurance company oftentimes responds back with a counteroffer, and both parties negotiate back and forth until the case is resolved or negotiations come to a stalemate. At some point, a final offer will be received, and it will be your decision as to whether you accept that offer or reject the offer and move forward with a lawsuit.
If the case is not settled, then a lawsuit will be filed (in some cases, your attorney will file the lawsuit and forgo the pre-lawsuit negotiations). Once a lawsuit is filed, the discovery process is initiated. Discovery allows both parties to question the other side about the incident or any factors surrounding the incident. The discovery process includes interrogatories, requests for copies of documents, and depositions, and it can last for months and sometimes even years. Both parties have to produce some of the most common items during a lawsuit, including copies of their driver’s license, tax returns, medical documents, treatment records, mental health records, and employment records. This is because all of that information may become relevant when filing a claim involving bodily injury, lost wages, or mental anguish.
Before your case gets to trial, the court will order both parties to participate in mediation. Mediation is a dispute resolution process where the mediator, a neutral third party, facilitates a discussion between you and the other side in an attempt to reach a voluntary settlement. In many cases, a voluntary mediation occurs at some point during negotiations before a lawsuit is filed. Even when that happens, most courts will require both parties to go back to mediation at some point after the lawsuit is filed but before trial to try to reach an agreement to resolve the matter. Your attorney will sit with you in a room during the mediation, and the attorneys from the other insurance company will be in another room. The mediator will go back and forth between rooms negotiating the case. No mediator can order a settlement between the parties, but a majority of cases resolve at mediation.
While most cases resolve at mediation, if the case does not resolve, then the case will proceed to trial. A trial can take more than a year to take place, and the burden is on your lawyer to prove that the other driver was negligent. Your lawyer will also have to prove the amount of damages you are owed. At trial, you, the other driver, police officers, or doctors who examined you may testify, and the defense will be entitled to put on their case as well. After presenting evidence, a jury will decide whether or not the other driver was negligent and whether their negligence caused your injury. The jury will also decide what amount of damages are appropriate.
If you have been injured in an auto accident, call the Law Office of Matthew C. Williams. We can represent you in your car accident claim and answer any questions you have about the process of filing a personal injury claim in Florida. Attorney Williams treats his clients like family because he knows what they are dealing with is always more than just a case. He refuses to let adjusters, defense lawyers, or big insurance stand in the way of getting his clients what they deserve. He obtains results for his clients, and he’ll do the same for you, so give The Law Office of Matthew Williams a call to find out what your case is worth today.
The Law Office of Matthew Williams is headquartered in Tallahassee, Florida, and focuses primarily on the North Florida areas.