Over 2 million motorists are involved in car accidents in the United States every year. Out of this, at least 50,000 suffer severe injuries, resulting in a loss of life. If you are involved in a car accident, you have a variety of things to do to safeguard your interests. A majority of these accidents are caused by negligence and disregard for road safety rules. For this reason, the party responsible can be sued for damages and injuries you sustain in the accident.
However, the filing process may be complex, more so in cases where there are multiple parties or insurance policies involved. In such a scenario, you may not know who to blame for the accident. If you follow the correct procedures immediately after the accident occurs, you are doing the most possible to protect your legal rights. These procedures range from calling the police, seeking medical treatment if necessary, and getting in touch with a lawyer about the process of filing a car accident case in Missouri City.
Car accident cases involve a variety of stages and legal procedures that must be met. Given their complexity, your case may take anywhere from months to years to reach a settlement or court verdict. Hiring a local personal injury lawyer goes a long way in safeguarding your interests as the victim, and it also helps you properly prove your case. Your lawyer can attend court hearings, file the appropriate legal paperwork, and present the evidence to the opposing side on your behalf. The three major phases in filing a car accident case in the area are:
Being involved in a car accident does not necessarily mean that you jump into filing a lawsuit with the court immediately. You and your lawyer may embark on a fact-finding mission for liability and damages before involving the court. The success of your case will be dependent on several factors that must be addressed before filing your claim.
The pre-litigation phase involves several elements. They include:
As you will notice, your lawyer can attempt to negotiate a fair result with the insurance company before heading to the courts. If the negotiations do not resolve your case, you proceed to the next phase.
During the litigation phase, your auto accident attorney will formally file your petition with the court and serve the paperwork on the defendant. In order to have the filing accepted by the court, you will be expected to include particular information in your petition, such as the defendant’s identity, why the court is the proper place for this lawsuit, and how much you are asking for in damages.
The litigation phase includes everything from filing your petition to the trial and appeal:
By filing a formal lawsuit, you write a complaint, pay court fees, and prepare legal paperwork. While you can decide to file a car wreck lawsuit by yourself, having an experienced Missouri City attorney is important because you can make mistakes that would lead to the dismissal of your case and chance for compensation.
In the discovery phase, the plaintiff, the defendant, and their lawyers exchange information, documents, and other evidence. Each attorney asks that the other side answer written questions and produce documents. Their experts will also present their reports and may be examined in a deposition as well. You are also likely going to answer a series of set questions from the defendant in the form of interrogatories.
Talking to witnesses is done in the pre-litigation phase. But in deposition testimony, your lawyer, as well as the other lawyer, cross-examines each witness in a more detailed manner. The parties themselves will also be deposed. Additionally, each side’s expert witnesses, such as doctors, biomechanical experts, and police officers will also be questioned on their reports and how they reached their conclusions.
Car accident cases do not necessarily have to go to trial just because you went to court. In fact, a case can be settled in negotiations before or after you enter litigation. However, throughout litigation, the parties are more likely to attempt to settle the case. The court may also require the parties to attend a mediation, where a third party will facilitate the negotiation between parties.
Not all car accident cases go to trial, but some do. All this is dependent on how cooperative the insurance company is toward settling your case. However, when it comes to evaluating your claims, sometimes it’s best to be heard in front of a jury of your peers. Based on how well your personal injury lawyer presented his or her case, the jury will make a verdict for or against you. This is why it is crucial to have qualified local injury attorneys with trial experience to present your case the most effectively to a jury.
At Lone Star Injury Attorneys, our auto accident lawyers can walk with you every step of filing a car accident case in Missouri City. Our attorneys go above and beyond to ensure that our client’s interests are best represented. Get in touch with us today to set up a free consultation.