If you were to make a list of the top ten most stressful things, having to deal with a lawsuit is probably somewhere in there. How much information are they going to request? How many documents will you have to provide? For how long will this back and forth battle continue, and will it even get to trial?
The reality is that although there are plenty of car accidents that end up in personal injury lawsuits, very few of them go all the way to trial. In the vast majority of cases, once you file a claim, the other party’s insurance company will request a lot of information from you. This process is called discovery.
During discovery, you’ll have to provide documents to substantiate your claims. This includes witness testimony, video footage, police reports, photos of damage, and/or testimony from experts.
If you suffered from injuries as a result of the accident, the opposing party will want to see your medical records, as well as inquire as to any other factors that may have caused your injury, e.g. a previous car accident, your job duties, any sports you play, or any other type of fall/accident/trauma that you may have experienced in the past.
By the same token, if you claim lost wages, you’ll have to provide pay stubs. If you’re self-employed, you’ll have to turn over copies of anything that shows your income. If you’re claiming loss of future earnings, the opposing party will delve into your education, past work experience, age, skills, potential clients, and anything else that can help quantify your claim.
The discovery process may also include depositions (taking sworn testimony) of you, any witnesses, and/or medical providers and anyone else who may have firsthand knowledge of the facts of the case; as well as interrogatories, which is a list of questions that you’d have to answer in writing.
Once the opposing party’s insurance company has enough evidence reflecting that your injuries are a result of the accident, they’ll make a settlement offer.
Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may be able to either accept it or ask for more money. This is why it’s crucial to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible, since a lawyer who’s worked with these types of cases would be able to factor in things you may not think about, such as potential future medical costs, loss of consortium, or anything else that may affect the monetary worth of your claim. An attorney
If Your Car Accident Case Goes to Trial
If the parties cannot reach an agreement during settlement negotiations, then they’ll go to trial. This can happen if there are elements that complicate the case, such as comparative negligence or a multiple vehicle accident.
The problem with taking a case to Court is that the case could go either way. Sometimes members of the jury are biased, or don’t believe that either you or the opposing party are credible, or that you or the opposing party are not acting in good faith (e.g. if your request is considered to be unreasonably high, or if their denial of your damages contradicts all presented evidence).
You also have to keep in mind the additional costs in attorney’s fees and the risk of having to pay the other party’s attorney’s fees as well if you lose the case.
Call Clark Law if you’ve been in a car accident in Tampa Bay
If you were involved in a car accident, call us at (855) 680-4911 or schedule a free consultation. At Clark Law, we have experienced attorneys who regularly represent clients involved in motor vehicle accidents, and we can help you determine the best course of action.
Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and does not create an attorney/client relationship.