Have you been injured by a careless, negligent, or reckless driver? Are you worried about how you will pay the medical bills and your living expenses while you are out of work? Who is responsible for paying your damages and when do you get your money? Will you need to file a car accident lawsuit or can you settle out of court?
When you are injured in a car accident, you have many questions. Our Bloomington car accident attorneys are here to help. We want to get you the compensation you deserve and you need as quickly as possible. Our skilled and experienced personal injury attorneys attempt to settle your car accident claim in the most efficient way possible; however, not all accident claims can be settled outside of court. Sometimes a car accident case must go to trial in order to obtain the most positive outcome possible.
Filing a Car Accident Lawsuit
Most car accident cases settle before going to trial. It is usually in the best interest of all parties to negotiate a fair settlement rather than spend the time and money involved in taking a case to trial. Unfortunately, sometimes a car accident case does not settle and a lawsuit is necessary. In some cases, the insurance company and/or the other party will realize at some point they do not have a strong case and want to settle. In this situation, it is important to remember that we can settle your case at any time prior to the jury rendering a verdict.
If your car accident case must go to trial, it is helpful to understand some of the main steps involved in filing a car accident lawsuit.
Filing the Lawsuit
After a thorough and comprehensive accident investigation, our attorneys will draft a complaint to file with the court naming all of the parties liable for the car accident. We do not name the insurance companies in the lawsuit even though the insurance company for the at-fault driver typically hires the attorney and controls the negotiations. The other party has 30 days to file an answer responding to our allegations.
Discovery is a series of steps by both parties to gain more information about the case. We employ a variety of discovery tools including depositions, interrogatories, requests to produce, and requests to admit to gain more information from the other party about their defense. This is an opportunity to see how strong of a case the other side has and to show the other side the strength of our case. During discovery, we can continue to negotiate a settlement based on new information.
Throughout the process, a team of legal professionals and attorneys are preparing for trial by interviewing witnesses; gathering and reviewing evidence; utilizing experts; conducting legal research, and, preparing exhibits to present at trial.
When the case is ready for trial, we will select a jury. Both sides are permitted to have jurors answer a series of questions before deciding whether to approve a juror. The questions are designed to ensure the jurors do not have any prejudices or biases that prevent the juror from rendering an impartial verdict based on the facts presented in court.
The attorney for each side can make an opening statement to the jury explaining their side of the case.
We are the plaintiff in a car accident case. We present our case first by calling witnesses and introducing evidence. The other attorney can cross-examine (ask questions) of each of our witnesses. After we present all of our evidence, it is the defendant’s turn to present his or her case.
The defendant is the person you are suing — the person who caused your car accident. The defendant’s attorney presents witnesses and evidence to try to convince the jury that our allegations are false and do not have merit. We can also cross-examine each of the defendant’s witnesses.
Each attorney has the opportunity to make a closing statement summing up their case. It is an opportunity to review the evidence and convince the jury that our case is stronger than the defendant’s case.
The jury considers the testimony and the evidence presented at the trial. The judge instructs the jury on the law; however, it is up to the jury to decide who was telling the truth and how to apply the law to the facts of the case. There is no set time for jurors to decide the case and all deliberations are confidential. Once the jury returns a verdict, either side can file an appeal if he or she disagrees with the jury’s verdict.
Do You Want More Information?
The above summary is a brief explanation of the steps in a car accident lawsuit. Because every case is unique, there may be more steps involved in taking your car accident case to trial. For more information, we urge you to schedule a free consultation and case evaluation with our car accident attorneys.