Many individuals are surprised to learn how many car accident injury claims are settled. The fact is that before trial, the vast majority of cases are resolved. Not to add that many insurance claims are settled without legal proceedings.
Settle Before Filing a Lawsuit
Here’s a brief breakdown of why you might want to settle before filing a lawsuit, as well as what your initial actions could be.
Many people choose to settle a car accident claim rather than go to court. The following are some of the benefits of resolving your dispute before going to court:
- get compensation more quickly
- avoid paying a lot of money to an attorney
- whenever possible, avoid appearing in several court cases (hearings, depositions, trial)
- avoid an unpredictable jury decision.
Begin Settlement Negotiations with a Demand Letter
Before drafting a demand letter, a lot of planning and evidence collecting must be done. You must get all of your medical records from the provider if you got medical care. This process might take months, and many medical providers demand a fee for documents.
If you missed work due to the injury, you should also seek your employment records, which will indicate your normal hours and salary before the accident, as well as any time lost due to the injury. You should also collect any proof of fault in the car accident.
When you’ve gathered all of your medical and other data, write a clear and simple demand letter. It’s crucial to keep track of critical dates and compose the letter chronologically. After you’ve finished writing the demand letter, send it to the offender, his or her attorney.
Settlement negotiations are generally the next step. For advice on how to progress and safeguard your case, see our overview of various sorts of claims.
Going to Court
As previously said, it is nearly always preferable to try to settle your accident claim before going to court. In other circumstances, however, settlement may not be possible or desirable. Your demand letter may have gone unanswered, or the insurance company’s settlement offer may be too low.
Procedures in a Car Accident Court Case
To begin, you or your attorney will file your claim in court by creating and submitting a formal legal complaint to the proper court. The complaint must also be served on the other driver by a process server or a law enforcement officer. The other driver (defendant) will be given a specific amount of time to reply to the complaint, which is usually 20 days.
Following that, you will participate in the discovery process. During discovery, you will ask the defendant for information, and he or she will ask you for information. Interrogatories, or written queries, are used to elicit information from the defendant. You might also demand that the defendant submit papers to you.
A deposition is another method for gathering information. You can compel somebody to testify at a certain location and time by scheduling a deposition. The testimony is taped and can be used in court if necessary.
The final phase in a vehicle accident lawsuit is the trial. During a trial, a judge will hear the evidence and rule on your case. A trial’s preparation and representation can be time-consuming and costly.
You Can Still Settle
If you and your attorney receive an acceptable offer during your court case or at any point before a verdict is entered, you and your attorney can settle your case. If you file a lawsuit, you do not lose your ability to settle. For more information, consult Kirakosian Law.