Before The Lawsuit: What Victims Should Know
Lawsuits can sometimes follow a car accident but often several events occur first. Read on and find out what happens before you end up taking the other driver to court to get what is owed to you.
Knowing What You are Owed
It's vital to know how much you are owed. Your lawyer will have you wait until you have been cleared by your doctors to add up your damages. Your medical bills and other expenses are added together and your pain and suffering are figured out by your lawyer. Once that is done, you are ready to begin the process of being paid.
Sending a Letter of Demand
Your lawyer will send a letter to the at-fault driver letting them know what your damages are, a hint about how much evidence you have, and a demand for payment. The other driver's insurer will likely turn down the request for payment, but this begins the negotiation phase of the personal injury process. Your lawyer will go back and forth with the insurer (or their lawyers) and try to work on an agreement that benefits everyone.
Once you and your attorney agree that you need to file a lawsuit, the documents will be drawn up. You will be sending the other driver and their insurers a petition informing them that they must respond to the lawsuit with a petition of their own. The petition contains your allegations of who is at fault for the accident and why that is along with a listing of all the ways you have been damaged because of the accident. Finally, how much money you are asking to be paid is listed on the lawsuit. If the other side doesn't believe you are serious about the case, the lawsuit will make that known.
The demand letter may result in a settlement offer that you can accept. However, some cases go to trial. It must be mentioned that even if you prepare to go to trial because you cannot come to an agreement on a settlement, it's only too late for a settlement when the case is over. You may be offered a settlement, for instance, during the trial preparations. Discovery is an excellent opportunity for all the parties to get a look at the evidence to be presented at the trial and new settlement offers could be forthcoming.
You could settle or you could win at trial. Speak to a car accident lawyer to find out more.