The length of time it takes to resolve a car accident lawsuit can vary greatly from case to case.
Depending on the complexity of the incident, number of parties involved, and extent of the injuries requiring medical treatment, every car accident lawsuit is different. Some auto accident claims may take a few months to resolve, others can take years. It’s important to be familiar with the process of auto accident lawsuits in order to have realistic expectations and to be able to track the progress of your case once you file.
Process of an Auto Accident Lawsuit
Step 1: File – File a claim and put the involved parties on notice of the accident and interest in obtaining a recovery. Filing a claim for sustained personal injuries gives notice to the at-fault party’s insurance. You will get treatment for your injuries until you reach your Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI). Your personal injury attorney will gather your medical records and bills and present a demand package to the insurance company.
Step 2: Negotiate – Negotiate if possible, to reach a compromised settlement. Once the insurance company establishes fault for the accident and reviews your attorney’s demand package, they will present an initial offer to compensate you for your damages and injuries. Insurance companies and your attorney will often negotiate to try to reach a reasonable settlement.
Step 3: Lawsuit – File a lawsuit with the court if negotiations outside of court are unsuccessful. Negotiating a settlement does not always resolve outstanding medical expenses. Your attorney is in the best position to advise you whether to pursue litigation for your injury claim or not.
Step 4: Litigation – Litigating the case. Litigation is initiated by filing a formal complaint to the court and serving the at-fault party who will then follow by filing an answer. Discovery will then proceed (formal investigation of the facts of the lawsuit) between the Plaintiff and the Defendant. Discovery can commonly include interrogatories, request to produce, request for admissions, and depositions. Once Discovery is concluded, the parties will then be able to mediate the case. Usually, this is one of the last chances to come to an agreeable settlement prior to taking the case to trial.
Step 5: Trial – If no settlement can be reached, your auto accident attorney will counsel you on whether you should proceed to trial, weighing the risks and rewards. At trial, your attorneys will provide the evidence to a court and a jury to prove that your injuries and damages were caused by the negligent driving of another person and that you are entitled to compensation for those injuries.
Settlement vs. Lawsuit
Settlement negotiations in a car accident lawsuit consist of letters between your attorney and the insurance company, phone calls, and investigation of medical records. Filing a lawsuit is a formal legal process with rules that must be followed. This is one of the reasons why lawsuits without a settlement can take years to resolve.
You do need to be careful, however, with your choice of law firm. Some high-profile law firms are little more than settlement mills. Insurance companies love settlement mills. A settlement mill is a personal injury law firm that rarely takes cases to trial because they can make more money by settling high-volume of cases quickly.
Having a law firm who regularly takes cases to trial is always in your best interests versus a settlement mill. You are more likely to get a better settlement with a firm that tries cases because the insurance companies cannot low-ball you.
The Law Offices of Lucas & Magazine is not a settlement mill. We meticulously investigate your accident and injuries so you can focus on recovering. Our legal team is comprised of several attorneys who are Florida Bar Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyers and National Board of Trial Advocacy Civil Trial Lawyers. This Double Board Certification is a distinction of experience in specialized skills, knowledge, and proficiency within the field of personal injury. A Board Certified Specialist can make a huge difference when you need to retain a Car Accident Attorney.
Our experienced Car Accident Attorneys at The Law Offices of Lucas & Magazine put the personal back in injury law. With locations in New Port Richey, Clearwater, Spring Hill, Wesley Chapel, and Inverness, Florida, our team will fight for the best financial recovery possible for your case. Contact us today for a free case evaluation!