How Does a Typical Car Accident Injury Case Proceed?
A comprehensive eGuide
This timeline follows a general outline of a personal injury case arising from a car accident. Of course, every case is treated differently depending on the needs of the client, but hopefully, this information can help answer any questions related to your auto accident case.
If you have just been in a car crash in Michigan, read this step by step eGuide to learn how to protect yourself, and refer back to this article if you believe you have been a victim of personal injury.
Step 1: Get a Free Consultation
If you believe you may have a case or want to learn more about your legal options following an accident, schedule a free consultation with an attorney who will discuss your case and have your back every step of the way. This will give you the chance to discuss the injuries and/or damages that arose from your accident with an experienced professional who can help you determine if you have a case.
Step 2: Retain a Lawyer for Your Michigan Car Accident Case
When your lawyer has all the facts of the case, they will sign a case with you. Your lawyer may pursue a settlement from your insurance company, or they may file a lawsuit on your behalf. Often times car accident cases do not result in lawsuits being filed, as the facts can be so straight forward that it is uncomplicated and less time-consuming for the victim to receive a settlement. However, there are other factors that could deem it necessary to file a lawsuit, and your lawyer can help you determine the best fit for you.
Step 3: Gather Case Details
Whether you are filing a lawsuit or pursuing a presuit settlement, your lawyer will collect all of the information needed to support your case. There will be an investigation on the specifics of your accident, including looking into your insurance coverage and benefits, and any damage that occurred to your vehicle. Your lawyer will collect all evidence pertaining to your case, including photographs of damages, reports of the accident, and witness statements. Your lawyer will also contact any medical professional that treated you for problems related to your accident to learn the extent of your conditions and treatment.
Step 4: Assessment of Your Car Accident Case
Your lawyer will evaluate your case after obtaining all details of this initial investigation and decide the course of action that is in your best interest. If they believe you do not have a case, your lawyer will inform you of this as soon as they are able. While it may seem counterintuitive to make this decision after a case is signed with your attorney, there may be reasons that your case cannot be pursued, that are only evident once the initial investigation is finished. However, if your attorney decides you do have a case, you will follow the next steps below, depending on whether you are pursuing a presuit settlement or filing a lawsuit.
The Course for Pursuing a Presuit Settlement:
Step 5: Send a Demand
Your attorney will send a demand package to your insurance company. This demand will inform them of the facts of your accident, the extent of your injuries and treatment, your prognosis and a strong request that you be fairly compensated for the damages and pain you have suffered. The demand will include a list of these damages, demonstrating the toll that this accident has taken on your life, in terms of your finances, health, and other effects on your daily living.
Step 6: Response from Insurance Company
Most likely, the insurance company will reach out to your attorney to request more information about the accident and to discuss the demand.
Step 7: Negotiations Begin
Insurance companies typically respond to initial demands with a lower offer than what was requested of them. This will start the process of negotiations between the company and your attorney. If you and your attorney do not believe the offer adequately represents your damages, your attorney will reject the offer and counter with a higher offer.
Step 8: Client Awarded Settlement
When an agreement is made between you and your insurance company that fairly compensates you for your damages, the insurance company will pay the money owed and your attorney will make sure that all parties are paid what they are owed from the received settlement. The case is then finished.
Course for Filing a Lawsuit:
Step 1: Drafting and Filing a Complaint
Your attorney will draft a formal document called a complaint in accordance with the court rules. This is an important legal document that will frame your case, once filed a process server will serve the defendant and litigation begins.
Step 2: Discovery Process
The process of discovery, a mandatory process in which both sides obtain and exchange all information related to the case that will be used in trial, will begin after an answer to the complaint is filed by the defendant. In order to learn more information about the case, each side can send interrogatories to the opposite side to request information. Similarly, each side can request that relevant documents are produced by the opposing side to be used in trial. Depositions will also take place during this time, in which witnesses will be questioned by both parties to gather further evidence about the accident. In cases of personal injury, further medical examinations will typically occur to reveal the extent of the injuries suffered and who is liable.
Step 3: Experts Brought In
The evidence produced will sometimes be analyzed by hired experts, such as accident reconstructionists, medical doctors and other professionals, to validate and discuss the importance of the presented evidence.
Step 4: Consider Mediation
At this point, your attorney may recommend a mediation to see if a settlement can be reached before going through the expense and time commitments of a trial. However, if both parties are unable to agree upon the process or upon a dollar amount during the process, your case will be brought to trial. Be aware that it is possible your court date will be scheduled for over a year later than when you filed a lawsuit.
Step 5: A Verdict is Reached by a Jury
When your trial is complete, a verdict will be given by the jury. The case is now complete and, if the verdict is in your favor, you will be paid. Click here to see examples of our results!
Want to know more about your case?
Giroux Pappas Trial Attorneys have been working hard for over 25+ years to fight for their clients and ensure that their cases succeed. We know that car accidents like these can have long-lasting effects on your life and your family. Make sure that you are getting the best help possible for you and your family by working with an expert at Giroux Pappas Trial Attorneys.
If you need to speak with an attorney about your options after an accident, click here to schedule your free consultation.