The 5 Stages of Your Car Accident Lawsuit
Have you been involved in a car accident that wasn’t your fault? The first step is to talk to an Oklahoma City accident lawyer who can review your case and give you advice on whether it’s a good idea to pursue a lawsuit or not. Should you decide to proceed, then you need to familiarize yourself with the often long and arduous road ahead, so you know what to expect.
1. Determining Insurance Coverage
Before you sue, your Oklahoma City attorney will help you decide if it will be worthwhile. It may initially appear that the policy limits will not adequately cover your medical expenses, vehicle repairs, and other damage, but do not just accept this as fact before visiting with an Oklahoma City accident lawyer. Filing a lawsuit may open doors to insurance coverage that is not apparent initially. Make sure to discuss your case with a highly experienced car accident lawyer.
2. Filing the lawsuit
Lawsuits that seek compensation for injuries resulting from a car accident are civil cases. They are also called tort or personal injury cases. Like all civil cases, yours will start with the filing of a complaint with the court. It’s important to file your petition before you run out of time, as there is a statute of limitations for these cases. Talk to an Oklahoma City accident lawyer right away.
3. Preliminary motions
The defendant can potentially file a number of preliminary motions affecting your case, such as a motion for a change of venue/change of judge, a motion for removal, and even a motion to dismiss. Such motions are usually ruled upon without requiring a hearing.
Should your case survive the defendant’s motion to dismiss, a trial date is set. Don’t be surprised if you are assigned a date that is a year or more from the date the suit is filed. Personal injury cases are typically placed behind landlord disputes and other civil cases.
The judge may order you and the other party into mediation. Mediation is essentially a meeting where you and your lawyer through a mediator attempt to resolve the matter with the defendant.
During the discovery phase, your attorney and the defendant’s attorney investigate the facts, examining documents and interviewing witnesses. Both sides are required to share all the information they manage to gather during discovery. Don’t expect this to be an easy ride. In some cases, the defendant’s attorney may try to wear you down with overwhelming requests or by looking into personal matters that you don’t want to be disclosed at trial. Having a good attorney by your side is absolutely critical.
In reality, only a few car accident lawsuits make it to trial. The defendant may offer a settlement at any point; this is often the best decision for them. Your lawyer can advise you on your odds of winning should you continue the lawsuit, but in the end, only you can accept the settlement agreement—or not.
If all this seems overwhelming, don’t worry. We can help. Talk to Burton Law’s car accident lawyers to get legal guidance about your case.