As per the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 94 percent of the car accident cases, human error is the prime reason.
If you or your family member has been involved in a car accident and has been hurt because of the negligence of the other driver, then their insurance company is liable to pay for all your damages including medical bills, lost income, emotional distress, etc.
However, there are many instances when the insurance company offers to pay lesser than expected or are not ready to cover the long term losses. In such instances, you will need to file a car accident lawsuit to recover your rightful damages.
What is a car accident lawsuit?
Car accident lawsuits are personal injury cases; they are a way to recover the amount from the party who was responsible for the car accident and damages caused.
A professional lawyer specializing in personal injury cases can file a civil lawsuit for a car accident against the party at fault on your behalf.
What are the phases involved in filing a civil lawsuit for a car accident?
1. Pre-litigation phase:
In this phase, the first step is to gather evidence and information related to the accident. The evidence includes photographs of the car accident site, reports filed by the police, medical reports, and all the bills including medical and car repair.
Even if you are not sure whether you want to file a car accident lawsuit or agree to a settlement, it is advisable to hire a personal injury lawyer and understand the procedure involved in claiming the insurance amount.
An experienced lawyer specializing in car accident cases can ensure that you receive the maximum compensation from the party at fault and the insurance company.
Your lawyer can investigate the crash scene and interview the witnesses. All this information can help in proving that not you but the other party was negligent and was responsible for the crash and the injuries caused.
Your lawyer may also collect your pay stubs, which can help in proving that you lost your income as you were unable to attend work because of the accident.
After looking at the collected evidence and related information, your lawyer will be able to advise you whether a car accident lawsuit is the best way to recover your losses or is it better to seek a settlement with the insurance company than going to court.
2. Litigation Phase
If your lawyer advises filing a civil lawsuit for the car accident, then in this stage, the at-fault party is formally sent a lawsuit and the courts get involved.
During this time you and your lawyer can continue with settlement negotiations with the other party and the insurance company, however, at the same time all the court’s procedures would need to be followed and your lawyer will have to start preparing for the trial.
While filing a lawsuit, the court needs to be provided with a written complaint and other paperwork. You will be required to pay a filing fee.
Once the lawsuit is filed, the next step is discovery. Discovery is a formal process, where both parties share documents, evidence, and accident-related information with each other.
In the pre-litigation phase, the lawyers have collected statements from witnesses. In this phase these witnesses can be called to present their statement formally under an oath, this is known as a deposition.
3. Settlement or Trial Stage
Lawsuits are not simple; you and your lawyers may have worked hard and prepared a strong case, however, there can be instances when the jury’s verdict can surprise you.
Therefore a number of times personal injury lawyers try to settle cases out of court through mediation. Mediation is a form of dispute resolution where a neutral, trained party helps negotiate between the two lawsuit parties. They try to find a common ground and help settle the case.
If the parties cannot settle, the case goes to trial. A jury presides over the trial, they hear the facts presented and then in adherence to the law issues the verdict. If you and your lawyers believe that the jury has made a legal error in passing the verdict, then you can file an appeal or use other procedural methods to challenge the decision.
How long does it usually take to settle a car accident lawsuit?
Settling the case and recovering damages from the at-fault party or its insurance company can take weeks, months, or even longer. Insurance companies in California have 40 days to issue a denial or offer a settlement once they receive the proof of claim.
There are instances when it takes around 6 months to a year from the date of filing to settle a car accident lawsuit. On average, a car accident lawsuit if it goes to trial can take around 1 to 2 years before the actual settlement.
What is the average car accident lawsuit settlement in California? How much should you expect from your car accident lawsuit settlement?
The average amount of a car accident settlement in California is around $21,000. Though there are many factors that are considered before arriving at the final settlement amount.
In most cases, the settlement amount falls between $14,000 and $28,000. In cases of severe or permanent injuries, the settlement can be much higher. Even in cases where the other driver is found to be driving under the influence, the settlement amount can be higher.
Khashan Law Firm: Guiding our clients through complicated civil lawsuits for car accident
We ensure that all our clients’ needs are taken care of during and after the lawsuit. We at Khashan Law are devoted to helping injured clients and their families through the difficult times.
We promise to fight diligently for their rights so that they receive the monetary compensation which they are entitled to as per the law. If you or a loved one has been a victim of a car accident, contact us today at (951) 461-2387 for a free, confidential consultation.