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What Happens in a Car Accident Lawsuit?

By February 2, 2024March 6th, 2024No Comments

Injury victims file many auto accident claims and lawsuits every year with insurance companies and in civil court. The claim might resolve relatively quickly with insurers if there were only minor injuries and property damage. But a car accident lawsuit may be necessary when the case is more serious. This post details what to expect when filing a car accident lawsuit. If another party injured you in a car accident, speak to a car accident attorney today to learn about your legal options.

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Steps In A Car Accident Lawsuit

After a car accidentWhat Happens in a Car Accident Lawsuit caused by another person, there are several steps you should follow that are outlined below. You may need to file a car accident lawsuit if the insurance company doesn’t offer a fair settlement. The steps in the claim and lawsuit process are:

Seeking Medical Treatment

You need to have prompt medical treatments for your injuries. When you go to the doctor, explain all your symptoms and how the accident caused them. Getting fast medical treatment is important for getting your health back on track. It also is important to have prompt medical care if you decide to file a lawsuit later. The insurance company will determine when you got medical care and the treatments you received.

Also, you should always follow through with your doctor’s treatment plan. First, following the plan will ensure your health improves. Also, your medical records will show the insurance company that you followed your doctor’s advice and got all the required treatments. This will help your attorney as they try to get you the most compensation for your losses.

File Insurance Claim

You need to tell your auto insurance company about the accident, but having your car accident attorney handle this communication is wise. Your insurance company might immediately cover car repairs and some medical expenses. If another driver was to blame, your insurance company will obtain reimbursement from their insurance company.

The other driver’s insurance company may contact you and ask to record your version of events. It’s always best to politely decline to talk to the other driver’s insurance company. Instead, have your car accident attorney deal with them. It is all too easy to say the wrong thing that jeopardizes your claim down the road.

If the other driver’s insurance company offers you a quick settlement, don’t accept it. The opening offer is always low. When you retain an attorney, they can review any settlement offers received.

Talk To A Car Accident Attorney

When you have serious injuries and property damage, it is always preferable to have a car accident attorney represent you. Remember that insurance companies have skilled teams of adjusters and attorneys who will start reviewing your case as soon as they receive it. You should have a skilled car accident attorney advocating for you to receive the most compensation.

Official Accident Investigation

After you retain an attorney, your auto accident lawyer will review your medical history and reports to understand the severity of your physical and mental injuries. This will help them to assign a fair value to your claim.

In addition to getting your medical records, your attorney also will perform an official accident investigation. They will obtain police reports, talk to witnesses, and review any video and photos of the crash scene. You should turn over any preliminary accident evidence you collected to your lawyer.

Settlement Demand Letter

Your attorney will usually wait until you have reached maximum medical improvement (MMI) to send a settlement demand letter to the other driver’s insurance company. The demand letter will list the car accident specifics, proof of the other person’s liability, your injuries, and medical treatments received. The letter will also demand a certain sum to settle the case.

There may be considerable back-and-forth negotiations before a final settlement is reached. Your attorney will advise you on whether a fair offer is on the table.

Case Settles Or Goes To Court

At some point, the at-fault party’s insurance company will make their final settlement offer. It is up to you and your lawyer whether you want to settle or file a lawsuit. But you shouldn’t worry about making the wrong choice. Your attorney handles these types of cases every day and will tell you if the offer is reasonable or not. However, the final decision is up to you.

When deciding whether to settle or sue, there are many things to consider. How quickly do you need money? A settlement will get money in your pocket faster than going to court. A lawsuit can take months to begin, and the case can take additional weeks or months. You might want to take the final settlement offer if you need money today for your lost earnings and medical bills.

Also, if you decide to file a lawsuit, you must have a substantial chance of winning. Remember, if you lose the case at trial, you receive nothing. Your attorney can advise you on your possible chances of winning at trial.

Discovery Process

If you file a car accident lawsuit, your case will go into the discovery process. This is when the plaintiff and defendant review evidence and documents and then share it with the other side.

This process may involve asking and answering written questions about medical treatments, income losses, pain and suffering, and accident evidence. After the discovery process, the judge may order mediation before the case goes to trial.


Mediation is a type of alternative dispute resolution. It involves an objective third-party opening dialogue between the sides. Mediation can result in a mutual settlement before the case goes to court. Both sides must agree to settle the matter, and any decision coming from mediation is non-binding.

Depending on court and state laws, you may or may not have your attorney in the mediation session. But you can have your lawyer advise you when there are breaks.

Going To Court

If mediation doesn’t work, the case will go to trial before a judge or jury. The judge or jury will hear both sides of the case, review the evidence, and render a verdict. If they decide the other party caused the accident and your damages, they will also decide how much money you should receive.

If the jury finds in your favor, any funds you receive will be administered by your attorney. They will take out their legal fees and out-of-pocket expenses and pay for any outstanding medical bills you have. The rest goes to you.

Common Car Accident Lawsuit Myths

Now that you understand the basic car accident lawsuit process, let’s review several car accident lawsuit myths. Deciding to file a lawsuit and retaining a lawyer means you should have a complete understanding of what’s going to happen:

I Can Get Fair Compensation Without A Lawyer

Common Car Accident Lawsuit MythsEvery auto insurance company’s primary goal is to make money. They will do whatever they legally can to give you as little money as possible. If you try to negotiate a car accident settlement with the insurance company when you suffered a severe injury, you will probably end up with too little money.

Not having a car accident attorney will be disastrous if the case goes to trial. Court cases are complicated, and you will be expected to know the letter of the law. You don’t want to take on an insurance company attorney alone when much money is on the line. It’s best to have an experienced car accident attorney arguing for your medical expenses, lost earnings, and pain and suffering compensation.

I Get Money Automatically For A Car Accident

No, compensation after a car accident only comes from a successful claim or lawsuit. You must file a claim with your or the other party’s insurance company to obtain compensation. You also have to prove they were at fault. If the insurance company won’t pay or offers a small amount, you can only get the money you deserve by filing a lawsuit.

The Insurance Company Will Give Me A Fair Settlement

Insurance companies want to pay as little as they can. You will unlikely get as much money as possible if you don’t have an attorney. The insurance adjuster will seek any reason to deny or minimize your claim. They might even try to blame you for the accident. Your attorney will advocate for you and ensure you receive a fair settlement.

I Can Only Get Money For Medical Expenses And Vehicle Damages

Medical bills and property damage are the most common forms of compensation in a car accident case. But you can also get money for pain and suffering and lost earnings. If you negotiate with the insurance company without a lawyer, you might only get a small amount for medical bills and property damage. Your attorney can fight for much more than that in many cases.

I Don’t Have Money To Hire A Car Accident Lawyer

Understandably, money is tight if you are out of work while recovering from your injuries. But that doesn’t matter in most car accident lawsuits. Hiring a car accident attorney usually does not involve upfront legal fees. Instead, most car accident lawyers work on a contingency basis. This means you won’t pay legal fees until the end of the case if they get money for you.

If the case ends in a settlement or favorable verdict, the attorney will take some money to cover their legal fees and case expenses. The percentage varies, depending on when the case was resolved, but your attorney should be transparent about different fees for different case resolutions. Also, more skilled and experienced attorneys may demand a higher contingency fee or charge a higher percentage if you have a particularly complex case. Ensure you understand the fees you will be charged before signing with an attorney.

Even with a percentage of your recovery going to your attorney, you will still likely receive greater compensation with the right legal representation. Fortunately, you never pay out of pocket for legal help.

I Don’t Need A Car Accident Lawyer If I Have Minor Injuries

There are some car accident cases where you don’t need an attorney. Generally, an attorney may be unnecessary if the case is a fender bender with no injuries.

However, if you have minor or worse injuries, you should always have an attorney review the case. The attorney will review your injuries and the accident and decide if there is enough money at stake to warrant hiring a lawyer. Remember, most personal injury attorneys don’t charge for the initial consultation. The first meeting is simply to understand if the case may result in enough compensation to make an attorney worthwhile.

Also, you may think you have minor injuries, but they can take a turn for the worse. Suppose your neck hurts after the accident. You might think it is “only whiplash,” and you don’t go to the doctor. But a week later, you can’t turn your neck without agonizing pain. It turns out you have a slipped disc in your neck. Minor injuries can turn out to be much worse than you initially thought. So, even with a relatively minor injury, it’s wise to have an attorney review the case.

I Have To Have Major Injuries To Hire A Car Accident Attorney

Not true. You might have relatively minor injuries, such as whiplash and back pain, that are worth enough in medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering to hire a lawyer. Even with minor injuries, you still can get considerable compensation for your losses, and many personal injury lawyers obtain thousands of dollars for seemingly minor conditions. You don’t have to have a broken back and organ damage to make hiring an attorney well worth it.

Speak To A Car Accident Attorney Today

Car Accident Lawyer, Russell Reiner

Russell Reiner, Redding Car Accident Attorney

Being seriously injured in a car accident can be utterly devastating. Suddenly, you’re overwhelmed with painful injuries that prevent you from working and enjoying life. However, there are legal options if another person caused the accident. Speak to an experienced Redding personal injury lawyer promptly to learn if you have a case.

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