Car accidents are frightening, no matter how minor they are. Sometimes, they can be resolved relatively quickly and easily. However, there are some situations that can take far longer to be resolved and that may require legal assistance.
Here are five things you should know about automobile accident legal processes.
1. You May Need To Hire an Attorney
Most people aren’t experts in law, which is why they hire attorneys to represent them in legal matters. If you choose to file a lawsuit or are served a lawsuit related to an automobile accident you were involved in, it’s a good idea to hire an auto accident attorney. He or she should be proficient in accident or personal injury law and have a thorough understanding of legal procedures in your state. Search carefully for an attorney you feel comfortable with and are confident in.
2. Auto Accident Law Typically Revolves Around Lawsuits
The majority of legal cases related to car accidents revolve around lawsuits. People file lawsuits based on claims of personal injury resulting from the accident. There are many types of personal injury claims, including lost wages, disability, punitive damages, loss of earning potential, medical expenses, property damages and mental anguish. The goal of filing a lawsuit is to receive compensation for the personal injury.
3. Legal Process Timelines May Vary
Several factors can influence the timeline of your accident case, including your jurisdiction’s laws and precedents, how soon after your accident your or the other party involved files a claim and how much time it takes all involved parties to gather and review related information. Try to be patient because it can take time for lawyers and insurance company representatives to coordinate, negotiate and move the lawsuit through the necessary legal procedures.
4. There Are Two Main Results of a Lawsuit
For the most part, a lawsuit will either be settled or go to trial. A settlement may occur at any time in the legal process before it goes to trial. It most often occurs during or immediately after the discovery phase of a case. All parties involved must negotiate and agree to the terms of the settlement for it to be finalized. If no agreement is reached, then the case proceeds to trial. Trials for auto accidents are typically held over one to two days and may or may not require juries to be present. At a trial’s conclusion, the judge or jury determines whether the claimant is owed compensation. There are also times when a lawsuit may be dropped, though this outcome tends to be less common.
5. Compensation Types And Values May Vary
Several factors determine the type and value of the compensation you can expect to receive if you file an automobile accident lawsuit. The main factor involved is how severe the damage and any injuries that resulted from it were. Much of the decision-making regarding compensation values depends on the evidence you can provide about damages and injuries, including photographs, medical records and car repair records. Settlement amounts, for example, can vary from around $2,500 for minor injuries such as mild whiplash to several million dollars for severe injuries. There may also be differences in compensation types and values for lawsuits related to long-term injuries and damage than there are for those related to short-term injuries.
If you’re involved in a car accident, it’s important to determine whether you do need legal assistance. If you do, then you can begin doing research about your situation and prepare to hire an attorney. The attorney you choose to represent you should be able to guide you through any necessary legal processes.