In the event that you are unfortunately involved in a car accident, the first thought that crosses your mind is the severity of damages you have suffered. It could be the property damage on your car, the cargo on-board, third parties such as pedestrians, and of course, the injuries you’ve sustained. No matter the case, if the accident was not your fault, you deserve compensation for all of these damages.
Begin Your Claim with the Insurer
In order to recoup these costs, you will be required to file a formal complaint to your insurer to inform them of the accident based on your subscribed policy. In return, they will assess the credibility of your claim and make the necessary arrangements to have you compensated. However, not all claims are duly settled by insurance companies, and it is therefore advisable that you seek legal help before interacting with the insurance companies, whether you contemplate going to court or not. This will help you avoid any loopholes that would jeopardize your quest for compensation.
After filing a complaint to your insurance company or the party responsible for the accident, the biggest hurdle will be in collecting and preparing accurate records concerning the accident. For example, you should immediately be able to take photos of the accident scene before the vehicles are towed and the scene cleared. These pictures may help you provide the basis on which you will argue out your case. Apart from photos, you could engage the services of certified private investigators to help unearth other potential causes of the accident, as well as determine fault. Either way, there should be witnesses to back you up as they narrate how the accident occurred, or how your injuries affected your life. These will also play a pivotal role in having you compensated.
What Are Your Damages?
While preparing all these claims and reports, you must also calculate the amount you are likely to get as compensation. It is not necessarily the exact amount you will receive, but simply an estimation. For example, your luxury vehicle could be worth $50000, and it’s been determined a total loss. In this case, you will assume that you should receive nothing less than that amount, the value of your case on the date of the accident. All other monetary factors must be detailed in this report, including medical bills, lost wages, and of course, something for the pain and suffering you have endured. All of these itemized costs are compiled together to make a formal demand letter to the insurance company explaining the damages incurred and the estimated worth of compensation.
Just like any other part that owes you a responsibility, your insurance company will call you or send a letter, either denying your claim or providing an initial offer for settlement. You might be excited to engage with them given that they are willing to compensate you, but on the contrary, you should demand and emphasize all the points in your report. In some cases, insurance companies will take advantage of your lack of knowledge, and the amount offered will be much lower than you deserve or what a judge or jury would award in a similar case. In such a scenario, you should stay firm to your original report, which includes your pain and suffering. But should both of your reach an agreement, that agreement should be finalized in writing to act as an enforceable contract. Within your agreed time, you should have the compensation process closed.
What If I Decide To Go To Court?
Not all car accident victims settle their grievances out of court. If you do not reach an agreement with your insurer, the corridors of justice is your alternative. However, unlike an out-of-court settlement, this process will be much more complex and therefore necessitating the need for a car accident lawyer. The lawyer will chip in their seasoned experience to elevate your case to trial, present the proper evidence, and fight to win on your behalf.
The first step will be marked by filing a formal complaint which serves as an official notice to both the court and the defendant that you are filing a lawsuit, seeking compensation for damages incurred. The complaint will include all facts and evidence supporting all the claims made, including the amount the plaintiff (the injured party) will be seeking. Once filed, you will have a reasonable amount of time to serve the complaint to the defendant through a process server. This serves as a proof of receipt. The defendant will around three to four weeks to respond, and failure to do so will allow you to request a judgment by default.
The Discovery Process
But should the defendant respond (which is normally the case), the claim proceeds to litigation, which comes with more complex expectations from both parties. For example, the discovery process produces the evidence that will form the basis on which the judge or jury makes a final ruling. In other words, the discovery phase is the backbone of a car accident lawsuit and it plays an integral part in any legal process. Here, both the plaintiff’s and the defendant’s lawyers will table their evidence, examine witnesses, and question the counter parties orally in a formal deposition under oath.
Medical bills and records, police findings, insurance reports, and lost wages information will also be put into the limelight. This information serves to shed light on what really happened before, during, and after the accident. Moreover, the evidence is used to approximate and quantify the total amount that you are owed. In trial, this evidence is presented to the judge or jury, who will then make a ruling based on the evidence tabled before them. They will then award you money in their verdict or find that the Defendant owes you nothing.
We’re Here to Help
Either way, seeking the services of a seasoned car accident lawyer should be in your mind whenever you seek to file a lawsuit for compensation. This will enable you to seamlessly get the justice you surely deserve. Our professionals at Lone Star Injury Attorneys are always ready to assist you with the seriousness your case deserves. Get in touch with one of our representatives today.