If you or someone you love has been involved in a car accident, you may have questions about how to file a car accident lawsuit. The goal of filing a car accident lawsuit is to obtain a fair financial settlement that enables you to get on with life.
When the other driver, drivers, or his or her insurer or car accident attorney won’t offer a reasonable financial settlement offer, it’s probably time to file a car accident lawsuit in Alabama civil court.
Car Accident Lawsuit vs Insurance Claim
There’s frequent confusion about the differences between car accident lawsuits and car insurance claims. Because settlements could occur in a lawsuit or claim, it’s important to note that a car accident lawsuit allows you to recover maximum financial compensation necessary to pay for medical bills, lost income or wages, or pain sustained from the car accident.
A car insurance claim might cover the cost of car repairs and some of your medical bills, but it’s unlikely to pay for the full range of damages you experienced from the car accident.
A car accident claim results after you advise the insurance company about a loss you want to collect upon under the applicable insurance policy provisions. Negotiations, if any, will usually occur between the company’s insurance adjuster and you.
What Happens in a Car Accident Lawsuit
In comparison, a car accident lawsuit is a legal claim filed in Alabama civil court. The plaintiff in a car accident lawsuit seeks to recover financial damages from the party being sued (the defendant). If you want to initiate a car accident lawsuit, here’s how you do it:
- File a complaint in Alabama civil court. This document establishes what happened, your damages, and the basis for your bringing the claim against the insured. At the time you and your personal injury lawyer file the complaint in court, the lawsuit has begun.
- The complaint is then served on the defendant. In most instances, the defendant’s insurance company is also a defendant in court. Because a car accident lawyer is a civil matter and not a criminal one, the defendant(s) must receive notice of the court proceedings. This allows the defendant(s) to mount a defense.
- The defendant has a deadline to respond to the lawsuit. The defendant then files a response with the court, either admitting or denying the complaint allegations. His or her answer establishes any available legal defenses.
- Discovery occurs next. At this point, both plaintiff and defendant exchange relevant information. Discovery allows either side to identify the facts. Discovery includes depositions, written questions, and attorneys’ requests for the production of documents.
- A trial occurs next. If the parties haven’t settled the car accident before the trial date, they present information in court. It’s always important for the car accident lawyer to thoroughly prepare for court. Not all car accident cases should settle before court.
- The judge then delivers the verdict. He or she will find in favor of one of the parties and enter a judgment. If the plaintiff wins the car accident lawsuit, the defendant (or insurance company) is ordered to pay a certain dollar amount of damages.
How an Alabama Car Accident Attorney Helps with a Car Accident Lawsuit
The plaintiff isn’t required to have a car accident attorney but, for many reasons, it’s important to do so.
In addition, a car accident lawsuit is expensive. In many instances, experts must be identified to support the plaintiff’s claim. Car accident lawsuits are also extremely time-consuming. For that reason, many car accident cases are settled out of court.
If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in an Alabama car accident, contact the Birmingham car accident lawyers at Salter Ferguson, LLC to arrange an initial case evaluation at 877-653-9655.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney/client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.