The North Carolina Court Process for Car Accident Lawsuits
People who have been in car accidents have generally suffered through a lot of pain and suffering. Not everyone’s first thought after an accident is about fighting with an insurance company to recover compensation for medical expenses and property damage.
But many who have been in accidents find that their claims are not paid to their full satisfaction by insurance companies, whether their own or someone else’s. If you are in a similar situation, the next step should be meeting with a lawyer.
When you meet with a lawyer about your case, they will listen to what happened and what your aims are. They can give you an idea of your chances of success and the types of damages you could recover.
Personal injury lawyers usually take cases on a contingency basis, so normally you will not have to pay a bill upfront. Your lawyer’s fee will be a percentage of whatever settlement or judgment you are awarded.
After Meeting with Your Lawyer
After you meet with your lawyer, they will do their own investigation and fact-finding, and begin to build your case. They will address your insurance claim with the insurance company, possibly visit the accident site, interview witnesses, and gather medical information.
The car accident attorney will engage in negotiation talks with the responsible insurers in an attempt to reach a settlement agreement. If these talks fail, the next step is to prepare a lawsuit.
Pre-Trial Events for Car Accident Cases
In car accident cases, a lawsuit is typically filed against an insurance company, but there may be other defendants as well, such as the driver or a company (if the driver at-fault was working at the time of the accident).
Once the lawsuit is filed, the defendant party will be notified and given time to submit a written response to the allegations. The responses will attempt to bring both sides to a consensus on the facts in the case.
Various motions may be filed in the early stages of the trial process, including a motion to dismiss or a motion for summary judgment, among others. If either of these is granted, then the case will be dismissed or settled.
If denied, the process will move on and continue to discovery. During discovery, both sides may conduct depositions, request information, and try to block certain evidence from being allowed at trial. Regular pre-trial conferences will also be held with the judge to discuss discovery and possible settlements.
An Auto Accident Court Trial
Many times cases do not actually make it to trial because of the time, expense and risk involved. Insurance companies and other defendants often prefer to settle. However, if they think they have a very good case, or that there are weaknesses in yours, they may hang on and move forward.
Any proposed settlement agreement will be presented to your lawyer by the defendant (or vice-versa), and you decide if you want to accept it or continue with the trial.
During trial, your legal team will make arguments, present evidence, question witnesses from both sides, and rest their case. The final determination will be made by the judge or jury. The amount of compensation, if they decide in your favor, will also be determined by the judge or jury.
For answers to specific questions about your car accident case, talk to an experienced attorney at Riddle & Brantley now. The consultation and claim review are free and come without any strings attached.