Car accidents can be very frightening as they can cause a myriad of serious injuries and damages. If you have ever been in one, you may have considered suing the other driver in cases where the damage incurred is too much for just a settlement. There are some things you have to keep in mind to get a good idea on how to win a car accident lawsuit.
The Stages of a Car Accident Lawsuit
You first have to learn about the different stages one goes through in the process of filing a lawsuit. It should be noted that you should only file for a lawsuit if the other’s policy limits are not able to compensate you for medical expenses and car repairs. Once you are certain that filing a lawsuit with a car accident attorney is the best course of action, these are the steps you should take next:
- Filing the car accident lawsuit: As with any personal injury case, you should start with the filing of a complaint with the local court. It is crucial that you file your lawsuit before the statute of limitations is up. The other driver and his insurance company also have a set amount of time to respond to your lawsuit. Their response may include an answer (in which the defendant admits or denies the allegations) or fire back and return with counterclaims or crossclaims.
- Making preliminary motions: These preliminary motions include the motion for change of venue, change of judge, removal, or dismissal.
- Engaging in pre-trial practice: The judge will then set a date for the trial. Since this falls under the personal injury category, the date of the trial may be set as far back as a year or more in the future. This is also where mediation occurs.
- Moving to the discovery phase: The discovery phase is when lawyers from both sides investigate the gathered facts obtained from witnesses, documents, and the drivers involved in the accident.
- Arriving at post-discovery resolutions: If all the evidence gathered is adequate to support your case, you may bring a motion for summary judgment. This can help resolve some of the issues raised by your original complaint.
- Going to trial: This can be either a bench trial or a jury trial. In the first option, only a judge will decide your case. In the latter, a jury decides what actually happened, and the judge determines which laws apply to the given case.
What to Avoid When Filing a Car Accident Lawsuit
While you should already know what to do after a car accident, you should also be knowledgeable about the things that you shouldn’t do after it. Here is a list of what you should avoid when filing a car crash lawsuit:
Lying & Withholding Information
The first thing you should keep in mind is easy but often overlooked. When you do get caught lying about the true nature of the accident, the consequences can mean the end for your lawsuit. Always be sure you present all information with the utmost honesty and accuracy because any inconsistency can and will be used against you by the opposing side.
Failing to Document the Scene Properly
One of the first things you should do after a car accident is to document the scene of the crash as much as possible. Take photos of the damages sustained by your car and others involved. Take note of the weather conditions, your position in relation to the road, and injuries you might have suffered from the accident. Recording a video encompassing the whole scene of the incident can also contribute significantly to gathering evidence down the line.
Not Expecting Surveillance
During a case, it is not unusual for the defendant or his insurance company to hire an investigator to conduct surveillance on your day-to-day activities in the hopes of finding something to weaken your claims or credibility. When the time comes that you are questioned about a particular task regarding the incident, make sure to answer honestly.
Not Filing a Police Report
Another crucial piece of evidence that you will need down the line is a police report. This is something that is filed once law enforcement has been contacted and completes their assessment of the incident. Ensure that this is accomplished before anything is concluded.
Having Inconsistencies in your Medical Information
One thing that can cause you problems during a case it not being accurate with the details regarding your injuries. First of all, you must seek immediate medical care as soon as you can. If medical attention is not sought after immediately after the incident, the defendant may use this against you. Missing scheduled doctor’s appointments may be interpreted as a sign that the injuries related to your claim are not too severe.
Not Being Careful on Social Media
Taking to social media to tell people about your daily life is something we have all gotten accustomed to. Avoid sharing anything about the case on social media as it is crucial that you don’t talk to anyone other than your lawyer about the case. The opposing legal team will do their best to find signs that you are not as injured as you claim.
Consult with Experienced Car Accident Attorneys in Los Angeles
One mistake is all it takes to weaken your claim and lower your chances of getting the compensation you deserve from the party at fault. Handling your claim and reaching for a settlement with the party at fault on your own is an even bigger mistake as you put your claims in jeopardy. The opposing party may have insurance adjusters and defense lawyers at their disposal to protect them from liabilities and keep them from paying for damages. They will also challenge your claim and may make you waive your claims altogether due to loopholes or technicalities on legal procedures if you decide to handle it on your own.
We at Mesriani Law Group boast a long list of hardworking and experienced car accident lawyers that will deliver you nothing but the best legal service. We provide top-notch legal services for car accident victims. Our “No Fee, Unless We Win” guarantee means we will work with you throughout your case to obtain maximum recovery. Contact us now for a free consultation.