Motor vehicle accidents occur frequently, with the potential to drastically disrupt lives. These incidents may vary in scale, from minor collisions resulting in property damage to multiple car accidents causing significant personal injuries and fatalities.

Filing a lawsuit after a car accident involves a multi-step process to pursue compensation for your injuries and losses. The claim must be filed within the statute of limitation prevailing in your state. Otherwise, it will nullify your chances of seeking compensation. The 12-step guide to filing a personal injury claim is as follows:

  • Preliminary Investigation

If you have sustained severe injuries after a car accident, the responders will help you by taking you to the nearest medical care or calling the doctor at the accident scene if possible. Even if the victim has sustained minor injuries, they must seek prompt medical attention. You must also do the preliminary investigation and gather as much evidence as possible. 

You can capture photographs of the accident scene, your injuries, vehicle number, contact number of the witnesses, and the total number of witnesses, and collect video surveillance footage from highway cameras if possible. If there is any road debris, road signs, or tire marks capture the photograph from your smartphone which will act as strong evidence for your car accident lawsuit.  

  • Call Police And Report The Accident

Once the accident happens it is vital to alert the police about your accident. It is because they will help to conduct a preliminary investigation, interview both parties, interview the witnesses, inspect the vehicles, and provide the determination of the at-fault party.   

Always remember to collect the police report as it will act as evidence to prove the liability. The report will help if the other driver denies the accident occurred due to their fault. The report will further help the insurance companies in the claim process. 

  • Gather The Contact Information Of a Witness

If there are witnesses available for the accident, you must obtain their contact information. It may happen that third-party witnesses may not remain at the accident scene until the police arrives. When the police officer authorities arrive, the important witnesses may leave the accident scene.  This is where it will help you if you have gathered the contact details of the witnesses. 

  • Medical Treatment For Injuries

Always prioritize your health by seeking immediate medical attention for injuries sustained in the accident. Document your injuries, such as back pain, leg injuries, or other severe injuries, and treatment as thoroughly as possible, as this will be crucial in your case.

Explain the symptoms that you are experiencing to the doctor accurately and honestly without exaggerating. It will help to analyze your situation in a better way. They will recommend the best treatment for you that will help to get better quickly. You must try to collect and keep a record of all your medical documents as it will help to know about the severity of your bodily injuries when you file a personal injury claim later. 

  • Initial Consultation With An Attorney

Consult with a personal injury attorney in your area who will help to know your legal rights before you file a lawsuit after a car accident. You can organize a free consultation or meeting. During this meeting, you’ll discuss the details of your case and all the evidence that you have related to the accident case. They may help you understand when to file a personal injury claim and how much average time it may take for your lawsuit for car accident settlement.

  • File a Claim With Your Insurance Company

Notify your insurance provider about the accident, even if you were not at fault. Follow their reporting procedures and provide all requested information. They will help to repair your car and provide compensation for your damages according to your insurance coverage policy. However, if you fail to notify your insurance provider, you will have to bear the expenses by yourself. 

In some cases, the other party’s insurance company may approach you and provide you with the lowest settlement amount or demand a recorded statement. However, you must be careful to not provide a recorded statement as it may be used against you later. You must consider taking help from an attorney before signing to agree to a settlement.  

  • Medical And Liability Investigation

Your attorney will thoroughly investigate the medical aspects of your injuries and the liability of the parties involved in the accident. This investigation helps determine fault in an automobile accident lawsuit and assess the extent of your damages.

  • Settlement Demand

Your attorney will draft a settlement demand letter to the at-fault party’s insurance company. This letter outlines your claim, including medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering.

  • Case Settles Or An Automobile Accident Lawsuit Is Filed

The insurance company may respond with a settlement offer. Your attorney will negotiate on your behalf to reach a fair agreement. If a satisfactory settlement cannot be reached, your attorney will proceed to file a formal auto accident lawsuit.

  • Discovery

Both parties engage in the discovery process in the litigation phase. This involves gathering evidence, deposing witnesses, and exchanging relevant information. Discovery helps build each side’s case.

  • Mediation

Mediation is a form of dispute resolution in which a neutral third party, known as a mediator, assists parties in conflict to reach a mutually acceptable solution. It is an alternative to litigation and is often used in various legal, business, family, and community disputes. 

  • Trial

A trial is a formal legal proceeding in which a case is presented before a judge or a jury to determine the guilt or innocence of a defendant in a criminal case or the liability and damages in a civil case. Trials are an integral part of the judicial process and provide a platform for parties involved in a legal dispute to present evidence, witnesses, and arguments to support their positions.

5 tips To Avoid Auto Accidents

  • Always follow automobile accident laws
  • Drive at a prescribed speed 
  • Avoid drinking and driving
  • Never use a mobile phone while driving
  • Use seat belts, helmets, and other safety devices while driving

How Long After a Car Accident Can You File a Claim?

The statute of limitations to file a claim after a car accident may differ according to the state. However, the standard across most of the states in car accident claims needs to be filed within 10 days from the date of the accident. In some states such as New York, the reporting requirement is 24 hours. 

How Long Does An Auto Accident Lawsuit Take?

The timeline for auto accident lawsuits may differ based on the severity of the injuries and other damages.  However, the timeline for the auto accident lawsuit process may depend on its different steps. 

If the accident happens and you require medical attention the time may vary from immediate to even years. In evidence collection and claim submission, the timeline may be from 1 week to 8 weeks. Negotiations with insurance adjusters may require time from 1 to 2 months. 

How Can An Attorney Help In The Lawsuit Process?

There are different technical legal aspects that you may not know about and they require legal knowledge. Some people may file a case in the wrong court or fail to file within time or may submit the wrong paperwork for the case. In all these scenarios, hiring a legal counsel may create a huge difference in your case. 

An experienced car accident lawyer can provide essential legal guidance and representation, help you navigate complex insurance claims, and seek fair compensation for injuries and damages. It may alleviate the burdens of the legal process.