Your Car Accident Litigation Roadmap
No one wants to be in a car accident – and no one wants to be injured in a car accident. But most of all, no one wants to file a lawsuit in their car accident case; all because the greedy insurance company refused to provide you fair compensation.
For many victims injured in car accidents across the State of Georgia, the latter is becoming routine, instead of the exception. After a car accident, we hope that the insurance company will do the right thing and take care of our medical bills, lost wages and suffering. But it rarely works out that way. Many times, filing a lawsuit is the only option. This process is known as “litigation.” In this blog we will discuss what to expect if your case requires litigation.
Don’t Fall For The Scare-Tactics
Car accident litigation involves several different stages, steps, and procedures, and they can take anywhere from a few months to a few years to resolve. If you’ve been in a car accident, it is important that the attorney you hire understands the litigation process and is not afraid of the courtroom. Never trust an attorney to handle your personal injury case unless they have a lot of recent trial experience. Most attorneys are afraid of filing lawsuits on personal injury cases. They will try to convince you to accept pennies just to “avoid” the scary litigation process. Don’t fall for their tricks. The best way to avoid this situation is to hire an experienced car accident trial attorney from the very beginning. That way, you can focus on your health and improve your chances of recovering the full compensation you deserve.
Step 1: Meet With Your Litigation Attorney
When your case was in the pre-litigation phase, your attorney could work with you over the phone and via email. However, once a case enters litigation, more information and documentation are required. At Georgia Trial Attorneys, we find it best to meet with each client, in person, before filing a lawsuit. These in-person meetings allow us to better prepare our clients and their cases for litigation.
Step 2: File Your Lawsuit
Once you’ve met with your litigation attorney and all of documents and information are in order, your lawsuit will be filed. As the injured person, you are the Plaintiff. A Plaintiff files a lawsuit against the Defendant. In a car accident case, the Defendant is the at-fault driver. You do not file a lawsuit against the insurance company of the at-fault driver, generally speaking. Also your lawsuit is filed in the county in which the Defendant is living, at the time you file your lawsuit.
Step 3: Serve The At-Fault Driver
After your lawsuit has been filed with the court, it must be “served” on the at-fault driver with a copy of your lawsuit. The sheriff’s department is generally very capable of serving Defendants. However, sometimes it may be necessary to hire a private investigator to locate and serve the Defendant at their home or job.
Step 4: Six-To-Ten Months Of Discovery
Once the Defendant is served with a copy of your lawsuit, the insurance company will hire an attorney to represent the Defendant. That attorney will file a response to the lawsuit, known as an “answer.” After an answer has been filed, your case enters the “Discovery” period. During the next six-to-ten months, both sides will exchange information and documentation about the case; this includes your history (medical, accident, employment, criminal, bankruptcy, etc.). This may seem like an invasion of your privacy. But it is a legally required and necessary part of every lawsuit.
Step 5: Your Deposition
During the Discovery period you will be deposed by the attorney for the Defendant (hired by the insurance company). A deposition is an opportunity for the insurance company’s attorney to ask you questions under-oath about your yourself and your case. Your litigation attorney should schedule a prep session at least one-week before the deposition and provide you with documents to review in preparation of your deposition.
Step 6: Mediation
In the event that your case has not settled by this point, the Court will likely send your case to mediation. Mediation is an opportunity for both sides to come together, present their cases to an unbiased 3rd person who will help the parties try to negotiate a settlement that resolves your case without going to trial. Not all cases settle at mediation – however, the attorneys at 833-4TheWin have a strong track-record of settlements at mediation.
Step 7: Trial
If the insurance company has effused to provide the compensation you deserve, then the next step is to take your case to trial. At a trial, a jury of your peers will hear testimony from you and your witnesses. Documents and evidence will be presented, and arguments made by both sides’ attorneys. Then the jury of twelve people will deliberate and decide whether the Plaintiff wins or loses. If the Plaintiff wins, the jury then decides how much money the Plaintiff will receive. If the Plaintiff loses, then the Plaintiff gets nothing – yet is still responsible for any unpaid medical bills.
Talk To A Georgia Trial Attorney
Not every case goes to trial. But the litigation process outlined about is necessary when the greedy insurance companies care more about their profits than righting a wrong. If you’ve just been in an accident or if your current attorney is afraid of the courtroom, you need a law firm that is made up of true trial attorneys. At Georgia Trial Attorneys, we make sure you are prepared for every stop on the litigation highway and prepared for every possible outcome. Call 833-4TheWin today!