Key Stages in a Car Accident Lawsuit
There are times when even the most cautious drivers are injured in a car accident. In some cases, it doesn’t matter if you’re the most responsible person on the road. Distracted drivers and drunk or drugged drivers cause accidents. If you’re driving on the freeway and a large piece of debris falls off the back of a pickup truck, a driver that swerves to avoid it can crash into another vehicle.
People who have been injured as a result of a motor vehicle accident will want to speak with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. If the lawyer determines that you have a case, there are a few timeline items you’ll want to keep in mind.
Filing the lawsuit
Personal injury lawsuits are filed in civil court, and the first step will be to file a complaint in the court that has jurisdiction over you case. For example, if you live in New Jersey but you were injured in a car accident in Fort Myers, you’ll have to file the lawsuit in the city where the accident took place.
Once your complaint has been filed with the court, the defendant and their attorney will have the chance to file motions. They may file a motion to dismiss the case, a motion for a change of judge or in some instances, they might seek a motion for change of venue. If the accident took place in Sarasota County, but both drivers live in Collier County, a motion of venue may allow the case to be moved to that courthouse.
In some cases, the judge may refer your case to mediation. If mediation is unsuccessful, the next step will be discovery. During this phase, lawyers on both sides can request information and documents from the other side that relate to the case. Your lawyer will likely want to have you, the defendant and relevant witnesses sit for a formal interview (also known as a deposition.)
Most personal injury lawsuits settle before they go to trial, and in many cases, the settlement will come after discovery. If the case does proceed to trial, it may be heard before a judge (bench trial), or before a judge and a jury (jury trial). There are pros and cons to both, and your attorney can help you understand the differences.
If you or someone you care for has been injured in a car accident and you have questions about how personal injury lawsuits work, call The Law Offices of Marc L. Shapiro, P.A. today to schedule a free consultation.