Car accidents may not only cause serious personal injuries for those involved, but also can leave the vehicles involved severely damaged which can lead to additional costs for both parties. If you have been in a car accident that you did not cause and are trying to figure out if you have enough grounds to sue the driver at fault, you’ll need to assess a few different things. The first step is to see how much insurance coverage the other driver has. If their policy does not sufficiently compensate you for medical and automotive repair expenses, you should contact a car accident attorney to see if they believe you have enough cause for a lawsuit. Insurance companies will cover most economic losses, and non-physical costs such as emotional hardships, pain, or the loss of loved one due to the accident. For these types of losses, your best option for reimbursement would be to file a lawsuit with the help of an auto accident attorney, like a car accident lawyer in Cleveland, OH from Mishkind Kulwicki Law Co, L.P.A.
Civil lawsuits, or tort cases, mean that a civil wrongdoing has caused a claimant to endure serious personal injuries, loss or harm, therefore resulting in legal liability for the person who committed the wrongful act. Lawsuits where the plaintiff is seeking compensation due to a car accident-related injury fall within this category. Civil lawsuits begin with the plaintiff filing a claim with their local court; usually this must be filed before the specific state’s statute of limitations expires. The defendant and their insurance company will then respond to the lawsuit by either denying or confessing to the allegations brought forth by the plaintiff; at this time, the defendant may also bring back counterclaims by providing additional details on how the plaintiff was partially-responsible for the accident and their injuries.
This process can be long. Getting a trial date set can take some time. During this pre-trial time, the judge may mandate mediation between the plaintiff and defendant. Mediation is when both sides and their attorneys work to find a mutual agreement in the presence of a third-party negotiator. The parties also conduct discovery during the pre-trial phase where the attorneys from each side explore the evidence and facts more closely; the attorneys are required to divulge whatever information they find out to each other. During the discovery, the lawyers will conduct depositions of opposing parties and important witnesses. This is where the attorneys from each side call various witnesses and the drivers involved to be interviewed and recorded. The transcripts from the deposition and evidence found in discovery can be used during the actual trial. If negotiations fail, the case goes to trial.
The parties will determine if the lawsuit will be heard at a bench trial or jury trial. A bench trial means that only the judge will determine the outcome of the case while a jury trial means a group of randomly selected civilians will meet and decide the outcome as a whole after hearing both sides. Car accident lawsuits rarely make it all the way to trial; they most typically end in a settlement at some point in the pre-trial process. If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident, reach out to a car accident attorney immediately. You may be eligible for compensation.