Car accidents kill and injure as many people as firearms do across America each year. If you suffered from a serious car accident, you can expect to spend some time in court sorting out the devastating details.
Knowing what to expect for your car accident case lets you prepare for your court proceedings in advance. An auto accident legal case is one thing you don’t want to get caught off guard for.
If you are at fault you could end up doing jail time or having to pay for medical bills and lifestyle impacts. Conversely, if the other party was at fault you need justice. Here’s what you can expect before, during, and after your day in court.
Before Your Car Accident Case Begins
How you spend the time leading up to your case will dictate its outcome. Certain things will be out of your control but there is a lot you can do to stand a better chance in an auto accident case. Let’s break it down a bit more.
Immediately After Your Accident
Immediately after your accident you should remove yourself from harm and call emergency services. Next check on the condition of others if it’s safe to do so. Make sure to exchange insurance info. Also, never admit fault at the scene.
The less you say at the scene of your accident the better. Speak to the police and try to receive a copy of their report. If they ask you specific questions about the nature of the accident, refer them to your lawyer.
In the Days Following Your Accident
In the days following your accident, you need to focus on seeking and documenting medical treatment. If your accident puts you in the hospital make sure to get an itemized bill once discharged.
If you suffered from a less-severe accident make sure to document any signs of physical or mental trauma. These may take days or weeks to surface so keep a watchful eye and document any negative effects or treatments.
Get a Lawyer
One of the first things you should do after you seek medical treatment is get a lawyer. A lawyer will be your shield against the brutal reality of the legal world and your navigator through it. Arrange a meeting with a reputable lawyer.
Bring all of your documentation with you to your lawyer. Explain to your lawyer what happened during the accident. You can express whether you think you or the other party was at fault. Your lawyer will know what to do next.
What Your Lawyer Will Do
Your lawyer will gather all necessary documentation and your side of the story. They will then attempt to assess a total dollar value for all physical and mental trauma you sustained from the accident.
Next, they will attempt to settle with the insurance companies to avoid having to go to court. If this fails they will take your case to court. Expect your case to take anywhere from a few months to years to conclude.
Get Mental Health Services
Car crashes are the leading cause of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) for the average American. You need to focus on getting some professional help to get you through these dark times.
Find a therapist, psychologist, or other mental health professional and let them guide you through the post-accident turmoil. Your court dates will bring your accident front and center into your life again. Have the tools to cope with this.
During Your Car Accident Case
Your car accident case may take a few months to a few years to finish. Expect to spend multiple days in the courtroom over a long time. The following are the stages of your case.
During the discovery process, your lawyer and the opposing attorney will share all documentation from both sides. The documentation shared will be considered as evidence.
Both lawyers will interrogate any parties involved (including you) and create written testimonies for the court to analyze. Consult your lawyer before this step as you can keep certain things confidential.
At this point in the trial, both parties will give their deposition testimonies. These testimonies are verbal statements about the nature of the accident and what occurred after it. They are taken under oath in a courtroom.
Other witnesses such as responding emergency personnel or observers of the crash will be questioned as well. Everything will be transcribed by an official of the court onto a permanent record.
Mediation Settlement Negotiations and Trial Court
The most common way for a car accident case to settle is through mediation. A mediator is a specially trained third party that can negotiate a settlement between both parties without bringing the case to trial.
If the mediator fails to find common ground your case will be brought to trial and brought before a judge and jury. If this is the case you need to focus on the following:
You always need to keep a calm and professional demeanor in the courtroom. At times it may be appropriate to be emotional but try to talk clear and concisely. Let your lawyer do most of the talking.
If you are instructed to take the stand let your lawyer guide you. Answer all questions to the best of your ability and make sure to tell the truth. Avoid getting angry or being rude on the stand.
You should present yourself as a model citizen. This means wearing clean professional clothes such as a suit. Remain clean and comb your hair. Your physical impression on the jury and judge is very important.
After Your Case
If your case goes to trial you can expect a long-drawn-out process. You may want to seek out a legal settlement advance loan to pay for expenses incurred during your trial or to offset missed time at work.
If you are found not at fault you can expect a large settlement that results in some sort of financial restitution. If you are found at fault you or your insurance will pay and you may face other consequences.
Get the Auto Accident Settlement You Deserve
If you were involved in a car accident you deserve some legal recourse. The unfortunate reality is that a car accident case is a lengthy legal process and you may not see your settlement for many years.
If you need money now and can’t wait for the outcome of a court case contact us today. We handle all forms of accident and personal injury settlement funding. Let us put money in your hand now when you need it most.