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Jeff Martin March 21, 2022

Car accidents are almost always unexpected and never good. If you’re lucky, the only thing that will be damaged is your car. But even if you don’t have to worry about hospital visits and medical bills, you will want to be fairly compensated for damages caused to your property. 

Car accidents are no small thing, costing you both time and money. Here's what to expect if you file a lawsuit after a car accident.

Auto Accident Settlement Timeline

Most all cases involving car accidents are settled outside of court, but you'll still need legal representation. The personal injury settlement process is long, but in the end, it is worth it. Here’s what you can expect:

  1. Seek medical treatment. Obviously, it's important to receive medical care after a car accident for the sake of your health, but you also need to seek medical treatment so that you can identify your injuries. If you do not identify your injuries, then you will be unable to file a personal injury claim. Depending on how severe or complicated your injuries are, this could take as little as weeks or as long as a year.

  2. Find legal representation. Once you have consulted a doctor, you will want to consult an attorney. Your attorney will go over everything that happened — the damages to your property, how much your medical bill costs, and how much money you lost due to missing work. How long this part of the process takes depends on how forthcoming you are with your attorney but expect it to be between two to six months.

  3. Try to settle out of court. Your attorney will do everything to get you your money without having to go to trial. This will be true throughout your case, even if a trial does become necessary. At any point during the process, the case can be settled outside of court, and oftentimes it is.

  4. File claims. This is where your attorney will notify the defendant that they plan to file a car accident civil suit. Once the defendant is notified, the lawsuit is officially in motion. Defendants have 20 days to respond, and this part of the process generally takes a couple of weeks.

  5. Go through discovery. During discovery, all the facts will be laid out for both sides to see. This is where both parties will get ready for the lawsuit, setting up their defenses of making their claims. Depending on how complicated your case is, this could take anywhere from a few months to a year.

  6. Handle negotiations. Once both parties have all of the information, it’s time to start coming to a conclusion. This is often where it's decided that a formal trial isn’t needed, as your attorney will most likely push to have things settled out of court. If things are not settled out of court and your case goes to trial, expect the trial to last for a couple of days.

Personal Injury Settlement Process

Once everything is settled, it will be time for you to get compensated. There are options when it comes to getting your money. You can either get all your money in one large sum, or you can opt for a structured settlement. This might be the best option for people who expect to still have expenses because of car accident in the future. This means that instead of getting your money all at once, you'll receive it in installments.

The next step is getting your money. This can be frustrating because you’ve already been dealing with your case for so long and just want it to be over. The insurance company will be happy for the settlement to be over, too, but they are still going to fight to pay you as little as possible. That’s why it is crucial to have a good attorney on your side.

If you've been in an accident and plan to file a car accident civil suit, contact us today at Jeff Martin Law so we can help.