You may have to go to court for a car accident if you and the driver who caused your collision cannot reach a settlement agreement. This may also be necessary if the at-fault driver did not have insurance, and you have to sue them personally to recoup your accident-related damages.
However, most car accident lawsuits are resolved without either party having to appear in civil court. Settlement negotiations may start after representatives from both sides have conducted interviews and depositions and weighed the evidence.
Very few car accident lawsuits end in a courtroom. After proving negligence, the at-fault driver’s insurance provider may offer to initiate settlement talks. The decision to accept a monetary offer is up to you, but a personal injury lawyer may help you evaluate each offer you receive before you make a final decision.
How to Seek Damages After a Car Accident
After a collision, your lawyer and the at-fault driver’s representative will look for evidence to show what happened leading up to the crash, who is responsible, and the damages you suffered. This evidence often includes:
- The crash report
- Video and photos of the scene and the collision, when available
- Your medical records
- Proof of income loss and other damages you faced
- Witness statements regarding the collision
After gathering the necessary evidence, each side may conduct discovery sessions that include taking written statements and conducting live depositions. After each side completes its investigation, you may have the opportunity to settle your lawsuit without going to court.
While you may have to go to court to resolve your lawsuit in some situations, doing so can be time-consuming and costly. If you have the opportunity to resolve your case with a financial settlement, we can familiarize you with the claims process, which includes valuing your damages and negotiating an offer.
Know What Happens if You Agree to a Settlement
Once negotiations begin, they may continue until a settlement amount is agreed upon. When that happens, you may be asked to sign a waiver that absolves the at-fault party of any further financial responsibility. Signing the waiver makes your acceptance final, which is why it is important for your case to have an accurate valuation prior to the start of any negotiations.
Your lawyer will explain the benefits of agreeing to a settlement offer versus going to court when reviewing your options for seeking compensation. We will also help you make sure your financial damages are accurately assessed and valued before filing your claim. If you cannot reach a settlement agreement and your case has to be resolved by going to trial, a personal injury lawyer from our firm can help preserve your ability to do so by ensuring your lawsuit is filed in a timely fashion.
Your Ability to Go to Court Has a Time Limit
Every state has a predetermined statute of limitations, or time limit, on personal injury cases. The Louisiana Civil Code (CC) §3492 defines the amount of time you have to file your lawsuit. Some exceptions may extend or shorten this filing window.
If your deadline to file expires, you may not be allowed to file your lawsuit at all, or it may be dismissed without ever being heard in court.
It is never too early to contact a personal injury law firm like ours to represent you. A local personal injury lawyer familiar with the filing deadline in your state can help you navigate this statutory timeline.
You Could Collect These Financial Damages from the At-Fault Driver
Common injuries sustained in a car accident include concussions and broken bones. According to the Mayo Clinic, whiplash is also a commonly reported injury in rear-end collisions. The past, current, and future medical expenses you incur for these injuries after a collision might be recoverable, in addition to:
- Past, current, and future income loss
- Property damage or destruction
- Pain and suffering and inconvenience
- Mental and emotional anxiety and distress
Whether your case is resolved by going to court or by agreeing to a financial settlement, we can help you account for each of these types of damages. An accurate valuation will make it easier to determine whether a settlement offer is fair or not.
Get Help Navigating the Settlement Negotiation Process
If a car accident left you with physical and financial damages, you might be entitled to compensation from the at-fault driver or their insurance company. When you are ready to seek your damages, Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers is here to support you.
Whether you attempt to resolve your personal injury case with a financial settlement or you have to go to court for a car accident, we will be right by your side. Contact our client support team by calling (337) 777-7777 today.