Steps in a Car Accident Lawsuit
The civil justice system gives auto accident survivors ways to recover financial compensation for their damages from at-fault parties. First is the insurance claim. Most auto accident cases settle through insurance negotiations. A car accident lawsuit might be necessary, however, if you have life-changing injuries or a loved one died in a Phoenix auto accident and the defendant is refusing to accept your claim or treat it fairly. Learn what to expect from the lawsuit process in Arizona.
Collecting Information and Investigating a Claim
The first stage in most car accident lawsuits is the initial crash investigation. Multiple parties may investigate your car accident for purposes such as determining what happened, identifying the defendant, reconstructing the wreck and obtaining evidence. The goal during the investigative stage is to collect information about the car accident. You can help with an investigation by taking down the contact information of eyewitnesses, taking photographs and documenting other facts about your car accident.
Filing the Initial Insurance Claim
Once you receive medical care for your injuries, call the insurance company of the at-fault driver to report the wreck. Most insurers require you to make the initial report as soon as possible – typically within 72 hours of the collision. Do not admit fault for the crash to the insurance agent and do not agree to give a recorded statement. Use an accident lawyer’s assistance to file the settlement demand letter. Your demand letter should be succinct, giving the facts of the case and requesting an amount you believe is fair for your damages.
Consulting With a Car Accident Lawyer in Phoenix, AZ
Speak to a Phoenix car accident lawyer early in your lawsuit to give your case the best odds of succeeding. An accident attorney can help you with processes such as filling out paperwork and filing your claim. A lawyer can also take over insurance settlement negotiations and conversations with claims adjusters so you can make sure you do not say the wrong thing. Your lawyer will know how to do what is best for you and your claim.
Filing a Lawsuit
With an attorney’s assistance, you can strengthen your negotiating power during pre-trial settlement processes. You may need to go through mediation or arbitration before proceeding to a court trial in Arizona. Most car accident claims settle at this phase. If the insurance company does not offer a fair settlement, however, your lawyer can help you file a lawsuit. In Arizona, you will have a maximum of two years from your auto accident to bring a suit. You or your lawyer will submit the correct paperwork to the court in the county where your crash occurred to bring the claim.
The Discovery Phase
If your case proceeds towards trial, it will begin with the discovery phase. During this stage, your lawyer will have the chance to review all the evidence the other side has acquired, as well as take depositions of witnesses. The defendant will do the same. The discovery phase prepares both sides for the car accident trial by making the same information known by all. Discovery can take a few weeks to months depending on the case.
The courts will set a date for your personal injury trial. This could be months or over a year after you file your initial lawsuit depending on the caseload at the courthouse. Your injury lawyers will prepare your case for trial by hiring experts and taking other necessary steps to increase your chances of achieving a positive verdict.
On your assigned court date, you and your lawyer will go to trial in Phoenix to argue why you believe the defendant should be liable for your damages. Your injury attorney will present evidence to establish that your version of events is more likely to be true than not true. The jury will listen to both sides and determine the verdict. Only 6 out of 8 jurors must side with you for a positive outcome in state court. The jury will also decide how much money to award if you win. A Phoenix personal injury lawyer can help you with every step of a car accident lawsuit in Arizona.