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If you or a loved one have been involved in a car accident, you might be grappling with intense pain, mounting medical expenses, and questions about the process of a car accident lawsuit. We are here to provide answers. We will guide you through what you can anticipate during the lawsuit, shed light on the timeline for reaching an auto accident settlement, and help you understand what to expect in the event that your car accident lawsuit proceeds to trial.
Pre-Litigation Negotiation
“Prior to initiating a car accident lawsuit, there is typically an initial opportunity to seek a settlement for your claim. During this stage, you or your attorney will engage in communication with the insurance company representing the responsible party. The insurer may extend an offer to settle the claim, aiming to reach a mutually acceptable resolution. If the offer appears fair and suitable, you have the option to accept the insurer’s terms, receive a payment, and refrain from pursuing legal action. However, when a mutually agreeable settlement cannot be reached, the next course of action is to proceed with filing a lawsuit
The Motor Vehicle Injury Settlement

After the initial discovery phase, your attorney may draft a letter outlining the defendant’s liability in the accident, the injuries you have suffered, and the other damages that need to be compensated to fully restore you. This letter serves as a negotiation strategy employed by many attorneys.

Typically, formal negotiations commence once you have reached a state of ‘maximum medical improvement.’ This refers to the point at which further medical treatment would no longer provide significant benefits. By waiting until this stage, it allows for a comprehensive assessment of the extent of your injuries and the associated time and expenses required for recovery.

When deemed appropriate, both attorneys will engage in discussions regarding a potential settlement. If an agreement is not reached but the parties are close, mediation may be sought. Mediation involves the presence of both attorneys and a neutral mediator who facilitates negotiations without imposing personal opinions. Mediation is valuable as it allows attorneys to speak openly in an informal setting without concern that their statements will be used against them in court.

During mediation, the parties involved will have the opportunity to express their perspectives to each other in the presence of the mediator. They may also have private discussions with the mediator. The mediator uses the information gathered to assist the parties in reaching a mutually agreeable resolution.

However, if both parties are unable to bridge the gap and reach a satisfactory settlement, the mediation session may conclude without a resolution. Nonetheless, this does not necessarily signify the end of settlement negotiations. In certain cases, the insights gained during mediation can lay the foundation for subsequent attempts at mediation or further negotiations, which may yield more positive outcomes.

Understanding the Trial Phase for Your Motor Vehicle Accident Lawsuit

In the event that mediation fails to reach a settlement, the next step is scheduling a trial. It’s important to note that the trial date can be set several months or even a year in advance, which can come as a surprise and lead to frustration for plaintiffs eagerly seeking compensation for their essential medical treatment.

A trial can take place either before a jury, as most people are familiar with, or as a ‘bench trial’ without a jury, where the judge presides over the proceedings. In a jury trial, potential jurors undergo a careful screening process to identify any biases, prejudices, or hostility, which is known as jury selection.

Once the trial begins, both sides present their opening statements to provide a summary of their respective positions on the accident. Witnesses, and at times experts, are called upon to testify and undergo cross-examination. After each side has had the opportunity to present and support their version of events, as well as question the opposing side’s narrative, both attorneys deliver their closing arguments.

Following the closing arguments, the judge provides instructions to the jury on how to approach the case. In a motor vehicle accident lawsuit, these instructions typically include explaining the standard for negligence and how it applies to the specific crash in question. The jury then convenes, deliberates, and ultimately delivers a verdict. While the duration of jury deliberations can vary, the majority of motor vehicle accident jury deliberations are typically concluded within a day or two. However, there have been instances of prolonged and intense deliberations in certain trials.

It’s important to remember that at any stage during the trial, including while the jury is deliberating, a settlement may still be reached. By this point, both parties will have invested significant time and resources into the motor vehicle accident lawsuit process, creating a strong incentive to reach an agreement that satisfies all parties involved.

Types of Compensations

A motor vehicle accident lawsuit can encompass various claims seeking compensation for different aspects. 

In the unfortunate event of a fatality, the accident may also give rise to a wrongful death claim, entailing associated damages.