If you were involved in a car accident in California, then you may be struggling to recover from your physical injuries, cope with the emotional trauma you experienced, and make ends meet financially. Many car accident victims find that filing a legal claim against the parties responsible for their accident helps them get the financial support they need during this difficult time. Filing a car accident lawsuit with the help of an experienced personal injury attorney in your area can give you the financial support you need.
You may assume that filing a lawsuit means you will have to go to court and endure a lengthy trial. However, that is not often the case. In fact, a large number of car accident claims are settled outside the courtroom through informal negotiations. You and your attorney will work with insurers to agree to a fair settlement that both parties can live with.
In cases where settlement is not possible, you and your attorney will proceed to trial. The first step is to file a formal complaint, which will name all parties involved, explain the facts of the case, and list your legal claims. For example, a victim in a rear-end collision may assert a claim for negligence against the other driver, contending that the other driver followed too closely and should therefore be liable for the victim’s medical expenses.
Once you officially serve the other driver with your complaint, you and your attorney will enter the discovery phase, during which you will request all necessary information and documents from the other party. You will then go to trial, when both you and the other driver will have a chance to present their case. Both sides will be permitted to present evidence, question and cross-examine witnesses, and make closing arguments. Once both cases have been presented, the selected jury will render a verdict based on the judge’s instructions to the jury. The court will then enter a final judgment, generally based on the jury’s verdict. If you are awarded damages, the final judgment will typically state the final amount owed to you by the defendant/other driver.