What Are The Stages of a Car Accident Case?
If you or a member of your family has been injured in a car accident, you may not know what your legal options are. You may never have been involved in this type of situation before, and you may not know what to expect. The following information provides an overview of the stages of how a car accident case normally proceeds. An experienced lawyer at The Bruning Law Firm in St. Louis will be able to answer any specific questions you might have about your car accident case.
Most car accidents result in two types of claims, property damage and personal injury. The property damage claim is typically the first part of your case to be resolved. In Missouri, the person at fault is required to either fix the damage cause or have the vehicle totaled and pay the fair market value of that vehicle.
While it may not be necessary for one to get an attorney to handle the property damage portion of your case, it is imperative to speak with one if you have suffered from any type of serious injury. To do so early on in the process allows the attorney to properly investigate the case to put you in the best position moving forward. A typical investigation includes taking photos of the scene, all vehicles involved and of the injuries themselves. If necessary, statements will be gotten from the at fault driver and any witnesses. In addition, there may have been a video of the incident from a nearby bank or gas station with surveillance. Having an experienced car accident attorney, like the ones at The Bruning Law Firm, looking into these avenues early can be the difference in getting a positive outcome in the end.
While the attorney is working on investigating the case, it is important for anyone involved in an accident to focus on their medical treatment. Depending on how serious the injury is, this stage of the case can take a long time to conclude. It is important though that the injured person is patient and waits until all their injuries have resolved before moving forward. It is also vital during this period to not discuss your injuries with any insurance company nor sign anything that allows the insurance company access to medical records past or present. Let your attorney deal with the insurance company while you focus on getting better.
When your medical treatment has concluded it is important to meet with your attorney and discuss what your options are. Typically the case resolves around the insurance coverages that are available to you. Many individuals do not realize the different coverages that they may access after being in a car accident, and that is why it can be important have an experienced car accident attorney examine the available polices. Once all the coverages have been outlined, your attorney can begin the negotiations with the insurance company to come to a fair resolution of your case. Any individual who suffered injury in a car accident is entitled to damages for medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering. The attorneys at The Bruning Law Firm have a long track record of obtaining favorable settlements from the insurance company at this stage in the process.
If the insurance company is not willing to make a reasonable settlement offer, it may be necessary for your attorney to file a lawsuit against the driver responsible. Although lawsuits can take a lot of time and money, they are often required to ensure the injured party is fairly compensated. The attorney begins the suit by filing a Petition in the County the accident occurred. After that the parties exchange written discovery, which is a series of questions aimed to uncover information about the accident and parties involved. After the written discovery phase, typically begins depositions. Normally the attorneys want to take the depositions of the parties first, the Plaintiff (injured person) and the Defendant (at fault driver). After that the attorneys may choose to depose witnesses, doctors or any other person who may have relevant information to the car accident case. Finally, if the parties cannot come to a resolution after all of these steps there will be a trial in front of a jury.
Every car accident case should start with a consultation with an attorney. Call the attorneys at The Bruning Law Firm at 314-735-8100 for your free consultation today.