Timeline of a car accident lawsuit

Car accidents are very common in the world and many of them cause serious injuries. If you are involved in a car accident due to the negligence of others, you will suffer damages. Economic and non-economic damages will affect your livelihood. Having an accident is stressful enough, but when you add the financial burden of restarting your life, the problems can be unbearable. If you have been involved in an accident through no fault of your own, contact an attorney and seek justice for your case. Fortunately, in less than 24 hours, you can apply for a fast financing and start rebuilding your life.

And on the other side in some cases, it is necessary for the victim to go to civil court in order to receive monetary compensation to which the affected party is entitled. Because the legal process can be confusing, here is a brief summary of the timeline for a typical car accident case:

  1. The first consultation is free. 

This consists of a meeting between a qualified car accident attorney and the victim. Together, they will determine if the case warrants filing a lawsuit. If so, the person enters into a representation agreement with the attorney – but this process does not require payment up front.

  1. Presentation of the claim. 

This involves the car accident lawyer organising the necessary documents and filing them with the appropriate court in the jurisdiction (for example, in Bexar County). The lawsuit describes your claims and the names of the defendant, who receives a summons from the court.

  1. Preliminary motions. 

After the defendant files an answer, the two sides meet to discuss what are known as preliminary motions. This includes actions to change the venue, judge, or jurisdiction in the case. This must be decided by a judge who sets a trial date.

  1. Mediation or liquidation.

Typically, the plaintiff and defendant engage in informal settlement discussions in an effort to reach an agreement without the need to go to trial. Sometimes a judge might order that both parties be present at mediation, which is formal settlement or mediation talks. It is important to note that settlement negotiations can occur at any time during a car accident lawsuit.

  1. Discovery of Evidence. 

This is the phase of the trial where both parties gather evidence and documentation related to the accident and its consequences. During discovery, the plaintiff must respond to questionnaires and/or submit to an impeachment, which is where defense attorneys can ask the plaintiff direct questions (but not in a courtroom).

  1. Pretrial Motions.

These actions focus on different topics that were discussed in the framework of the preliminary actions. Pretrial actions focus on admissibility of evidence, expert certification, and other components of a case that must be presented at trial.

  1. Jury selection.

On the trial date, the plaintiffs and defense attorneys will select a jury that will ultimately decide the case. Sometimes this step is skipped if the judge issues the verdict.

  1. Judgment.

This is the phase in which people are most familiar. Both attorneys give opening statements, witnesses testify and are contradicted, evidence is presented. The jury then hears closing statements from the attorneys and the juror’s instructions from the judge before retiring to deliberate and reach a verdict.

  1. Verdict.

This is the decision made by a judge or a jury. Many times the defendant has to pay money to the plaintiff.

  1. Appeals.

If a party is not satisfied with the verdict, they can try to appeal to a higher court. If the appeal is granted (and there must be a good reason for this), then the whole process starts all over again in a different court.

Again, it is not uncommon for plaintiffs and defendants to settle before (or even during) trial, or after a verdict has been reached in order to prevent an appeal. But it is quite evident that the victim must be represented by an experienced traffic attorney in all phases of this lawsuit.

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Christophe Rude

Christophe Rude

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