What To Expect If You File A Lawsuit After A Car Accident
After a car accident caused by another party’s negligence, you are entitled to recover compensation for your damages. Here is how the process for settling a car accident claim works.
After you file a car accident claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, an insurance claims adjuster will investigate the accident. Their investigation will involve reviewing every piece of available evidence that you provide, such as photos of your vehicle and the accident scene and journals of how your injuries have impacted your life, as well as:
- The official police report
- Your photos and the other driver’s pictures of the accident scene
- Statements from eyewitnesses
- Invoices for vehicle repairs
- Payment stubs to prove lost income
- Your medical records that contain information about your injuries or your prognosis
- The accident location.
Other evidence that may be considered and can potentially hurt your claim is any content regarding the accident posted on your social media accounts.
If you hired a car accident lawyer, they will also conduct an independent investigation into your accident to ensure vital evidence is collected to support your claim.
Consultations With Experts
Experts can provide critical insight into your accident, injury severity, and potential future losses or physical limitations. Examples of experts who may be consulted are:
- Your physician — who can discuss your injuries, treatment, and prognosis.
- Accident reconstruction expert — who can create a digital rendering of your accident and how it was caused.
- A mechanical or civil engineer — if a vehicle malfunction or geographical feature may have been a factor in causing the accident.
Establishing the Value of Your Case
After reviewing all the documentation, evidence, and insurance policies involved in your case, the claims adjuster and your lawyer will each determine what your case is worth. This figure will be based on various components, such as the strength of evidence against the at-fault driver, the nature and extent of your injuries, any pre-existing injuries, your age, and more. The compensation awarded will typically factor in medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and more.
However, the award an insurance company offers may not completely cover your damages, especially if the policy limits are low. As a result, you may have to file a claim with your own auto insurer to make up the difference.
Your attorney will draft a demand letter and send it to the at-fault party’s insurer. The letter will detail the facts of the accident and request a certain amount of compensation by a specific date to resolve the claim. It is in your best interests to hold off on sending a demand letter until you have recovered from your injuries or once you reach the point of “maximum medical improvement” (MMI). Waiting will give both you and your attorney the best estimate of the amount of compensation you need to cover your losses entirely.
The insurance company will have their idea of your case’s worth, but your lawyer will draft and send a demand letter requesting a particular amount of compensation. Settlement negotiations will then begin, and most car accident claims are settled without a lawsuit. If you can reach a fair agreement, the case will be resolved, and you won’t have to go to court. If you cannot reach an appropriate settlement, you may decide to file a lawsuit.
Negotiating after Filing a Lawsuit
Under Minnesota’s statute of limitations, you can legally file a personal injury lawsuit within two years of your accident. While preparing your case for trial, your attorney will continue to negotiate with the insurance company. Often, settlements are reached before the trial begins. Once you accept an offer, the insurance company will require you to sign a release of liability before issuing your payment.
Get Help Today
If you were injured in a car accident, speak to a Minneapolis Car Accident Lawyer at Hall Law, P.A. We can help you navigate the settlement process and ensure you recover the maximum amount of compensation possible. Message us online or call (800) 292-1979 to schedule your free consultation today.