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Motor Vehicle Accidents

What Are The Stages Of A Car Accident Lawsuit?

For anyone who has never been in a car accident, pursuing a lawsuit can seem like a mountain of a task. This is because personal injury and car accident lawsuits include many different procedures and steps to finally getting the full and rightful compensation that you deserve from the respective parties. In fact, it can vary a lot in terms of time span – ranging from a few months to a few years to come to agreement. If one of the vehicles involved is a taxi, there may be additional considerations that come into play with regards to the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission’s (TLC) responsibility in the taxi accident.

In this time, it is crucial that you work with a car accident attorney who is able to support you during the legal process and clearly communicate what occurs during each stage.

Stage 1: Pre-Litigation.

In most car accidents, there is no immediate need to file a lawsuit. The first step is to get in touch with an attorney to investigate the circumstances and collect any necessary facts, documents and statements that will help to support your allegations. In this time, your consultations will focus around the details of your case, whether or not you have a valid claim as well as to develop a well-substantiated claim. At this stage, it is also crucial for you to decide on a lawyer who is a good personal fit for what you hope to achieve. This is largely because there are limitations with regards to any civil incident lawsuits as accordant to Chapter 8 of New York’s Civil Practice Law and Rules.

Some documents that will be required would be any medical records, history, or bills that may be relevant to the crash in order to calculate the amount of damages and compensation that should be requested. This may also include economic damages and intangible losses like a decline in your quality of life.

This is also the stage where you will interview any witnesses, request for copies of the police report, and maybe obtain any information that can help to prove that the driver at-fault was negligent.

Stage 2: Litigation

At this stage, you are formally filing a lawsuit where the court is provided with a written complaint and the relevant paperwork. This will involve paying a filing fee as well as the serving of papers to the other party. While it is possible to file a lawsuit on your own, it is still better to work with an experienced lawyer to better your chance at obtaining the compensation you deserve. This is especially so as care needs to be taken with regards to the preparation of the content of the reports following Vehicle & Traffic Laws Section 604.

The first process that will occur is discovery where both parties will share the relevant documents and evidence with each other. This means that you may also have to answer a written set of questions from the other party’s attorney. There will later also be a more formal presentation of evidence called a deposition which is give nunder oath.

It is important to take note that any lawsuit will come with risks which is why your attorney may also suggest forms of mediation where the cases are settled out of court and the parties agree on a settlement amount.

Stage 3: Trial and Appeal

Most cases will be resolved before it gets to this stage, however, it can be necessary in order to obtain the full compensation you deserve. In New York, it is likely to be a jury trial where a group of people from the public will listen to both sides and then issue their verdict. In the even that you believe that a legal error was made, you may then file an appeal or other procedural methods to appeal or challenge the final decision.

Do you need help negotiating with insurance companies? A car accident attorney is just a phone call away.

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