Steps in a Car Accident Lawsuit
You’re hit by a car while driving your child to school because another driver fell asleep at the wheel. Luckily, your child was not harmed but your neck and back are stiff. As the days and weeks pass, you are dealing with doctors appointments, filing claims through your insurance and the at-fault driver’s insurance, missing work to take your car to the shop for repairs, and more.
The question comes to mind: Is there an easier way to deal with this? Should I hire a lawyer?
While this hypothetical situation has many interchangeable parts, it is not uncommon for car accident victims to wonder whether it is more or less trouble to hire an attorney. Maybe it is because they have never had to file a legal claim, or maybe they have never even had any prior accidents.
Regardless of the reason, without understanding the steps an attorney takes in a car accident lawsuit and how they suit may proceed, victims may not get the legal help they need.
Pitman, Kalkhoff, Sicula & Dentice has compiled a concise list of how a claim is handled by our team of car accident attorneys. Read on to see the steps we take after you’ve been in a crash.
1. Claim Investigation and Filing
In the absolute first step, our intake team takes your information and a meeting is scheduled with one of our skilled attorneys. At that meeting, you will be able to tell your story and explain, in detail, what happened to you. Our job at this point is to listen and counsel. If we determine your claim is valid and you choose to move forward, the next phase of the process will begin.
At this stage, important paperwork will be filed in the appropriate court by your legal team, including the complaint and the summons. The complaint outlines your claim against the defendant, and the summons lets the defendant know that you have named them in a lawsuit.
At this point, the defendant will have a particular window of time to answer the complaint and must admit to or deny each claim you make. The defendant must also list any defenses he or she has to your allegations, and could also decide to bring a third party into the lawsuit if someone else shares the blame for the accident.
Discovery is a very important part of the car accident lawsuit. These requests for discovery may include subpoenas seeking the production of documents, sworn depositions of the people involved in the case, and requests that the parties admit or deny certain facts. The defendant (or other parties) may also request that you be deposed, or that we provide certain documents to them. After the discovery process is completed, our attorneys may file a summary judgment motion, asking the judge to decide the case based solely on the facts learned during discovery. If a resolution cannot be reached during the discovery phase, then the case will move on to trial.
3. Reaching a Resolution
Once all of the evidence is collected, the case is ready to proceed to trial. If the evidence against the defendant is strong, he or she may decide that it is too dangerous to let a jury decide the case, and the defendant may offer a settlement.
The outcome of your case will depend entirely upon factors unique to the situation and each party involved. Wisconsin is an at-fault state in regard to car accidents. This means that before someone can be compensated for their injuries, someone must be found responsible, or at fault, for the accident. That person is required to compensate the victim for more than lost wages and medical expenses; pain and suffering may be applied to the award, as well.
Whether your case settles or goes to trial, your legal team always pursues the MAXIMUM amount of compensation available to you. We will always advise on the best course of action while we keep in mind your goals and comfort level with the process.
Car Crash Victim? Contact PKSD Today
If you need legal help, don’t handle the burden of your accident on your own. Call the car accident lawyers at Pitman, Kalkhoff, Sicula & Dentice today for a FREE review of your claim.