It is impossible to tell you how your case will take, but we can let you know what to expect. Some cases may be settled within a few months, while others could take years to resolve. It depends on many factors including the nature and severity of the injuries, whether liability is disputed, whether damages are disputed, and whether the at-fault driver's insurance company agrees to pay full compensation for your injuries, denies your claim, or delays payment. Below is an explanation of some of the stages of an auto accident case.
The Claims Adjuster may Settle Your Case
Some cases may be settled by the insurance company once your attorney has provided sufficient evidence of liability and damages. In other cases, the insurance company will deny your claim or refuse to pay full compensation. Then we file a lawsuit and the claims representative will turn the case over to insurance defense attorneys. Once the insurance defense lawyers have the case, they will almost always delay settling the case. After all, they get paid by the hour, right? From their point of view, they must fully explore all issues of liability, causation, and damages before they can make a recommendation to their client the insurance company.
The Discovery Process
Once we have filed a lawsuit against the other driver, we will serve written interrogatories, requests to produce, and requests to admit on the other side's attorneys. We will help you to answer the same kind of written discovery requests that they serve on us. During this process, we will seek all information that is relevant to your injury claims or the other side's defenses, and we must also provide any information to them that is relevant to the claims and defenses. When the other side refuses to produce the evidence we have requested or unreasonably delays production, we will file motions to compel and ask the court to force them to produce the information. During the discovery phase of your case, we may also take depositions of any key witnesses including the other driver, and you may also be required to testify in a deposition. If we have expert witnesses that we will use to prove liability or damages such as an accident reconstructionist, doctors, or life-care planners, their depositions will be taken as well.
Mediation and Trial
Prior to trial, you may be required to attend mediation where a neutral mediator hears from both sides, looks at the evidence that will be introduced at trial, and attempts to broker a settlement between the parties. If mediation is unsuccessful and the defense has not agreed to pay full compensation for your injuries, the case will then proceed to trial. Your case can be settled at any time during this process from the very beginning prior to filing a lawsuit through the end of the trial. Some cases will settle just before trial begins or even in the middle of a trial. Your auto accident attorney at Axelrod & Associates, P.A. will fight to ensure that you are fully compensated whether that happens before the lawsuit is filed or when the jury returns their verdict.
If you or someone you know has been injured in an auto accident, schedule a free consultation with a Myrtle Beach personal injury lawyer on the Axelrod team. Call us at (843) 916-9300 or fill out our contact form today.