What To Expect From Your North Carolina Auto Accident Lawsuit
If you’ve been in a car accident in North Carolina, you’ve got a lot concerns on your mind, and going up against the auto insurance company of the at fault driver is probably not the first on your list of struggles to deal with. You are focused on recovering from your injuries, dealing with your pain and your suffering, and trying to get back into the swing of your daily life. Yet, if you aren’t prepared to fight for the compensation that you deserve, you may not be fairly compensated in the end.
In some cases, even when you do fight for fair compensation, you may find that it is an uphill battle that ultimately results in the need for a lawsuit. This is where you’ll need to have the guidance and representation of a skilled North Carolina auto accident attorney, both to try to avoid having to go to court and to be successful in court if the case has to go that far. Most cases will not go to court, especially when the insurance company sees that you have retained the services of a lawyer. Following is what you can expect from your North Carolina auto accident claim and potential lawsuit.
Begin By Meeting With a North Carolina Auto Accident Attorney
The first thing you’ll do when you’re pursuing fair compensation for an auto accident claim is to consult with an attorney. This initial consultation will be free, and it will help you to establish whether or not you need an attorney for your case (some cases will not require an attorney, such as minor damage cases) and what the lawyer can do for you to help you pursue the compensation you deserve.
If the auto accident attorney is willing to take your case and you are comfortable with his or her representation, then you will move forward together to pursue the damages, and your lawyer will work on a contingency fee basis. This means that you don’t pay anything upfront, and the lawyer only gets paid if he or she is able to recover compensation for your damages. This is one reason that you can generally trust an attorney to be honest with you about your chances of winning. The lawyer isn’t going to take on a case that he or she doesn’t think can be successfully pursued.
Following Your Initial Meeting With a North Carolina Auto Accident Attorney
The next phase of the process will be the investigation conducted by your attorney and his or her associates. This is where they will gather evidence from the scene of the accident, from the eye witnesses, from expert witnesses, and from the medical records associated with your accident. There may be expert witnesses to confer with as well for the evidence they can provide.
Once your attorney has a clear idea of what your claim is worth, he or she will begin negotiating with the insurance company to reach a fair settlement agreement and attempt to avoid lawsuit. Frequently, the insurance company will automatically take your claim more seriously when they see that you have an attorney, and the claim will be settled without the need of a trial. However, if this negotiation is not successful, then this is the point where your attorney will file a lawsuit on your behalf.
What Happens Before Trial in North Carolina Auto Accident Lawsuits
Just because a lawsuit is filed does not mean that the case will necessarily end up going to trial. Sometimes, having an attorney isn’t enough for the insurance company to settle your claim fairly, but filing a lawsuit makes the difference and the insurance company becomes more willing to negotiate a fair settlement to avoid the expense of going to court.
Once the lawsuit has been filed, the defendant will have to respond to the allegations in writing, and then different motions may be filed either to dismiss the claim or the get a summary judgment, etc. In this manner, the case can still be settled, or it may be dismissed, depending on the case. If these motions are denied, then the case will proceed, and the next step will be discovery. The discovery phase is where each side gathers their evidence, obtains information from the other side, and may attempt to block some evidence from being used. There will also be some pre-trial conferences, and negotiations can continue. Up until the trial, the case can still be settled.
What Happens At the Trial for a North Carolina Auto Accident Case
If the case ends up going to trial (which is not very likely, but it does happen), then each side will make their arguments and present their evidence. A judge or a jury will hear these arguments and the look at the evidence and come to a conclusion about who should win the case. If you win, then the judge or jury will determine the value of your compensation.
To learn more about the process and how it applies to your specific auto accident case, contact the North Carolina auto accident attorneys at Brown, Moore & Associates.