In the aftermath of a car accident that takes place in California, victims often wonder what the timeline is for a lawsuit against the at-fault party. After all, it is important that victims receive compensation for their injuries and property damage. Understanding the timeline for these incidents can be complicated, as there are many factors that go into the outcome of a final settlement.
California Car Accident Settlement Lawsuit Timeline
Unfortunately, there is no standard timeline in place for car accident settlements or lawsuits. Depending on the various factors of your claim, a settlement may happen in as little as a few weeks or drag on for more than a year.
Instead of focusing on an exact timeline, we should instead look at the steps that a victim should take on the roadway towards recovering the compensation they are entitled to.
1. Seek Medical Treatment
Because the majority of a car accident settlement revolves around the severity of the injuries, it is vital that car accident victims seek medical treatment as soon as the incident occurs and that they continue their medical care until they have made a full recovery. Failing to do so could result in the insurance carrier offering a low settlement.
2. Choose a Skilled Car Accident Attorney
Car accident victims should secure a skilled attorney as soon as possible. Most attorneys will take these cases on a contingency fee basis, which means the victim owes no legal fees until their attorney recovers the compensation they deserve. A skilled Ontario car accident lawyer will understand how to maximize the total compensation a victim receives.
3. Obtaining the Evidence
An attorney will work to obtain all evidence related to the case, including video and photo surveillance, eyewitness statements, police reports, medical records, and more. An attorney will have the resources and legal knowledge to obtain all evidence and leave no stone unturned.
4. Demand Letter to Recover Losses
When a lawyer takes your case, they will work with economic and medical experts to calculate your total losses. After you have reached a point of maximum medical improvement (MMI), your lawyer will send a demand letter to the at-fault party or their insurance carrier to recover all compensation you are entitled to.
Both sides will be required to hand over the evidence they have to the other side in an effort to prepare for the trial. Your attorney and the other party’s attorney may take depositions from you, the other driver, and anyone else involved in the incident.
7. Mediation and Negotiation
Throughout the entirety of this process, your attorney will be negotiating with the other side in an effort to reach a fair compensation. Most cases do not make it all the way to trial and are settled either before a lawsuit is filed or while waiting for trial.
8. Going to Trial
If a fair compensation is not negotiated before the trial date, the case will move forward to be heard before a judge or a jury. An auto accident case can take as little as a few days or last a few weeks.
Focus on Finding a Skilled Attorney
Most individuals who are injured in a car accident do not have the resources or legal experience to properly pursue maximum compensation. As a victim, your focus should be on finding a skilled attorney who is willing to take your case all the way to trial if necessary.