What Happens in a Car Accident Lawsuit?

July 1, 2024 | By Polito & Harrington LLC
What Happens in a Car Accident Lawsuit?
Cars accident on a road.

Car accidents can lead to surprisingly complicated legal matters. When you must bring a car accident injury case, it typically involves determining who is at fault for the accident, gathering evidence, negotiating with insurance companies, and potentially going to trial.

Given the potential challenges and the possibility of requiring a lawsuit in civil court, anyone who suffered injuries in a crash should seek the guidance of an experienced car accident attorney who will take the necessary steps to seek the compensation they deserve.

If you’re in this position, contact a Waterford car accident attorney near you to discuss your case for free.

Schedule a Free Initial Consultation Today!

What Comes Before Filing a Car Accident Lawsuit?

You do not simply rush to the courthouse when you have a car accident claim. Instead, several important steps must happen before you reach the lawsuit stage.

Hiring a Car Accident Lawyer

Hiring a car accident lawyer is an important first step in the process. They will lead the entire process from start to finish, allowing you to focus on your physical recovery and medical treatment. You never have to wonder about what to do or the next steps with the right legal representation.

Investigation and Identifying Liable Parties

The next preliminary step is the investigation process. This involves gathering evidence, interviewing witnesses, and identifying liable parties. For a successful case, you must establish who was at fault for the accident and name them as defendants in your lawsuit.

This can be challenging, especially when liability is shared among multiple parties. However, with the help of a car accident lawyer, the investigation process can be thorough and accurate, ensuring that all responsible parties are accountable.

Failed Insurance Settlement Negotiations

Before filing a lawsuit, you will usually attempt to settle the case through negotiations with the insurance companies of the liable parties. However, insurance companies often try to minimize settlements and may offer an amount that is far less than what you deserve.

In cases where negotiations fail, a car accident lawsuit may be necessary to obtain fair compensation. You need to have a skilled car accident lawyer on your side who can advocate for your rights and fight for the compensation you deserve, including through litigation when necessary.

You Must File a Lawsuit Within the Statute of Limitations

There is a limited time frame within which you can file a car accident lawsuit, known as the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations varies from state to state, but in general, it ranges from one to three years. For example, in Connecticut, you must file a personal injury claim within two years of the date of your injury.

Always consult a car accident lawyer as soon as possible to ensure you do not miss the deadline for filing your lawsuit. Failing to file within the statute of limitations can result in the dismissal of your case.

The Civil Lawsuit Process

If your car accident attorney cannot obtain a fair settlement offer from insurance companies or liability is in dispute, you may decide to proceed with a lawsuit. The process includes several stages and follows strict procedural rules.

Filing the Complaint

The first step in the civil lawsuit process is filing the complaint. The complaint outlines the legal claims you’re making and identifies the parties involved in the lawsuit. Always have a car accident lawyer draft and file the complaint to ensure they include all necessary elements.


After your attorney files the complaint, the discovery phase begins. This is when both parties gather evidence and exchange information relevant to the lawsuit. Discovery can involve interrogatories, depositions, and requests for documents. Always have a car accident lawyer handling the discovery process and obtaining all necessary evidence to build a strong case.

Settlement Conferences

During the civil lawsuit process, there will be additional settlement conferences where both parties attempt to reach a resolution without going to trial. These conferences may involve a neutral third party, such as a mediator. Your attorney will use the information gathered in discovery to argue for a fair out-of-court settlement, eliminating the need for a trial.

Trial and Verdict

If settlement negotiations fail, the case may proceed to trial. This is where your car accident lawyer presents evidence, witnesses testify, and lawyers persuade a judge or jury. The judge or jury then determines liability and awards damages. You want a car accident lawyer who is experienced in trial practice to effectively present your case and maximize your chances of obtaining a favorable verdict.

Most Lawsuits Settle Before Trial

While trials can obtain fair compensation, most car accident lawsuits settle before reaching trial. Settlements allow both parties to avoid the time, expense, and uncertainty of going to trial. A car accident lawyer who is a skilled negotiator can fight for a fair settlement on your behalf.

You Need a Strong Litigator Handling Your Car Accident Case

Judge with toy car and gavel on table.

A car accident lawsuit can be overwhelming, especially when faced with insurance companies and complex legal processes. That's why it is essential to have a strong litigator handling your case. A car accident lawyer with experience in litigating car accident cases can provide you with the guidance and representation you need to navigate through the legal system and obtain fair compensation. They will protect your interests and fight tirelessly to recover the compensation you deserve.

Though many car accident cases settle directly with insurance companies, there is always a chance your case might require a lawsuit. Hire a lawyer with litigation and courtroom experience, just in case.

Contact a Car Accident Attorney Today

If you've suffered injuries in a car accident, never wait to contact a car accident attorney near you as soon as possible. They can guide you through the legal process, handle all insurance negotiations, and fight for your right to fair compensation.

Don't delay; contact a personal injury attorney today for free to protect your rights and get the compensation you deserve. Consultations are free, so you have nothing to lose.