Atlanta's car accident attorney, Nathan Fitzpatrick, is a leading Atlanta personal injury lawyer. Specializing in motor vehicle accidents and car crashes, he's a trusted auto accident lawyer among Atlanta car accident lawyers.

What Is A Car Accident Lawsuit Process Like?

accident settlement process

If you have been injured in a car accident, you may be wondering what the next steps are. The car accident lawsuit process can be complicated and time-consuming, but it is important to understand your rights and options. In this blog post, we will outline the steps of a typical car accident lawsuit and explain what you can expect during each stage. Keep in mind that every case is different, so if you have specific questions about your own situation, please contact a car accident attorney for advice. 

Depending on the circumstances following your accident, there are many factors involved when you're talking about a car accident settlement. When you're in an auto accident, you have to consider the accident report, injuries, claims, medical bills, and more.

These include:

Let's get started so you can know what to expect when it comes to car accidents.

What to do if you're in a car accident

If you're in an accident, you'll want to call the police, even if you think the accident is minor. A police report needs to be filled out and you'll want to receive medical treatment if needed. A police report is needed when you file a claim with your insurance company. You'll also want to make sure receive the proper medical attention.

As long as everyone is coherent and able, you'll want to exchange information with the other driver. You'll want to have the following information from all other parties involved:

  • Full name and contact information
  • Insurance company and policy number
  • Driver's license and license plate number
  • Type, color, and model of vehicle
  • Accident location

You'll want to notify your insurance company of the accident. When you report the accident, you don't want to admit any fault or agree to any car accident settlement before talking to a lawyer. Some insurance companies may ask questions about the case that you won't want to answer without having an attorney on your side.

Once you contact a personal injury lawyer, they will review your police report and go through the necessary steps to file a claim. Be sure to save any receipts from medical bills and be prepared to access any medical records pertaining to the accident. These will be important if you are seeking compensation for medical expenses or believe you will need future medical care due to your accident.

The car accident lawsuit process in Georgia

If you are filing a car accident claim in Georgia, it's important to know the car accident settlement process and how long each step typically takes.

Under Georgia law, anyone involved in a car accident is required to file a police report if there are any injuries involved. If there is property damage that exceeds $500, a report is also necessary. Even if you are unsure about injuries or damage, it's always a good idea to call the police to make sure you have documentation of the accident.

If you've been involved in a car accident and have decided to file a lawsuit, there are several steps you can expect the process to take.

1. Filing the Complaint

The first step in filing a lawsuit is to file a complaint, or petition, with the court. The complaint will state your legal claims against the other driver, such as negligence or recklessness. It will also request specific relief, such as compensation for your medical bills or damage to your vehicle.

2. Serving the Other Driver

Once you have filed your complaint, you will need to serve the other driver with a copy of it. This is typically done by having a process server hand-deliver the complaint to the other driver.

3. The Other Driver's Response

After being served with the complaint, the other driver will have a certain amount of time to respond. The response will typically either be an answer to the complaint or a motion to dismiss the case.

4. Discovery

Once the other driver has filed a response, the next step is discovery. During discovery, both sides will have an opportunity to obtain evidence from the other side through methods such as depositions and document requests.

5. Pretrial Motions

After discovery is complete, either party may file pretrial motions with the court. These motions can ask the court to make certain rulings, such as whether certain evidence will be admissible at trial.

6. Trial

If the case does not settle during discovery or after pretrial motions are decided, it will go to trial. At trial, each side will present its evidence and arguments to the jury, and the jury will decide which party should prevail.

7. Appeal

If either party is unhappy with the result of the trial, they may file an appeal with a higher court.

When should I file my auto accident lawsuit?

If you are planning to file a lawsuit for car accidents in Georgia, you have two years from the date of the car accident. Personal injury lawyers, such as those at The Fitzpatrick Firm, can help to make sure you are filing your paperwork on time and properly. You'll want to contact a lawyer as soon as possible to get the process going.

How long does the process take?

When people are filing a claim, many want to know how long the car accident settlement process takes. Since all car accident cases are different, the exact time will differ, but we can give you typical estimates of what to expect when waiting for a car accident settlement.

How long does a police report take?

An accident report in Georgia is typically available within 5-7 business days after an accident. The reports are available at the police department once they are complete.

How long does it take to negotiate a car accident settlement?

When parties are unable to reach an agreement through negotiation, litigation may be the next step.

A lawsuit can take anywhere from months to years to settle. The amount of time it takes to negotiate a settlement depends on a number of factors, including the severity of the injuries, the insurance coverage, the jurisdiction, and whether the case goes to trial.

In some cases, negotiation may not be possible and the parties will have to go to trial. A trial can take months or even years to complete.

How much does it cost to file a car accident lawsuit?

There is no set fee for filing a car accident lawsuit. The cost will depend on the lawyer you hire, the severity of the case, and whether it goes to trial. Many personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis, which means they will not charge you anything unless they win your case.

How does the settlement claim process work?

Once your lawyer has filed your complaint, the defendants are "served" A negligence claim is typically included in the complaint when a car accident is involved.

A representative for the defendant will either accept or deny the allegations in the complaint. This is when the discovery phase of the lawsuit begins. Your lawyer will request information such as medical bills, the police report, and any other documents pertaining to your case.

What happens during the discovery phase?

During this phase, testimony from both drivers is typically taken to get both sides of the case. Once all of the information has been gathered and exchanged in the discovery phase, your attorney may draft a letter to restate the defendant's liability in the accident, details injuries and property damage and any other damages that must be compensated.

Any formal negotiations of the settlement process typically won't start until the client has reached the point where they will no longer benefit from medical treatment. This is done to capture the full picture of the injury claim.

What happens when negotiations don't go well?

When both lawyers begin to discuss a possible settlement and an agreement can not be reached, a mediator may step in. Mediation can be a helpful tool for both parties to come to an agreement. If mediation fails, then the case will go to trial.

How much is your car accident case worth?

The exact dollar amount will vary from case to case. To determine how much your car accident case is worth you'll want to take into consideration:

These are the typical things that are looked at in car accident claims. Your legal professional will be able to give you a better idea once they consider all of the factors of your particular case.

What is the average settlement for a minor car accident?

It is difficult to give an average settlement for a minor car accident lawsuit because injuries affect each person differently. When you work with an attorney from The Fitzpatrick Firm, we can give you a better estimate on your settlement amount and when you may be able to expect a settlement check.

What is the average settlement for a car accident with a serious injury?

The answer depends on a number of factors, including the severity of the injuries, the amount of property damage, and the jurisdiction in which the accident occurred.

In general, car accident settlements in Atlanta tend to be higher than the national average.

This is due in part to the high cost of living in Atlanta, as well as the city's large number of car accidents each year.

When you work with The Fitzpatrick Firm, we will take all of these factors into account to help you get the best possible settlement for your car accident.

What is the average settlement for a car accident with a death?

The answer to this question will depend on a number of factors, including the circumstances of the accident, the jurisdiction in which it occurred, and whether the case goes to trial.

In general, settlements in car accident cases involving death are higher than those in cases where there are only injuries.

This is because wrongful death claims typically involve more damages than personal injury claims.

When to hire a car accident lawyer

If you've been in a car accident, you may be wondering if you need to hire a car accident lawyer. The answer depends on a number of factors, including the severity of the accident and the state in which it occurred.

In Georgia, car accident lawsuits must be filed within a certain time frame, so it's important to act quickly.

Additionally, if the other driver was at fault and you intend to file a lawsuit, you'll need to prove that they were negligent. A car accident lawyer can help you gather evidence and build a strong case.

If your injuries are significant or you're facing costly repairs, you may also want to seek compensation for pain and suffering.

Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to file a personal injury lawsuit is up to you. However, if you're considering legal action, it's worth speaking to an attorney to learn more about your rights and options.

Don't Fight The Insurance Company Alone

After a car accident, you may be tempted to forego hiring an attorney and try to settle your case with the insurance company on your own.

However, this is generally not a good idea. Insurance companies are in the business of making money, and they will often try to minimize the amount they pay out on claims.

An experienced car accident attorney will know how to negotiate with the insurance companies and fight for your deserved compensation.

In addition, if your case ends up going to trial, you will need an attorney to represent you.

Trust Atlanta’s Most Experienced Car Accident Attorney

At The Fitzpatrick Firm, we won't let you fight the insurance companies alone. You can contact us for a free legal consultation so that we can review your case. When you are the injured party in an accident, you want to have an attorney on your side who understands your case and will represent you in the lawsuit and settlement process.

When it comes to car accidents, more people trust us to settle their claims and get them the compensation they deserve. If you are looking for a passionate lawyer who will fight for your case and file your lawsuit, call The Fitzpatrick Firm today at  (678) 607-5550 or fill out the form to schedule your free consultation.

We can provide you with a free case evaluation so you can have a better idea of the average time for your type of case as well as what you can expect in terms of reaching a settlement. Discover why so many people trust us when it comes to car accident cases

Contact Us