What are the Steps to File a Lawsuit After a Car Accident?

If you cannot reach a fair settlement when claiming compensation, you can take the driver who was at fault to court and file a lawsuit against him. Filing a lawsuit is easier said than done. Deciding to take legal action against any person needs a lot of time, effort, preparations, and perseverance to see through its logical outcome. This lawsuit is filed in civil court. The person who wishes to file a lawsuit tries to recover damages and expenses incurred due to injuries, loss of work, and more options. These damages are claimed from the defendant or the person being sued. If you have decided to go the legal route, it is imperative to consult Dennis Hernandez.

Steps to File a Legal Suit

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Here are the steps to be followed when filing a case after being involved in a car accident.

Complaint Filing-

The first step in going legal is to file a complaint against the person at fault in the car accident. The attorney will help you get the petition ready for filing in court. This petition will have pertinent details of the case, including the legal reasons behind the lawsuit, claimed damages, detailed explanation of how the accident occurred, and more. Once the complaint is filed, the lawsuit starts its journey in the hollows of the legal system. The complaint is also served to the defendant.


As per America’s legal system, it is necessary to notify the person or serve the person with the complaint. The law clearly states that the person who the state is imparting punishment must be informed about the charges levied on him. The defendant must get a chance to defend himself in court. It is thus mandatory to serve a notice along with a summon and complaint copy. Once served, the person can hire a lawyer and build a case to defend himself.

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Certain rules determine who can serve a complaint, how a complaint will be served, and who will serve it. Such rules can differ from one jurisdiction to another. However, generally, a plaintiff is given thirty days for serving the person against whom the case is filed.

  • Reply by the defendant

After these proceedings have been undertaken, the defendant has to reply to the notice. He/she can respond to the query of the plaintiff by either accepting or refusing the allegations levied. In the case the plaintiff refutes all the charges against him, the case may proceed further. The allegations need to be factually and denied. A lawyer can be hired to give a sound reply to the allegations in the notice.

  • The discovery process

The next stage of the proceedings is the discovery process, wherein any information unearthed by the lawyers of either party needs to be transparently exchanged. Evidence collected by the investigators of both parties needs to be exchanged so that both, the plaintiff and defendant, can analyze the facts. It helps them to prepare their case. The discovery process also includes depositions where oral statements of the witnesses are taken and recorded. This time is also used to ask for documents from related authorities, gather evidence, and ask for replies to written queries.

  • Trial

As soon as the information exchange and the remaining proceedings are complete, the case is ready for trial. The Tampa car accident lawyer starts the trial with an opening statement and then presenting witnesses. It helps them to present the evidence they have collected in the form of oral testimony and documents. The defendant’s lawyer cross-examines the witness of the plaintiff.

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Is settling the case a prudent idea instead of going to court?

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It is not unusual to rethink your stance and consider an out-of-court settlement instead of going to court. Here is the overview of how and why choosing this option may work out for you if you are planning to do so.

Benefits of Settlement

It is not unusual for many people to settle the car accident claim outside court instead of filing a lawsuit. Some of the benefits of this decision are-

  • It helps to avoid paying hefty fees charged by the attorneys.
  • It helps to receive a compensation letter.
  • It helps to avoid appearing in diverse course proceedings like a hearing, depositions, trial, etc.
  • It also helps in avoiding unstable and uncertain jury decisions.

Before proceeding with the settlement, it is recommended to make an introspection. Weigh the pros and cons and see if the chances of winning the case are high or the case can go the other way too. If you think that settling the case has more merit, go for this decision.

Begin Negotiations With A Demand Letter

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Negotiation of case settlement begins with giving a demand letter to the concerned parties. It is the regular and standard process of claim settlement before filing a lawsuit. Before taking this step, it is important to collect evidence and start preparations by talking to the witnesses. It helps to start the case on a sure footing.

In case the victim has undergone medical treatment, arrange to get all pertinent documents related to the medical examination and treatment gathered and collated from the service provider. It is a time-consuming activity. Many medical service providers also charge a fee to part with these documents. It is also important to get employment records collected if the victim has missed work, lost a job, or cannot work regular hours due to the injuries sustained in the accident.

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After all these documents are collected in one place, use the information and data available to draft a precise demand letter. When writing this letter, jot down pertinent dates and chronologically record corresponding details. The accident must be explained in detail. Also, touch upon the extent of injuries sustained due to this mishappening. Mention the accurate amount spend so far on medical treatment. Medical records can also be attached with the letter to show the factual information. Once it is ready, please mail it to the wrongdoer, the defendant’s attorney, and the defendant’s insurance company. After receiving the letter, the talk for out-of-the-court settlement begins. If succeeded in this endeavor, a court case is avoided.