After being involved in a wreck, litigation might be the last thing on your mind. However, filing a car accident claim in Chesterfield could be the first step toward financial recovery after suffering harm in a collision.
If you were hurt in a vehicle crash caused by another person’s negligent conduct, you should consider speaking with a local injury attorney. Seasoned lawyers could review your case and determine whether you have grounds for financial recourse.
It is a common misconception that filing a civil claim is the same thing as filing a lawsuit. However, these are two completely different actions. When a person files a car accident claim, an experienced local attorney would open it up with the defendant driver’s insurance company. In other words, a lawyer begins negotiations with insurers on a fair settlement award.
People who choose to file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance, or sometimes their own insurance, generally can only recover up to the policy limit. If this limit is not enough to cover the injured party’s damages, an attorney may suggest filing a suit to take the case to trial. This option is often more expensive and time consuming but does have the chance of a higher damage award.
The process of making a claim in court is similar to making a claim outside of court. To begin, the injured party must prove that the defendant driver was negligent and therefore liable for the resulting damages. Establishing defendant liability for a local auto collision is often easier with guidance from a seasoned lawyer.
Once it is established that the other driver was negligent, the claimant must then prove that they have damages and therefore entitled to financial compensation. Damages could include monetary losses resulting from missed time at work, property damage, and medical bills, as well as human losses such as pain and suffering. In some cases, hiring expert witnesses may be necessary.
There are a lot of things that go into proving a car crash case once it is filed in court. Therefore, it is advisable to obtain legal representation early to ensure all these requirements are met.
As previously discussed, when a person files a vehicle accident claim in Chesterfield, they will be negotiating with an insurance adjuster to reach a settlement. However, once they choose to file a lawsuit, that adjuster is typically no longer allowed to communicate with the plaintiff’s attorney.
Notably, just because a suit is filed, that does not necessarily mean the vehicle wreck case will go to trial. Most cases end up settling even when a lawsuit is filed. This can occur at any point during the litigation process.
When filing a claim in Missouri, a case can either go to state or federal court. This depends on where exactly the vehicle wreck occurred and where the parties involved live. If a car crash occurs in Chesterfield, and both parties are from the area, the case will likely be filed with the local court.
On the other hand, if the defendant driver was from out of state, there may be diversity of jurisdiction. In such cases, the claim may have to be filed in federal court. These courts have much more rigid discovery guidelines and requirements, making these cases especially complex.
Filing a car accident claim does not necessarily mean you will have to go through the challenge of trial, but it does mean you will have a chance at legal recourse. By working with a well-practiced attorney, you could feel confident that your case is in good hands.
If you are interested in filing a civil claim, contact our office today and schedule a consultation. We look forward to speaking with you.