What to Expect From Car Accident Litigation

If you’ve been in a car accident and are considering taking legal action, it’s important to understand what the litigation process involves. This journey through the legal system can be daunting, but knowing what to expect can help ease your stress. This article simplifies the key phases of car accident litigation, from hiring an attorney to collecting a judgment, to help you navigate this challenging time with confidence.

1. Hiring an Attorney

The first step in car accident litigation is usually to consult with and hire a personal injury attorney. This legal expert will help you navigate the process, understand your rights, and fight for the compensation you deserve. Your attorney will evaluate the details of your case, including the accident reports, medical records, and any witness statements to determine the strength of your claim.

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2. Investigation and Gathering Evidence

Once you have legal representation, your attorney will begin a thorough investigation of your accident. This includes gathering all relevant evidence such as police reports, video footage from traffic cameras, statements from witnesses, and photos from the accident scene. Your lawyer might also hire accident reconstruction experts if the cause of the accident is unclear or disputed.

3. Filing the Lawsuit

After gathering sufficient evidence, your attorney will file a lawsuit on your behalf. This legal document, called a complaint, is filed in court and formally starts the litigation process. The complaint will outline your case against the defendant (the person or party you are suing), including the details of the accident and the damages you are seeking.

4. The Discovery Process

The discovery phase is an essential part of litigation where both parties exchange information. This might include written questions (interrogatories), requests for documents, and depositions (sworn statements taken in front of a court reporter). Discovery helps both sides prepare for trial by clarifying the facts and reducing surprises.

5. Pre-Trial Motions and Settlement Discussions

Before going to trial, there may be several pre-trial motions that can shape the course of your case. These motions might be to dismiss parts of the case, compel discovery, or decide certain legal issues in advance. Simultaneously, your attorney may engage in settlement discussions with the opposing party. Many car accident cases are settled out of court during this stage to avoid the unpredictability and expenses of a trial.

6. Trial

If a settlement isn’t reached, your case will go to trial. During the trial, both sides will present their evidence, call witnesses, and make legal arguments. The trial can be before a jury or just a judge (bench trial). The decision maker (judge or jury) will then determine whether the defendant is legally responsible for your injuries and, if so, how much they should pay in damages.

7. Verdict and Appeals

After hearing all the evidence, the judge or jury will deliver a verdict. If you win, the verdict will include the amount of compensation the defendant must pay. If the verdict is not in your favor, you have the right to appeal, a process that can extend the litigation for months or even years.

8. Collecting the Judgment

Winning a judgment is a significant achievement, but collecting the money can sometimes be challenging. If the defendant doesn’t voluntarily pay, your attorney might need to take additional steps to collect the awarded amount, such as garnishing wages or seizing assets.


Navigating through car accident litigation is a complex and demanding process that requires patience and legal expertise. By understanding each stage from hiring a competent attorney and gathering evidence, to possibly going to trial and collecting a judgment you empower yourself to make informed decisions. Remember, the primary aim of pursuing litigation is to ensure you receive fair compensation for your losses and to hold the responsible parties accountable for their actions. Check more articles on Nomadic Goals.

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