You have been injured in a car accident, and you know you need to do something to collect the money you need to pay for your injuries. Simply hitting up the insurance company with a claim probably won’t get the job done.
So, what happens now?
A car accident lawsuit can be a long haul. If you have suffered serious injuries, it’s worth it. Most car accident lawsuits do not go all the way to trial. Instead, they are resolved with a settlement which can happen at any time during the process.
Stages of a Louisiana Car Accident Lawsuit
The basic stages of a Louisiana car accident lawsuit are as follows:
- File the lawsuit – this must be done before the statute of limitations expires or you lose your right to sue, no matter how much you deserve to win. In Louisiana, you have one year after your accident to file.
- Defendant responds with their answer, which can include a counterclaim and cross-claims. A counterclaim is their claim against you, stating that you were responsible for or contributed to the accident and your injuries. Cross-claims are claims against others.
- Preliminary motions – typically, the defendant will file motions such as for change of venue and usually a motion to dismiss. A motion to dismiss is often filed on procedural grounds. This is one of the many reasons you need an experienced car accident attorney.
- Mediation – you may or may not go to mediation, which is a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) and can help you reach a settlement agreement without having to go to trial.
- Discovery – discovery is the process of investigation and gathering evidence. It can include depositions and is also the phase during which attorneys from both sides request documents from each other.
- Motion for summary judgement – If the facts are not in dispute, either side can file a motion for summary judgement requesting that the judge makes a decision based on the evidence rather than taking the case further through trial.
- Trial – your trial may be before a judge alone or before judge and jury.
Again, it is important to keep in mind that car accident lawsuits rarely make it through all of these stages and are usually resolved with a settlement. However, if a fair settlement agreement cannot be reached, Stag Liuzza is always prepared to take your case all the way through trial. To learn more call us at 504-593-9600 or email us and schedule your free consultation.