When injured parties file car accident claims without an attorney, insurance companies may take advantage of them. Additionally, most people will not have the legal experience to fight for a fair settlement offer. If you believe your settlement offer was too low, you may be able to take your case to court. The dedicated auto wreck attorneys at The Warren Firm could guide you through the process of filing a Charlottesville car accident case and help you recover adequate compensation.

Difference Between Filing a Case and a Claim

In Charlottesville, injured parties typically file car accident claims with the at-fault driver’s insurance company before a filing a lawsuit. These claims should provide a summary of the accident explaining who is at fault and why. Additionally, a lawyer may provide the insurance company with other evidence that show the extent of the damages the injured party sustained.

In addition to this information, legal professionals often tell the insurance company how much the injured person is willing to settle the case for. The company could agree to that settlement amount or send a counteroffer.

Occasionally both parties can negotiate and resolve the claim outside of court. However, if they cannot resolve the issue, the injured party may need to file a case.

Filing a Case

Filing an auto wreck case, or lawsuit, is done in the city or county court where the accident occurred or where the defendant lives. When filing a case, the injured person should name the at-fault driver as the defendant. A person may not name an insurance company as a defendant in a car accident case. An experienced local attorney could advise injured parties on what legal action may be best for their situation.

Gathering Evidence in a Car Wreck Case

Before an attorney may file a lawsuit, he or she must gather as much evidence as possible to prove liability. This could include collecting photographs and videos of the scene, interviewing witnesses, and requesting the police accident report.

Legal professionals may also speak with the injured party’s medical provider to determine if the accident was the direct cause of his or her injuries. A car accident lawyer could include this information in the lawsuit to demonstrate the negligence of the other driver.

Filing an Auto Collison Case in Charlottesville Courts

An injured plaintiff may file his or her car accident case in a number of different courts. Because this can get confusing, injured parties should consult a lawyer in the area who could help them determine which court is best suited for their case.

General District Court

The lowest court in the state is the General District Court. Plaintiffs may file cases involving minor injuries in the court to be heard by a judge. In this court, a case may be filed for up to $25,000.

Cases in General District Court typically get to trial much quicker because the plaintiff does not have to pay a doctor to testify. Instead, the injured party’s medical records may be admitted for the judge to read. Trials in this court generally only last 30 minutes to an hour.

Circuit Court

Cases filed in Circuit Court are generally heard by a jury, which consists of seven members of the community. These jurors determine the outcome of the case.

There is no limit to the amount of money a plaintiff may file for in Circuit Court. Trial dates for these cases are generally set about a year from the filing date.

Federal District Court

If the defendant lives out-of-state, and the lawsuit is for more than $75,000, the case may be moved to Federal District Court. If the at-fault driver lives in the state but was working for an out-of-state corporation at the time of the accident, the case could also be filed in this court.

Dismissing a Lawsuit After it Has Been Filed

If the injured parties no longer wish to pursue a case, they could dismiss the case with prejudice meaning they may not bring their case back to court. Someone could also end a case by filing a nonsuit.

The state allows plaintiffs who file a nonsuit to refile their case within six months or before the statute of limitations expires, whichever is longer. If the statute of limitations passes before the nonsuit, the injured party may not add new defendants to the lawsuit. However, he or she may refile against any of the parties that were originally sued.

Contact a Charlottesville Attorney for Help Filing a Car Accident Case

Most people do not have the legal experience required to stand up to an insurance company or file a case on their own. Hiring a knowledgeable attorney could help you level the playing field when filing a Charlottesville car accident case.

A lawyer at The Warren Firm could ensure your lawsuit adheres to state regulations and addresses the losses you have incurred. If you want to get started on your case, call our office today to schedule an initial consultation.