Although lawsuits are often necessary after New Jersey car accidents so victims can recover damages, the thought of entering into litigation can deter victims from suing a negligent party. That’s why it can be helpful to learn the timeline of a car accident lawsuit so you know what to expect.
There are multiple steps in the timeline for New Jersey car accident lawsuits. First, victims should hire an attorney who will then investigate an accident. Next, victims will officially file a complaint against a negligent driver. From there, you may choose to settle out of court or proceed with a trial. Finally, if your lawsuit is successful, you will receive damages through a lump sum payment or structured payments. Each stage in the timeline can be lengthy, but every step must be executed properly for your lawsuit to be successful.
Our New Jersey attorneys are dedicated to helping injured car accident victims hold negligent drivers accountable. For a free case evaluation with the New Jersey car accident lawyers at Legal Care, call today at (732) 838-9769.
What’s the Timeline for a Car Accident Lawsuit in New Jersey?
Initially, a lawsuit may seem overwhelming to car accident victims in New Jersey. All in all, car accident lawsuits in New Jersey can take several months or even years to complete. It can be helpful to break down the timeline so victims have a better understanding of each stage in the process and know what to expect when filing a lawsuit against a negligent driver.
Hiring a Lawyer
The first step in the timeline for a New Jersey car accident lawsuit is to hire a lawyer. This can be a long process in and of itself, as it’s important for victims to hire an attorney that is capable of handling their claim and has empathy for their situation. In addition to taking time, car accident lawsuits can be emotionally draining for plaintiffs. Hiring a lawyer will help you navigate the litigation process and alleviate any unnecessary stress.
Although it’s important to act relatively quickly, as the statute of limitations to file a claim in New Jersey is just two years, victims shouldn’t rush to hire an attorney. During consultations, don’t be afraid to ask questions about a New Jersey car accident lawyer’s history and their methods. Hiring the right attorney is crucial, so take your time with this all-important step in the timeline of your New Jersey car accident lawsuit.
Investigating an Accident
After you’ve hired an attorney to represent you, your lawyer will investigate your accident and determine your claim’s validity. During this time, it’s important to provide all evidence you’ve gathered, like medical bills and lost wages, to your attorney. Your lawyer will gain access to the police report for your collision and speak to eyewitnesses. Investigating an accident can take several months or more, as it’s important to feel confident about your chances of success before officially filing a lawsuit against a negligent driver.
Filing a Claim
Once you and your attorney believe that you’ve compiled sufficient evidence and can proceed with litigation, it’s time to file a complaint against a negligent driver. This is a complicated step in the timeline of filing a lawsuit, as it requires your attorney to complete the necessary paperwork to sue a negligent driver. When filing a complaint with a New Jersey court, victims must name the defendant, explain their negligence, and outline the damages done to victims as a result of such negligence. Your experienced Jersey City car accident lawyer can help you file a thorough complaint and continue with a lawsuit against a negligent driver.
Negotiating a Settlement
In some cases, plaintiffs and defendants may forgo a trial entirely and settle out of court. A judge may order these formal sit-downs between parties to avoid the need for a trial. Negotiating settlement amounts can be challenging, especially for victims who don’t have a skilled New Jersey car accident lawyer by their side. Your attorney can represent your interests and negotiate a settlement amount that better reflects your needs after a car accident.
It’s also important to note that victims shouldn’t just accept a settlement amount just because a defendant has offered one. Generally, initial settlement offers are very low and far less than what a victim deserves. Your attorney can help you identify a low-ball settlement offer and negotiate on your behalf for greater damages. Often, negotiation is necessary, even if you choose to settle out of court.
Going to Trial
Going to trial is often one of the longest parts of a New Jersey car accident lawsuit’s timeline. Before your trial can begin, it has to reach a court docket. This can take several months in and of itself. Once a trial begins, both a plaintiff and defendant will have the opportunity to present evidence, such as witness testimony. This can take weeks or even months. Trials can be draining for victims, especially those who try to navigate trials independently, so hiring an experienced Newark car accident lawyer to guide you is crucial.
Once your New Jersey car accident lawsuit concludes, whether you choose to settle or win in court, you’ll receive your awarded damages. Depending on the agreement made by both parties, or the conditions provided by a New Jersey judge, victims may have to wait to receive their damages.
Generally, New Jersey defendants can pay damages to victims in one of two ways: through a lump sum payment or structured payments. Structured settlements allow defendants to pay victims over time, according to a predetermined schedule. Lump sum settlements require New Jersey defendants to pay the entire amount owed to victims all at once. So, depending on the settlement reached, it may be some time before receiving your total damages.
Call Our New Jersey Attorneys About Your Car Accident Lawsuit Today
If you’ve recently been injured in a car accident in New Jersey, our attorneys are here to help. For a free case evaluation with the Elizabeth car accident lawyers at Legal Care, call today at (732) 838-9769.