No two car accidents are exactly the same, but each case does follow a general line of progression. When you have a basic familiarity with this process and support from car accident lawyers in Colorado, you'll have a far easier time understanding what is going on in your case accident case and how long it might take to finish.
The accident happens
The timing of your car accident is important to your case. After you've been injured in a car crash, you only have a set amount of time to make your claim for compensation. This limit of time is known as the "statute of limitations.” In Colorado, for example, you only have three years from your accident date to file your claim. If you try to file after the applicable statute of limitations has passed, you very likely won't be able to receive any compensation.
You receive medical care
As the victim of an auto accident, you should get medical care immediately for your injuries. Your physician will evaluate your injuries and create a treatment plan. If you do not have a primary care physician, you should seek one out who can manage your treatment plan. Depending on your injuries, you may need repeated visits and even specialist care. Your treatment isn't considered complete until your doctors end it.
It's important to get medical care even if you feel okay immediately after an accident. Some injuries, including whiplash, don't immediately cause symptoms after occurring.
You hire car accident lawyers in Colorado
While you are receiving medical care, reach out to an experienced car crash attorney for help. Your attorney will begin managing your case right away so you can focus on recovery instead of fighting with an insurance company.
Assuming you are well within your applicable statute of limitations, prior to initiating any formal civil action, your attorney will want to begin negotiations with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. This is often the longest portion of a car accident case. During this phase, your attorney will do most or all of the steps below:
• Notify the insurer that you are seeking compensation for your injuries, which will give the insurer time to respond to your claim.
• Get medical records from all the medical professionals who have treated you for injuries related to this accident. Depending on your case, the attorney may also seek records that show you did not have these conditions before the accident.
• Gather your financial and employment records to show what financial losses you have related to the accident.
• Interview any witnesses to the accident.
• Take your official statement about the accident.
• Speak to your doctors about how you are recovering and what your future medical needs might be.
• Create your case to present to the insurer with a formal demand letter.
Of course, your attorney will work on many of these at the same time, but some steps will take longer to complete than others. Much of this time is spent waiting to receive documents and scheduling interview appointments.
Once your attorney has gathered all the relevant evidence and built your case, they will start negotiating with the insurer by sending a demand letter to the at-fault driver’s insurer. Your attorney will have already determined what is fair compensation in your case based on all the facts and evidence, and they will negotiate with this in mind. Ultimately, it's up to you to decide whether you want to take any settlement offered by the insurer. If you do accept a settlement, your case ends here. If not, you will have to go to file suit. Remember that filing suit does not foreclose the possibility of obtaining a settlement. In fact, the vast majority of civil actions end with a settlement rather than a verdict.
The lawsuit begins
Should negotiations fail, your attorney will file a lawsuit against the insurer on your behalf. This can extend the length of the process, and you may have to participate in a deposition and—eventually—appear in court. Be sure to maintain communication with your attorney to keep up on the status of your case. It is difficult to predict the length of time a lawsuit can take until settlement or judgment. The best source for such an estimate will be your attorney, who will consider the unique facts and circumstances of your case in providing a projection.
Please be advised that this is provided for general information purposes only. No attorney-client relationship is formed by the provision of this information. The best resource for information about your case is consulting an attorney.