How to File a Car Accident Lawsuit

November 15, 2022

Vision Zero Boston has committed to eliminating fatal and serious traffic crashes in the city by 2030, using the city’s resources and proven strategies.

Eliminating all serious crashes is a tall order. Until this dream becomes a reality, it’s important to know what to do if you are in a car accident.

Keep reading to learn how to file a car accident lawsuit.

Lawsuit vs. Claim: Know the Difference

Before you file a car accident lawsuit, it’s important to know the difference between a lawsuit and an insurance claim. Often, you’re trying to recover compensation for damages and injuries from both.

A car accident lawsuit is a formal legal action that is taken to civil court. A car accident insurance claim refers to contacting an insurance company to collect benefits under an auto insurance policy.

File a Complaint

Most lawsuits begin when the plaintiff (the person filing the lawsuit) files a complaint, otherwise known as a petition.

A complaint is a document consisting of numbered paragraphs that detail what happened, the claimed damages, and the legal basis for bringing the lawsuit.

Once the complaint gets filed, the lawsuit has officially started.

Serve the Complaint

The legal system requires that the subject of a legal proceeding is provided with the formal complaint.

Informing the defendant that a lawsuit has been filed means you are “serving” them with a copy of the petition and summoning them to court.

There are rules regarding who can serve the complaint and when it must be served. The rules vary based on the jurisdiction, but the plaintiff usually has around 30 days to serve the defendant.

The defendant will respond to the petition by admitting or denying the allegations against them.

Discovery Process

During the discovery process, both parties will exchange information relevant to uncovering evidence from the car accident. The discovery process can include the following:

  • Interrogatories (written questions)
  • Depositions (oral statements made under oath)
  • Requests for the production of documents

Each side has an opportunity to see the facts and plan their side of the case.

Car Accident Lawsuit Trial

When you file a lawsuit, you aren’t automatically ruling out the possibility of a settlement. However, if your case goes all the way to trial, a car accident lawyer will represent you.

Each side will make opening statements and present evidence of the car accident using documents and oral testimonies. A car accident attorney may cross-examine witnesses while presenting the defense.

With all of the witness information wrapped up, closing statements are made. The judge or jury will deliberate and reach a verdict based on the evidence presented.

Do You Need a Car Accident Lawyer?

It’s possible to file a car accident lawsuit without a lawyer, but it’s never recommended to represent yourself. Even if you know the ins and outs of the law, or have legal experience, hiring a car accident attorney will benefit you.

If you’ve been in a car accident in Boston, and have had no luck with a settlement, consider filing a car accident lawsuit.

Contact Michael D. Kelly today to get started on your case.

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Michael D. Kelly has a diverse background that provides a breadth of legal knowledge that he draws upon in serving his clients. Kelly compiled an excellent academic record during his three years at New England Law in Boston.