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When you have been involved in a car accident, you have a claim. However, when you have claim, you do not necessarily have a lawsuit. If the claim cannot be settled without filing a lawsuit, such as when the insurance company refuses to admit fault or is not willing to pay all of the owed damages, the attorney may have to look toward filing an actual a lawsuit. When you file a lawsuit, you are starting a civil action in the court system, which places you under certain timelines, and you must comply with different types of discovery, which is information exchange. The opposing party has to abide by the same types of timelines.

Once you are in a lawsuit, you have certain stages, such as discovery, which is the information stage, and mediation, which is another attempt to settle your case. If it does not settle, you may face taking your claim to trial. Not only can the process of filing an accident claim be complicated, but legal representation is required to do so. If you are considering filing a car accident claim, contact our Durham car accident lawyers today.

Important First Steps

After a car accident in Durham, the person and their attorney will want to be very clear about the facts. They will want to review all of the witness statements that were done in the initial stages of the lawsuit, speak to the investigators to make sure the client’s facts are very solid, and make sure they have the right people named. There may be two different parties involved in just one accident. For example, there may be a driver, but the vehicle may be owned by another individual, and that individual would also need to be named in the lawsuit. Making sure that all of the administrative and investigative work has been done correctly and accurately is important, because it can be time-consuming to change once the lawsuit has been filed.

Filing a Lawsuit

Individuals file their lawsuits in Durham at the Durham County Court System, and must get an attorney to take such action.

There are three different levels of courts in which a person may file their claim, depending on the amount of money that is being sought; those are common jurisdictional levels.

  • Small claims court, if a claimant is seeking less than $10,000 to reimburse them for their claim
  • District court, if a claimant is seeking between $10,000 and $25,000
  • Durham County Superior Court, if a claimant is seeking over $25,000

After Filing an Action

After filing an action, an individual is required to continue to prosecute their case. If the person settles their case, they would end the lawsuit, but must continue and stay involved if they start a civil action.

Filing an action does not require a person to forfeit their right to negotiate outside of court. Around 90% of all cases, even cases that are filed, will be negotiated and settled outside of court. In Durham, North Carolina, claimants have a mandatory settlement conference that they must attend after they have filed their lawsuit, and that process is called mediation. Several cases settle at the mediation process.