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One of the first and most important steps to take after having been involved in a pedestrian accident is to promptly file an insurance claim with the responsible insurance company.

Even more important, and preferably prior to filing a personal injury claim, is the act of contacting a Greenville pedestrian accident lawyer. Such an attorney will be qualified to guide and advise you throughout the often complex and intimidating process of paperwork and fending off aggressive insurance companies working to prevent you from recovering in full.

Steps to Take Before Filing

Before filing the case, it is important to thoroughly investigate the accident, document damages, and be prepared to go to court. As soon as possible after the accident, it is essential to take pictures of everything possible, gather the contact information of any possible witnesses, and exchange insurance information with all other parties involved in the event. The key is to gather as much information as soon as possible, before it dissipates. If it turns out that some of it is irrelevant later on in the case, that is a much better problem to have than having too little information.

When to File

The likelihood of success is always one of the most important considerations in whether to file a case. One of the biggest factors in that determination involves identifying whether and how likely it is that a contributory negligence defense will be brought up in mediation or in court.

Once the decision has been made to file, it is important to do so as soon as possible. The sooner the case is opened, the sooner it can be resolved. In addition, it is important to submit all necessary documentation to the court before the statute of limitations runs out and the entire case is moot.

Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations when it comes to filing a pedestrian accident case in Greenville is three years. That means that, once this amount of time has passed, a plaintiff cannot present a case regarding the event, regardless of the circumstances. This stands even if the circumstances include previously unknown consequences of the accident, such as latent muscle pain.

Where to File

As far as where the filing will be submitted and reviewed, a pedestrian accident in North Carolina case would be unlikely to be filed in federal court. Ultimately, the amount of money sought in damages would determine whether the case is to be filed in District Court or the Superior Court in North Carolina. An attorney can help with this determination, as it involves input from multiple sources and is dependent on the details of each case.

Reaching An Agreement

Mediation is a required process after a lawsuit has been filed. Essentially, it is an opportunity for all parties to sit down together and work toward an agreement. The ultimate goal is to attempt to settle the case outside of court, without ever having to go through the hassle and risk of going to trial. Costs of mediation are split between the parties and vary depending on who the mediator is and in which County.

In the process of mediation, the mediator is either an attorney or retired judge. Said individual will be selected by both the insurance company and the pedestrian filing the lawsuit. Mediation can often be a desirable option for one or both parties involved, as going to trial can be time consuming and expensive.

Another reason a mediation may be preferable to a courtroom resolution is that, especially in North Carolina, there is always a risk with contributory negligence of getting a zero verdict. A mediation is an opportunity to explore settlement, which may be better for the client than risking trial and the possibility of receiving a zero verdict.

It is important to note that this process, though desirable, does not always work. However, if the case cannot be settled and does wind up going to court, the process of having learned about each side’s position can often help lead to a later settlement.

Additional Benefits of Mediation

Mediation is an opportunity for parties to explore settlement, and that is an opportunity to control the outcome of the case. When a case goes to a jury trial, both parties lose the opportunity to control the outcome. In addition, trial moves control over the outcome out of the hands of the main players, and into the hands of a third party–the judge or jury–who may or may not see the circumstances and events of the case in the same light as each party would prefer.

How An Attorney Can Help

Due to the importance of their case, it is in the best interest of the person filing the case to work with an experienced attorney. Much like a person does not want an airplane pilot who has never flown a plane. A pedestrian accident lawyer will be in the optimal position to advise the injured party regarding what to expect, and explain what can and cannot be accomplished through mediation and trial.