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The Car Accident Case: Lawsuit Process Basics

We are pleased to provide the following information (which we provide to our clients), which hopefully will be of some use to persons, or family members, who are involved in a motor vehicle accident, if litigation of their claim becomes necessary, which is sometimes the case.

  • SUMMONS – The summons gives notice to the people we sue (the defendant) that you (the plaintiff) are making a legal claim against them.
  • COMPLAINT – The “Complaint” says, in a general way, how the accident happened, who was involved and where and when it happened.
  • SUING ON BEHALF OF YOUR SPOUSE – If you are married and were living with your spouse at the time of the accident, we will include a claim for your spouse, if you agree to this. This claim asks for damages that your spouse suffered as a result of your injury. Your spouse may be entitled to money damages for the loss of love, companionship, affection and sexual relations that result from your injury.
  • ANSWER – The defendant’s insurance company will hire a lawyer for the defendant and will respond to the Complaint with an “Answer.” In response to the claims made in the Complaint, the defendant’s Answer may admit some facts and deny some facts.
  • BILL OF PARTICULARS – After we receive the defendant’s Answer, we provide to the defendant’s lawyer a document called the “Bill of Particulars.” This describes in more detail how the accident happened; the injuries you sustained in the accident; which doctors have been treating you and what their findings are; what your occupation was; how long you were disabled from work; wages you lost; how much money your medical treatment has cost; and any other critical information related to your claim.
  • EXAMINATION BEFORE TRIAL – At an “examination before trial” (EBT) or “deposition,” you will be asked questions, under oath, by the defendant’s insurance company lawyer. You will have a lawyer from AMT Law by your side. The defendant’s lawyer can ask only relevant questions about the accident and your injuries. Your lawyer will ask the defendant questions, under oath, about how the accident occurred. The EBT is usually held at our office or the defense attorney’s office.
  • ADJOURNMENTS OF EBTS – Please expect your EBT to be adjourned at least once. Unfortunately, we cannot ask a judge for help in scheduling the EBT until the defendant has adjourned it twice. Therefore, we will schedule your EBT, but the defendant’s attorney may cancel it with short notice.
  • MEDICAL EXAM – The defendant’s insurance company is permitted to hire a doctor, for purposes of trial, to examine you. This is called the “independent medical examination” or “IME.” However, there is nothing independent about it. It is separate from the No-Fault or workers’ compensation IME. The insurance doctor’s purpose is to state for the defendant what injuries you sustained. Frequently, these doctors minimize your injuries. You must attend these exams. Your failure to attend can result in the judge dismissing your case. We will rely upon your treating doctor to testify as to the true severity of your injuries.
  • TRIAL – Less than 10% of our cases proceed through trial and are decided by a jury. However, we prepare every case as if it is going to be tried. If your case is lost, you will not be charged for legal services.

While your attorney does not have complete control over the length of time that it takes to bring your case to trial, should it not settle, the typical motor vehicle accident case is resolved within 6 months to a year after you have finished treating for your injuries. If a fair settlement offer is made along the way, your attorney will discuss it with you and hopefully a reasonable settlement can be achieved. If not, the lawsuit will result in a trial.

If you are injured in a car accident in the Albany or Saratoga Springs region, contact us for a free consultation.

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Record-Setting Settlements and Verdicts

  • $15.8 Million Verdict In A Premises Liability Case

    Troy, New York – A Rensselaer County jury awarded 15.8 million to a young woman who was permanently injured at a local college

  • $4.8 Million Verdict In A Defective Product Case

    Albany, New York – A jury awarded almost $5 million to a printing press operator who sustained a serious hand injury in an on-the-job accident.

  • $4.2 Million Settlement From A Medical Negligence Case

    Warren County, New York – Settlement for the failure to timely diagnose spinal fracture.

  • $1.0 Million Verdict In A Bus Accident Case

    Bronx, New York – A jury awarded $1.0 million to a man seriously injured in a bus accident.

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