Auto accidents continue to rise as the number of vehicles increase on the roads. According to the Insurance Information Institute (III) there was a 7.2% increase in the number of car accidents in 2015, which was the highest in almost 50 years.
For the most part, if you are involved in a Connecticut accident and merely wish to file a claim for damages to your car, you are in effect asking the other driver for the cost of having your car repaired or to recompense you for the car’s “actual cash value.”
This process takes less time than if a personal injury claim is involved, according to tremendous accident lawyers in Bridgeport, CT who can be found on the fascinating and very practical website USAttorneys.com. However, there are a few factors that determine how soon an auto accident claim can get resolved.
Settlement of claim before filing a lawsuit
Most car accident claims are resolved via the insurance process without the need for any legal claim to be filed. This becomes easy if all the parties involved such as the drivers and their insurance companies agree on the following points:
- Determining who was at fault
- The degree of vehicle damage
- The expense of getting the car fixed
- “Actual cash value” of your car declared as “total loss”
If the parties resolve the case early, you can avoid possibly touchy issues such as whether the car had a pre-existing damage, which the car accident merely worsened.
However, Connecticut accident attorneys point out that if the at-fault driver doesn’t have sufficient insurance coverage, it might prolong the resolution process. If the concerned parties fail to reach an amicable agreement and the claim goes to court, it will most likely be in the small claims court.
Discovery and motions
If a lawsuit is filed in court the contending parties are subject to specific timelines for collecting data that serves as evidence at the trial. This is termed the “discovery” phase since it also includes testimony under oath from the concerned parties as well as witnesses, and an exchange of written questions along with answers.
During this particular phase contentious issues concerning how the auto accident occurred and the extent and nature of the damage caused are highlighted. The discovery phase can last for 6 months to a year after the lawsuit is filed, according to Bridgeport, CT accident lawyers.
Soon after the discovery phase, the courts, in general, schedule the concerned parties for an ADR or “alternative dispute resolution”, which is typically mediation in order to encourage them to arrive at a resolution with the assistance of a neutral third party. The process can last for anything from a few hours or couple of days.
The bad news for the people in this small northeastern state is that traffic fatalities actually increased from 2014 to 2015 with the numbers being 248 and 266, respectively, according to the NHTSA. The good news is, is that this number is still much less than the 320 deaths recorded in 2010 which apparently was an ugly year in terms of driving safety for people in Connecticut.
Small claims court and civil trials
If the mediation is unsuccessful, the claim will end up in a small claims court, where the case will continue at a quicker pace as compared to the usual civil lawsuits. Usually the parties argue their part of the civil case to a sitting judge without a jury.
The judge will weigh the proof, and then make a ruling on the same day. In view of the facts described above, it is prudent to seek help from a salient Connecticut accident lawyer to assist with every aspect of your case.