After an auto accident, you will want to gather a lot of evidence to support your case. Then, you'll reach the point where you and your auto accident lawyer will need to determine if you should file a lawsuit or if you should settle out of court. You'll want to understand the timeline of an auto accident lawsuit so you can determine the best approach to take.

The Settlement

Your first step is to pursue a settlement. First, you and your auto accident lawyer will need to calculate how much your settlement should be worth. This will allow you to avoid accepting a settlement that is too low. Then, you should write a demand letter to the insurance provider of the negligent driver.

Make sure that you demand a settlement that is reasonable but on the high end so you have room to negotiate. You'll want to consider factors such as the pain and suffering you have experienced and any other losses. However, even if your settlement is very reasonable, the insurance provider may never offer you an acceptable settlement and your auto accident lawyer may recommend that you file a lawsuit.

The Lawsuit

Most insurance providers prefer to settle your case out of court but you may occasionally encounter an insurance adjuster who wants to make a name for himself. Your auto accident lawyer will help you through the process of filing the lawsuit. 

Once you have filed the lawsuit, you will begin the discovery process. With discovery, both you and the other party will attempt to determine whether the claims that both parties have made are credible. You will need to gather evidence to prove your case. You will need help from a lawyer because there is some evidence that only a lawyer can obtain.


After filing a lawsuit, the insurance provider might be intimidated into reaching a settlement. One way they may attempt to reach a settlement is through a mediation service. This is a private, third-party service that will involve negotiations to get the compensation you deserve.

The Trial

If you are not able to reach a settlement and decide to go to trial, your auto accident lawyer will represent you in trial. The downside of your case going to trial is that you may not receive anything if you lose. However, if you win your case, you may also be entitled to compensation for court fees and you may be awarded punitive damages.