Filing a civil claim means filing a lawsuit either in state or federal court. Taking this step typically means that negotiations have broken down with the at-fault party, which is the same person who will be taken to court. A jury or judge would then decide who is at fault and what the value of the claim is.
When filing a Tulsa car accident case, it is often important to have guidance and support from experienced legal counsel. A qualified car crash lawyer could ensure you follow all applicable regulations for filing and help you pursue a positive outcome from start to finish.
The process of filing a claim takes place in state court. The injured driver files a petition that outlines jurisdiction and why the court that they are filing the petition in has jurisdiction. Petitions should also include factual information regarding what exactly happened, support for the injured driver’s allegation of liability, and what damages the injured driver has sustained.
In federal court, a complaint may be filed instead, but in both instances, claims are filed with a court clerk and filing fees must be paid in order to initiate a lawsuit. In Oklahoma federal and state court, initial filings should also include a notice pleading, which is a concise statement of the claim’s validity. Notice pleadings do not have to provide any details or prove liability, but they must inform the defendant of the basis of the claim.
Before filing an action following a car accident in Tulsa, the plaintiff and their attorney should evaluate and investigate the claim to ensure that they have all the facts. They might retain a private investigator or request a copy of the police report to understand what happened, determine whether or not the claim is viable, and gather evidence. An attorney might also contact the insurance carrier to find out how much insurance is available to pay for the plaintiff’s damages or injuries, negotiate, and attempt to settle the case.
Once the petition is filed, the plaintiff is not required to continue suing the defendant. They can always dismiss the case, though doing so is not a common practice outside of a settlement. If they fail to negotiate a settlement with the insurance carrier before filing a claim, those negotiations can continue even after filing.
The investigation into the claim can also continue after filing, which may bring new facts to light that may lead the plaintiff to rethink the claim’s validity and dismiss it either with or without prejudice. Dismissing with prejudice means that the claim is barred forever and it cannot be filed again, while dismissing without prejudice means that they could refile the case within the statute of limitations, or within technical limitations from a savings clause, if additional facts came to light.
Filing a claim for a Tulsa car accident does not forfeit either party’s right to negotiate a settlement outside of court. The primary difference between negotiating before filing a claim or after a claim is who the plaintiff’s attorney is negotiating with.
Before the claim is filed, an insurance adjuster may handle negotiations in an effort to agree on what the claim is worth. After filing a claim, the petition and lawsuit would likely be forwarded to an attorney who has been appointed to defend the at-fault insurance company and negotiate on its behalf. Whether the plaintiff’s attorney communicates with an insurance adjuster or fellow attorney, they can continue to negotiate regardless of the case’s status.
It is often important to retain experienced legal counsel when filing a Tulsa car accident case, because while car accidents are common, the legal processes surrounding them are complex. Insurance companies that pay accident claims and damages know that the average person will probably be unable to properly file and manage a case because of the numerous hurdles that litigants must overcome, so they may not value the claim like they would with an attorney.
Without the help of a skilled personal injury lawyer, individuals risk communicating with insurance companies in such a way that their damages are mitigated entirely or severely reduced. Call today to explore how one could help with your particular case.