New Market, AL asked in Civil Litigation for Alabama

Q: Next Step(s) after not getting a response from the defendants? All parties served by Court. It's been 30 days.

1.Because I could not obtain legal counsel for this case and was running out of time (24 month statue of limitation), as Pro Se, my petition asked for a Bench Trial (good or not?); 2. Since it has been 30 days, after filing the Complaint and neither party has answered, even though they received the certified mail from the court, what is/are my next step(s) (petition for a Summary Judgment or Default Judgment, file for subpoenas, depositions, production of documents (like policy declarations) or something else)?;3.If a Summary or Default Judgment is granted, how do I recover damages from the at-fault driver (do I further proceed to go after her insurance company-if so, how so)?; 4.If a Summary of Default Judgement is granted, how do I recover damages from my auto insurance company?; 5.Should I respond to the at-fault driver’s insurance company latest letter (wanting to evaluate the claim-even though they already have and made an extremely low offer-I rejected it in October 2019)?

Related Topics:
1 Lawyer Answer
Christopher Belk Estes
Christopher Belk Estes
  • Mobile, AL
  • Licensed in Alabama

A: 1. Bench trial versus Jury trial - it all depends on your venue (what county you are in) and the type of claim you have. Juries are drawn from the people of the county where you filed your claim - if those residents tend to be more conservative or liberal in general, that is likely what your jury pool will reflect. However, you will get a trial date much quicker if you chose a bench trial, which means your case will be tried to the Judge (facts and law).

2. If the other parties fail to answer, you can apply to the clerk for the entry of a default judgment. If a default is entered as to liability, you really don't need the other items.

3. If a default is entered, you would then request a damage hearing before the Court. Essentially you would put on evidence of your damages, i.e. medical bills, liens, property damage, pain and suffering, etc. and request a certain amount from the Court.

4. The only way is if you have uninsured motorists coverage and the other parties are not insured or, if they have insurance and your judgment exceeds the total of their insurance, i.e. they have $25k in coverage and your judgment is $50k - you have a claim for the additional $25k against your UM policy.

5. Up to you - that is the art of negotiation! You start at one number and they start at a lower number and then you negotiate and see where it goes. They may get to a number that works for you.

Good Luck!!!

Tim Akpinar agrees with this answer

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.