A lot of people learn what they know about the law from watching television. When they hear that somebody had to file a car accident lawsuit, they assume that the person had to go to court. Do I have to go to court for a car accident? The truth is that less than 5% of car accident cases ever see the inside of a courtroom. Now, that doesn't mean you won't have to file legal action. It just means that chances are, you'll never have to physically go to court. Chances are, you won't even have to file any motions. In the rare instances when you do have to go to court, your car accident lawyer will be right there by your side..
The truth of the matter is that almost all car accident lawsuits are settled long before trial. Your car accident lawyer will negotiate a settlement with the insurance company or the defendant's attorney. It may take months for this to happen. You probably won't get as much money as you had hoped. However, you also won't have to worry about losing if you do go to trial. There's never a guarantee that the judge will see things your way. A fair settlement may be your best option. This way, you can settle for enough to cover your damages and get the compensation you deserve. The only way to know for sure is to talk to a qualified car accident attorney as soon as possible after your crash.
The Insurance Company May Pay Your Claim
After typical car accidents, accident victims have to file an auto insurance claim. If the other driver caused the crash, then you'll file a claim against his policy. If, however, the crash was your fault, then you'll need to file a first-party claim. If it was clear who caused the accident, there's a good chance the insurance company will pay your claim. If this is the case, there would be no need to go to court. In fact, there would be no need to file any sort of legal action.
Of course, there are times when insurance adjusters deny your accident claim. They could do this for a variety of reasons, including:
- They believe you're at fault
- They do not believe you suffered any significant injuries
- You have a history of filing auto claims
- You've been in several accidents over the last few years
- You didn't file your paperwork on time
- The policy was canceled or lapsed for non-payment
If the policy wasn't active, there's nothing you can do. No insurance company is going to pay a claim out on a closed policy. If they did that, they'd go bankrupt in no time. If your claim was denied for one of the other reasons, then your attorney can try to negotiate payment of your personal injury claims. If this isn't possible, then you'll have no choice but to file suit.
Once You File Suit, the Insurance Company May Be More Likely to Pay
Sometimes, the insurance adjuster is just bluffing to see how far your attorney will take things. They may deny your claim hoping you'll just go away. If you don't have an auto accident attorney, there's a good chance you may walk away. Unless you know your rights, there doesn't seem like there's any reason to fight. However, when you have legal representation, the insurance adjuster can't take advantage of you. They won't try to offer you a ridiculously low settlement hoping you'll take it knowing you're desperate for cash. They'll also return your phone calls and emails rather than put you off for weeks at a time.
When you file a personal injury lawsuit, the insurance company realizes you mean business. This means they'll be more open to settling your claim. If you have a solid case, then your attorney will have the upper hand. They're going to make sure you get the money you deserve.
Many Cases Settle on the Eve Before the Accident Trial
There are times when it looks like your case is going to trial up until the last minute. You've hired experts to testify at trial about your injuries. You have your witnesses lined up. You and your car accident lawyer meet one final time before your court date. Then, suddenly, your attorney calls with good news. The insurance company finally came to them with a settlement offer. The entire accident settlement can take place days before curt. This happens more often than you may think. Or it can work the other way too. The defendant may have made an offer to your attorney, and you turned it down. Then, at the last minute, you realize it makes more sense to settle for less than what you want in order to resolve the matter quickly.
Trials can take a long time to resolve. It can take months or even a year to get a trial date. By the time you deal with various postponements, it could be close to two (2) years before you finally have your day in court. A lot can happen during this time. Once you and the other parties realize that a settlement is in everyone's best interest, you can finally resolve your case.
If You Miss the Statute of Limitations You Won't Be Allowed to Proceed with Legal Action
If you decide that you want to file suit, you need to do so before the statute of limitations runs out. Every state has a certain time limit for when you can file suit. If you miss this deadline, the court is going to dismiss any legal action you attempt to file. The good news is that car accident attorneys understand how this rule works. They'll make sure your lawsuit is filed in plenty of time. They'll also make sure you name all possible parties in your complaint.
Just because you do sue, that doesn't mean you won't continue to work toward a settlement negotiation. As mentioned earlier, more than 95% of all lawsuits do settle at some point. Trials aren't good for anybody. They're expensive and time-consuming. You could end up spending thousands of dollars on expert witnesses. Your attorney may have to hold depositions which can also be expensive. This isn't good for anyone. Your car accident lawyer understands this and so does the defendant.
Call and Talk to a Car Accident Lawyer As soon as Possible After Your Car Crash
If you or a family member are hurt in any sort of motor vehicle accident, you'll have a decision to make. Are you going to sue or are you going to walk away? If you think you're entitled to damages, you can't just walk away. You'll want to reach out to an experienced auto accident lawyer and discuss your options. You may find out that you have a really strong case. You may be entitled to a significant amount of financial compensation. If that's so, you will want to consider filing a car accident lawsuit.
The best thing to do is to call and talk to an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Sit down with someone who knows how the process works. They can answer any questions you may have. They can explain the legal process step by step. They can also reassure you that, more than likely, you won't have to go to court. Schedule your free, initial consultation as soon as you can. All situations are unique, so you'll want to give your attorney ample time to prepare your case.