After a car accident, you may wonder if you have to go to court to receive financial compensation. While it is possible that you may have to go to court, the chances are that you probably won’t have to. Don’t hesitate to file your claim as soon as possible.
Never pay for any of your damages out of pocket. You should always hold the negligent driver responsible for their actions. While the thought of going to court can be overwhelming and stressful for many, the good news is that most car accident injury claims will settle out of court. Going to court for a car accident claim is often very rare.
Car Accidents Are a Common Occurrence
Road safety facts from the Association for Safe International Road Travel show that 4.4 million car accidents happen each year. With that many car accidents occurring, you would assume that there would be millions of court cases involving them flooding in annually. The truth is the exact opposite.
Car accident settlements fall under the umbrella of personal injury settlements. Statistics on personal injury settlements reveal that roughly 5% of all claims that get filed settle in court. Therefore, the vast majority of personal injury claims will resolve outside of court. This means that the likelihood of you going to court for your car accident claim is extremely low.
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Reasons You Might Have to Go to Court for a Car Accident
If you are filing a car accident lawsuit against the other driver in your car accident, you will probably end up going to court. There are a couple of reasons why this might happen.
The Insurance Company Wouldn’t Settle
One of the main reasons why you would go to court is to win a fair settlement. If the insurance company doesn’t budge during negotiations, the last resort is to fight for compensation in court. This can be a long process, but if a large settlement is on the line, it’s often worth it.
Insurance companies are businesses and their main goal is to give you the lowest possible settlement offer in hopes you’ll accept it. They do this so they can save money and protect their bottom line. In many instances, insurance companies may also try to shift the blame on you so you can’t demand the maximum amount of compensation you deserve.
Keep in mind, negotiating for a settlement and resolving things out of court is almost always the case for the vast majority of car accident claims. Going to court is really only necessary if the insurance company, for whatever reason, refuses to settle with you on reasonable terms.
The At-Fault Driver Doesn’t Have Insurance
There are a disturbing amount of people driving on the road without any insurance or with insurance that barely covers any of their needs. While doing so is generally illegal, that doesn’t stop thousands of drivers from hitting the road with little to no coverage. If you get into an accident with one of these drivers, it might be necessary to take them directly to court.
While you can take a negligent driver with no insurance to court, don’t get too much of your hopes up. If they weren’t driving with insurance, the chances of them having the financial means to pay for your damages is going to be very slim. However, taking them to court can get them punished for their actions and hold them accountable.
Going to court can also provide you with other potential avenues to receive compensation, such as through punitive damages. For the best results, it’s best to consult with your lawyer on what your options are if the driver that caused your car accident has no insurance coverage.
Getting Summoned for Another Court Case
This reason for going to court is completely separate from the actual claim you file. If the driver you’re filing a claim against decides to fight a traffic violation they received due to the car accident they caused, you may get summoned as a witness.
There Are Several Steps to Take Before You Actually Go to Court
Insurance companies do not like going to court for personal injury cases. However, if you take them to trial and win the case, they will have to award you the settlement amount you requested. So, if they feel like you have a strong case against them and a good chance of winning, or they see you are working with a well-known car accident lawyer, the insurance company will likely do everything they can to avoid court.
Sometimes, simply being willing to go to court and preparing a claim for trial may scare the insurer into making you a more serious offer and settling. However, before the actual trial, there is an entire timeline for a personal injury lawsuit. It includes the discovery and pre-trial periods as well as other opportunities for both sides to negotiate.
The chances are good that you may receive out-of-court settlement offers. If they are good enough, you may choose to accept them and not have to go to court. However, you should have an experienced car accident lawyer review any offer before accepting it.
How to Avoid Going to Court for a Car Accident
You can improve your chances of settling before the need to go to court by:
- Reporting the accident to the police (this is required by law if there are injuries or more than $500 in property damage)
- Taking pictures of the accident scene, your injuries, and your vehicle damages soon after the collision
- Seeing a doctor as soon as possible for your injuries
- Keeping track of all damages, including medical bills, vehicle repairs, and more
- Consulting with a car accident lawyer as soon as you can
- Not apologizing, admitting blame, or giving the other driver’s insurance company any statements until you’ve spoken to a lawyer
The stronger case you can build, the better chance you have of getting a fair settlement from the insurance company. Having an experienced lawyer also helps because it shows the insurer you have a professional on your side and are serious about fighting for your legal rights.
Goig to Court for a Car Accident Is Your Choice
Although a car accident lawyer can advise you on what they think you should do, going to court for a car accident is ultimately your decision. Lawsuits can be lengthy, costly, and very stressful. You’ll need to be completely sure if you proceed to trial. Thankfully, most cases end far before you need to make this decision.
Don’t Wait to File a Claim
You shouldn’t hesitate to file your claim as soon as you can. Although we advise against filing too quickly, don’t sit on your claim until the last minute. The statute of limitations isn’t very long in most states, and the longer you wait, the harder it becomes to settle your claim fast. You don’t want to fight a long legal battle, so take the initiative and talk to one of our lawyers today.
Get a Free Consultation with Our Car Accident Lawyers
Whether your case can be resolved through a settlement or ends up going to trial, our car accident lawyers at John Foy & Associates are not afraid to handle your case every step of the way.
We have been doing so for over 20 years, and working with us is risk-free because you don’t pay unless we win you money. To schedule a free consultation and case evaluation with the best lawyer for you, call us today or contact us online now.