Car accidents can be traumatic, scary and life-changing. They can also be a hassle of paperwork, errands and phone calls. No matter how serious your car accident might have been, it’s worth considering whether or not you’ll need to go to court to pursue compensation for your damages. Most car accidents are settled out of court by the insurance company. Allowing your insurer to handle negotiations can save you time and money. In some cases, though, going to court is necessary. Keep reading to learn when it’s a good idea to bring your car accident claim to trial.
Pros and Cons
What's In This Article
You should consider filing a lawsuit any time there is an ongoing dispute between the parties involved in the collision, or when the insurance company is not responding to your demand letter. These situations are fairly rare, though, since insurance companies and attorneys will both be eager to settle. Informal negotiations frequently lead to an agreement as to how to settle the claim. Going to court is often expensive, which is something to take into consideration before deciding to file a lawsuit.
On the other hand, going to court may be necessary if you’re dealing with an unreasonable at-fault driver who refuses to make a reasonable offer. If their insurance company also refuses to respond to your demand letter, going to court may be the only option for you to pursue the compensation you deserve. While no one wants to go to court, involving attorneys, a judge and a jury may be the only way to get the justice to which you’re entitled.
Should you decide to file a lawsuit, you’ll need to hire an attorney. It’s possible to do so without formal legal representation, but your odds of success are much higher with a professional attorney on your side. If you hope to recover the maximum possible damages, be prepared to hire a lawyer. The good news? Most car accident lawyers offer free initial consultations, making it easy for you to shop around for an attorney who best meets your needs.
After you’ve hired an attorney, they will file an official legal complaint naming all the parties involved in the incident. It also states the court’s jurisdiction over the case, includes the facts and legal claims relating to the collision and demands compensation for damages. Next, the defendant will need served the complaint via process server or other method required by state law. Then comes the discovery phase, where your lawyer will request relevant documents from the opposing driver. Written questions and an in person deposition can also be requested during discovery.
Going to Trial
Once at trial, the court will determine whether or not the driver will be held responsible for the damage done in the crash. Both you and the other driver will have the opportunity to argue your case. In many cases, the decision will rest in the hands of a jury. Depending on how complicated the case is, the entire process could take several days or even weeks to finalize.
Even once your trial begins, you can still opt to settle out of court. If the at-fault driver believes they will be ordered to pay a large sum to you, they may want to make a last minute out of court settlement offer. The only way to know if such an offer is fair, though, is to have an attorney weigh in on the offer. Going to court can often scare a reluctant driver into making a fair settlement offer.
Depending on which driver was at fault for the accident, you may not have a choice about whether or not you go to court. If your accident was the direct result of your actions, there’s a possibility that the other driver may summon you to court to hold you accountable for your negligence. With that said, they will likely do everything they can to avoid going to court. Going to court means accepting the court’s verdict and being limited to their awarded settlement amount.
If you have been involved in an accident and have suffered injuries or damages to your property, you deserve financial compensation. It’s not always immediately clear whether or not you must go to court to settle such matters, though. Speaking with an experienced car accident lawyer can help you better understand your legal options after a collision. Lawsuit Info Center has the resources you need to seek justice. Our car accident settlement calculator is a great tool for anyone curious about how much their claim could be worth. We can also help connect you with a knowledgeable attorney in your area. No-risk, free consultations are just a phone call away, with no obligation to hire an attorney. To get started, call 877-205-4877 today to connect with a lawyer in your area.