If you are injured in a car accident, you may be thinking about filing a car accident lawsuit. It is possible that the courtroom is where the case ends up. That said, plaintiffs should know going in that most car accident injury claims result in a settlement before trial. Also, many car accident insurance claims are resolved via settlement before a lawsuit is filed.
That being said, there are cases where going to court is needed, and there are advantages in doing so. Each case is different and there are various factors to consider before actually going through with a lawsuit.
Settling Before a Car Accident Lawsuit
Many injured parties will settle their claim before officially filing suit. Here is why you might want to consider this:
- You get paid faster
- You avoid paying a lot of attorney fees
- You avoid going to court; sometimes you may need to go to many hearings
- You avoid relying on a jury for compensation; you never know what could happen. You may end up with nothing.
The question you need to ask is this: Is it worth the risk of going to trial and getting nothing? It depends on what type of settlement offer you have in hand. If the insurance company is low-balling you or offers nothing, you may have no choice but to file a car accident lawsuit and go to court.
Going to Court
It is usually best to try to settle your car accident claim out of court. But settlement may not be in the cards in your case. Here are the typical steps in the lawsuit process:
- Your attorney files your car accident lawsuit in court by drafting a legal complaint and sending it to the court. You also have to serve the other driver using a police officer, sheriff or process server. The other driver has 20 days usually to answer.
- You next participate in the ‘discovery’ process. You will ask for information from the other driver and he will ask for information from you. Information can be obtained by sending the other person questions in writing, and you also can ask for written documentation. Or, you can request the other driver be deposed by your attorney.
- Trial is the final stage of the car accident lawsuit process. During the trial, the judge or jury will hear all the evidence from both sides and render a decision. The time it takes to prepare and represent you at trial can take a long time and be very expensive in terms of legal fees. So it is important that you be sure that it is worth going to trial to resolve your case.
At the end of the day, remember you can always settle the case at any point during the lawsuit process. The other side may decide to up their settlement offer once they see you are willing to go to trial. The mere threat of a lawsuit going forward could be all you need to get the settlement you want.