When you have been hurt in an accident, and someone else is to blame, you can file a claim and be compensated for your injuries. Unfortunately, that process is usually overwhelming for all parties involved. However, the situation becomes much more challenging when things go to court. Most people fail to file accident claims because they’re worried the issue will go to court. But that’s not always the case.
How Does an Accident Claim Lawsuit Progress?
As the victim, you’ll start by filing a case and issuing a demand letter to the negligent party who caused your injuries. It is highly recommended that you consult with competent legal aid like Bagen Law accident injury lawyers before sending the letter because an attorney can adequately guide the letter’s contents. Broadly, the letter highlights how the defendant was negligent, leading to the accident that caused your injuries. It will also mention the resulting damages and the compensation you’re seeking for those damages.
Once the insurance company has your letter, they will conduct their investigation, and this is where negotiations start. In most cases, they’ll counter the offer with a lower one. At this point, your attorney and the insurance will continue debating until they reach a reasonable agreement.
When Do Accident Lawsuits Go to Court?
Not all negotiations end up with both parties satisfied. But taking the case to court might be necessary if you can’t agree on the compensation amount. The following are some major reasons why accident claims end up in court.
You have a disputed claim if the other party claims they didn’t cause the accident. Liability disputes go to trial because of disagreements. A settlement depends on both parties agreeing on the term, but failing to reach a consensus will end up in court for judicial arbitration.
The Insurance Company Refuses to Settle
Another reason claims lawsuits go to court is when the insurance company refuses to budge in the negotiations. If the insurance company doesn’t agree to pay the suggested personal injury settlement amount, you have no option but to go in front of a judge. A trial can be a long process, but it’s worth it if the settlement amount is significant.
The Driver At-Fault Lacks Insurance
Unfortunately, people drive without insurance; some have coverage, but it isn’t enough to compensate for the damage they’ve caused. While illegal, many drivers fail to renew coverage due to financial stress. But this can complicate your restitution because such an individual will not be able to compensate you. However, they will likely face prison time and suspension from the road after a judge/jury finds them guilty.
About 95% of lawsuit cases are settled before trial. It’s not advantageous for the people involved to go this far. This is because a judicial ruling can go either way, depending on how both sides’ legal teams present their cases. If the issue is going to court, both parties have reason to believe they might be on the winning side of the argument. Rarely does a clear case of negligence go all the way. Hence, the outcome of the trial of a claim becomes crucial. In a settlement, both parties have equal leverage to work something out.
Another drawback is the costly court and legal fees. Even if your attorney works on a contingency fee basis, the legal fees involved in going to court will be high. If the court rules in your favor, the defendant may file appeals that drag the case. That means it will be long before you finally get your settlement. These are some reasons why it’s best to avoid trial. Even if your negotiations keep hitting the wall, you can find a third-party mediator to facilitate the negotiations.
Can I Still Settle Out of Court Once the Court Proceedings Start?
You can still settle the case out of court even if the court has already set a trial date. Your attorney will negotiate the right compensation package, depending on your circumstances.
While accident claim lawsuits can go to court, in most cases, they don’t. Personal injury lawyers try their best to negotiate outside of court because they know it’s likely to produce a better outcome. However, if the situation calls for going to court, your attorney will inform you and prepare you for trial proceedings. Hence, you must hire the best legal team to support your case.