How often do car accident claim cases require you to have to go to court in my area? The short legal answer is – almost never that a vehicle collision claimant will be obligated to have to appear in court, regardless of location throughout the United States. Even though there are extremely rare cases when an auto crash victim will need to file and litigate a personal injury claim lawsuit in county court to receive full settlement compensation, this is not at all common for the vast majority of local car accidents.
Furthermore, most recent car accident claims in every local jurisdiction today will usually get resolved with a monetary settlement before the case ever goes to court for litigation, as long as the auto insurance company of the at fault driver offers a fair settlement amount.
Being in a car accident is a traumatic experience even if you do not sustain injuries. When there are injuries, that anxiety level starts to go through the roof. Now you start adding medical bills, lost wages, and other costs to the equation. You want a settlement as quickly as possible, but does that always mean going to court or hiring a top rated local attorney for car accidents to make it happen?
We are going to answer these questions today.
How Often to Car Accident Claims Go to Court?
For the most part, claims are settled long before they ever get to the inside of a courtroom. This does not mean that attorneys are not involved, however. Most opposing insurance companies are going to go for the quick close, meaning they will try to make a reasonable, albeit it low, offer very early to get you to settle. It will be just enough to make you think about it, but will likely be far less than the case is worth, especially if you have suffering significant injuries.
There will be considerable back-and-forth between the two sides if the initial offering is turned down. There will be subsequent offers based on the injuries and recovery, but in cases where major injuries are suffered, most attorneys will tell you to play the long game to ensure you receive every penny you are entitled. Point being, if you settle too early, you could wind up with medical expenses or lost wages that are not recovered.
Going to Court
If the case does go to court, regardless of the state where the accident occurred, this is what you can expect:
- Jury Selection
- Opening Statements
- Presenting Case
- Jury Deliberation and Verdict
Assuming the case is a jury trial, both sides have an opportunity accept or reject jury members. The legal term for this is voir dire. Once the jury is settled, we move on to the actual trial.
Once the trial begins, both the plaintiff and defendant’s attorneys will give their opening statements. At this point, they are outlining their case to the jury.
As the plaintiff, it is your attorney’s responsibility to prove negligence on the part of the defendant. They do not have to prove their innocence; you have to prove their guilt. There are four main elements to prove negligence on the part of the defendant:
- Duty of care
- Breach of duty
Duty of Care
This is the defendant’s duty to operate his or her vehicle with a level of “due care” when it comes to other motorists and passengers.
Breach of Duty
This is the breach of the duty mentioned above. For instance, swerving into oncoming traffic, speeding excessively, or running a stop sign or red light.
Proving that the defendant’s breach of duty was the “cause” of your injuries and damages to your vehicle.
This is sum of all losses suffered during the accident. Physical and psychological wounds, property damages, lost wages, etc.
If you are considering a lawsuit from a car accident, every state has its own statute of limitations and exceptions. For instance, did you know that if the defendant leaves the state where the accident happened, the clock stops on the statute of limitations until those individual returns to the state?
Some other general exceptions are how long you have to file a suit if a government vehicle is involved in the crash. In many states, that time limit is restricted to months, not years.
Did you know that many states have restrictions on how much the defendant can be sued for in a personal injury claim?
Do I Need a Car Accident Attorney?
If you are feeling overwhelmed by all this information, trust me, you are not alone. The more involved a case gets, the more difficult it can be to navigate those murky waters. Therefore, we always recommend, at the very least, talking to an attorney to have him or her evaluate the case. Because personal injury cases are paid on a contingency basis, your consultation is free of charge, and you will not have to pay any out-of-pocket costs if you decide to move forward. All fees and, in most cases, bills, are paid via the lawsuit settlement.
So, if you were recently involved in an auto accident and would like to speak to one of our attorneys, give us a call at 855-633-0888. Or, if you would like to learn more about our legal services before moving forward, please fill out the Free Car Accident Injury Consultation Form.
Taryn J. White is a legal research specialist and Injury law news reporter. Her current accomplishments include helping those facing any injuries from vehicle accidents, workplace accidents, and medical malpractice.