If you have been injured in a car accident and you are considering pursuing compensation from the at-fault party, you may be wondering how your claim will develop. Generally, there are two different ways to resolve a car accident claim: through a settlement or by going to trial.
Which of these two outcomes is most likely in your situation depends on several factors, including the value of your claim, how willing the insurance company is to provide a fair settlement, and more.
Here, we’re going to take a closer look at this question, including when you should consider taking your case to trial, what you should expect if your case does go to court, and why you should always work with a trial attorney.
If you are currently exploring your legal options, the car accident attorneys at the Karl Truman Law Office can help. Contact us for a free consultation in Kentucky or Indiana today.
The vast majority of car accident cases settle without ever going to court. The reason for this is that both parties – the accident victim and the insurance company representing the at-fault driver – benefit from settling claims in several ways.
First of all, there are many costs associated with going to trial, including legal fees, expert witnesses, and more. While insurance companies are not quick to settle claims for a fair amount, settling is often less expensive for them than an extended trial.
At the same time, injured accident victims may be facing medical bills and other expenses that are causing them to go into debt. When plaintiffs go to trial, payment is not guaranteed and the case takes time to move through the court. As a result, settling quickly may be advantageous for the claimant as well.
And finally, going to trial is less predictable. It is impossible to know how a jury is going to perceive a case and how much they will award in compensation if they side with the plaintiff.
For these reasons, injured accident victims and insurance companies usually prefer to settle out of court. That said, an agreement isn’t always met, in which case accident victims and their attorney may decide to file a lawsuit.
While this depends on each unique situation, the decision to take a case to court usually comes when you and your attorney are unable to receive a fair settlement offer from the insurance company. This may be because representatives for the insurance company argue that you were at fault for the accident or they dispute the damages you claim.
Regardless of the reason, at this juncture you can decide to take the best offer from the insurance company or you can decide to file a lawsuit to pursue the amount of compensation you deserve for your damages.
After a lawsuit is filed and the defendant has been notified, the discovery process will begin. During discovery, both sides can request information from the other to help build their respective cases. There may also be depositions where both sides can interview witnesses to obtain information.
There will also be a jury selection process, after which a trial date will be set. Until that date, you will work with your attorney to continue building your case. This may include finding and compiling evidence, hiring expert witnesses, developing accident reconstruction models, and more.
The trial itself will be made up of opening statements, after which your attorney will present your case, followed by the defendant presenting its case. After closing arguments, the jury will begin deliberation, which can take anywhere from an hour or two to multiple days. Ultimately, how long it takes to reach a verdict will depend largely on the complexity of your case.
Although most cases settle out of court because of the time and costs associated with going to trial, you should still prioritize trial experience when hiring a car accident lawyer. An attorney who is familiar and comfortable with going to trial gives you two benefits:
While there is still a possibility your case will not go to trial, working with a trial attorney is the best way to recover maximum compensation for your damages.
Car accident cases can be unpredictable and complex, requiring many skills – including investigating, negotiating, and presenting in court – to achieve justice. At the Karl Truman Law Office, our attorneys are here to fight for the rights of accident victims in the areas of Louisville, Kentucky, and Jeffersonville, Indiana. We hold negligent drivers accountable for their actions and pursue maximum compensation on behalf of our clients.