Car accident claims do not often go to court. In fact, the American Bar Association (ABA) states that relatively few civil cases end up in court. Instead, parties to a lawsuit usually agree to settle before a trial becomes necessary.
Plaintiffs and defendants prefer to settle rather than go to court. However, car accident cases do not always settle. In some cases, car accident lawyers must go to trial because liable parties will not offer the settlement their client deserves.
Why Most Car Accident Cases Settle Before Going to Court
Car accident victims and insurance companies often agree to settle their claims for several reasons.
From an insurer’s perspective, settling may make sense because:
- Trials are expensive: Completing trials is far more costly than settling. Therefore, an insurance company may want to settle merely to avoid the cost of completing a trial.
- Trials are uncertain: While an insurer may believe in their case, trials always have a measure of uncertainty. A jury or judge can rule against the insurer and possibly rule against the insurer in a financially overwhelming manner. Insurance companies generally choose to avoid this high degree of financial risk by settling claims.
A car accident victim may want to settle because:
- The settlement offer is fair: Car accident victims simply seek the compensation they deserve. Therefore, most clients accept if an insurer extends a fair settlement offer. This way, the accident victim can get the compensation they deserve without an unnecessary legal fight.
- They cannot risk losing at trial: If a car accident victim does not succeed, they may not receive the money they badly need. If an insurance company’s settlement offer is close to the amount the claimant deserves, the claimant may accept certain compensation.
- Trials can take months or years to complete: Trials are complex and can take a long time. A car accident victim may not want to wait so long for compensation, and this may motivate them to settle.
A lawyer should encourage clients to fight for a fair financial recovery, even if that means going to trial. However, each car accident victim faces unique circumstances, and going to court is not always the right decision. Your car accident lawyer will guide you to make pivotal decisions about your case, including whether to settle or fight for a jury award.
A Lawyer Should Never Predetermine a Case’s Outcome
While car accident lawyers aim to secure a fair settlement for their clients, no lawyer should have a settle-or-nothing mentality. Instead, a law firm should prepare to go to trial if doing so is in their client’s best interest.
You and your attorney may hit a crossroads in your case. You may need to decide whether to accept the best settlement offer you have received or move forth with a trial.
Your legal team may make this decision based on:
- The monetary cost of your damages
- The value of the best settlement offer you have received
- Your personal financial circumstances
- The other unique details of your case
A quality lawyer keeps their client in the loop, providing transparent advice about accepting a settlement or continuing fighting.
Lawyers Continue Negotiating Even Once Trial Begins
Your lawyer can start the trial phase but continue negotiating with liable parties. During the discovery phase of a civil trial, both parties will examine the other party’s case. Seeing your lawyer has evidence and the witnesses they plan to call may convince a liable party to offer a fair settlement.
Should I Let a Lawyer Lead My Car Accident Claim?
Every car accident victim must determine whether to hire a lawyer. While you are allowed to handle your claim, you don’t have to. Instead, you may hire a car accident lawyer because:
You’re Not at Full Strength
Many serious injuries are common in a car accident.
Physical injuries and mental health difficulties may:
- Require you to rest until your injuries heal
- Require you to receive regular medical care, which may put a strain on your time
- Make it difficult for you to tolerate stress, physical activity, cognitive demands, and other challenges common to car accident claims
- Prevent you from building a winning case
Hiring a lawyer is a logical decision for those with injuries. A car accident attorney will allow you to rest and prioritize your health because they will manage every aspect of your case.
A Lawyer Leads Car Accident Claims for a Living
Because many injury lawyers represent car accident victims for a living, most of them:
- Know insurance rules by heart
- Have experience negotiators
- Understand the challenges they may encounter during your case
- Waste no time resolving cases because claims and lawsuits are like second nature to them
When you need financial results after a car accident, it makes sense to turn to a professional.
Law Firms Provide Immense Resources
In addition to a lawyer’s legal training and experience, a law firm offers various resources that may greatly benefit you.
Your law firm may provide:
- Multiple attorneys
Law firms also cover the cost of completing car accident claims. You won’t pay your lawyer any upfront fee. If your attorney secures a settlement or judgment for you, the law firm will receive a percentage of the financial recovery.
There are several risks in handling your own claim or lawsuit.
If you don’t hire a capable car accident attorney, you may:
- Struggle to learn how to complete an insurance claim or lawsuit
- Endanger your health by taking on too much physical and cognitive responsibility
- Fail to present the strongest case possible, as your time may be divided between recovery, personal obligations, and your case
If you feel that a car accident lawyer can make a stronger case for compensation than you can on your own, trust your case with an attorney.
Car Accident Lawyers Take the Entire Claims Process Off Their Client’s Hands
Your focus should remain on recovery, and your lawyer will free you of all case-related obligations. Car accident lawyers generally handle the following for their clients.
Protecting Their Rights
When a car accident victim speaks with an insurance company, they risk saying something that might compromise their financial recovery. For example, you might accidentally indicate that you contributed to the car accident, even if you did not.
An attorney protects their client by handling communications with insurers. If you need to provide a statement to an insurance company, your lawyer will provide guidance.
Building the Case for Negligence
Your attorney must prove that someone, like another motorist, engaged in negligent behavior that caused your accident.
Evidence from your accident can prove negligence, so your lawyer will seek:
- Video footage of the collision
- Eyewitness accounts of the collision
- Statements from those who caused the accident, which may come from a police report, your discussion with a liable party, or other sources
- Any other evidence proving how your accident happened and who is responsible for your damages
Experienced lawyers often have the resources to investigate car accidents. Your attorney will secure all evidence that benefits your case.
Documenting and Calculating Damages from the Car Accident
Documentation proves the economic and non-economic cost of a car accident and can include:
- Medical bills
- Images of accident-related injuries
- A doctor’s written notes about your injuries, symptoms, and treatment needs
- Proof of income you have lost because of injuries
- Invoices for vehicle repairs or the purchase of a new vehicle
- Invoices for temporary transportation (such as a rental car or ridesharing services)
- Expert testimony about your damages (possibly including diagnoses from mental health experts)
You may even share your account of the toll that your car accident has taken. Your attorney will use this documentation to calculate the total cost of your car accident.
Negotiating a Settlement for Their Client
Once your lawyers know how much your damages are worth, they can negotiate a settlement on your behalf.
Your attorney will consider:
- Your current damages
- Any damages that continue to affect you, like ongoing medical care
- Economic damages (which have a clear financial value)
- Non-economic damages (like pain and suffering, which have a less obvious financial value)
Attorneys understand the damages that commonly result from car accidents. Before negotiations, your lawyer will ensure they accurately calculate your damages.
Taking the Case to Trial, if Necessary
If your car accident case is one of the rare cases that requires a trial, your lawyer will lead your court case. From completing discovery to questioning witnesses and asking for a fair judgment, your lawyer will handle every step of the trial process.
Overseeing Every Other Detail of the Claim or Lawsuit
Insurance claims and lawsuits are complex and, in some respects, unpredictable. If you hire a lawyer, you won’t have to worry about your case. Your attorney will be responsible for every aspect of your case and will contact you if any action is required.
Recoverable Damages for Car Accident Victims
Car accidents are a 12-figure problem in America, and serious accidents can place a victim under great financial pressure.
Your lawyer will work to relieve this pressure by obtaining compensation for:
- All accident-related medical expenses: Medical bills are the most costly consequence of the collision for many car accident victims. Your lawyer will work to ensure that insurers or other liable parties cover every medical bill stemming from your car accident.
- Property expenses: If you need to repair a vehicle, replace a vehicle, or replace other property damaged during the accident, your lawyer will include these property costs in your claim.
- Your pain and suffering: Accident victims may seek compensation for anxiety, depression, physical pain, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other types of pain and suffering from the accident.
- Accident-specific mental health treatment: If you seek counseling or any other treatments for your pain and suffering, the cost of care may be recoverable.
- Lost income and other professional harm: Lost income, diminished earning power, and other professional damages will be part of your car accident claim or lawsuit.
Attorneys calculate damages and fight for fair compensation—that’s their job. Let an attorney complete this job on your behalf.
Never Wait to Hire a Car Accident Lawyer
Missing your case’s filing deadline can have catastrophic legal and financial consequences. The sooner you hire a personal injury lawyer, the sooner they can draft and file your claim. Ensure you hire someone who will take your case to court when necessary to protect your rights.