After a motor vehicle accident, a car crash victim can pursue compensation for their losses and injuries in two ways. These options include filing a claim with the insurance company or pursuing a lawsuit. While lawsuits may seem like a common choice, the reality is that most cases settle without ever going to court.
In fact, around 95 percent of all car accident injury claims resolve through pre-trial settlements. However, we have prepared the guide to better understand why these cases settle before heading to court and what this legal process can mean for the compensation you can secure. In it, we will walk you through everything you need to know about car accident claims and heading to trial. A car accident lawyer can guide you in the legal process.
Why Do Some Motor Vehicle Accident Cases Go to Trial?
While many car crash victims may want to settle their cases as quickly as possible, it is not always the best idea to do so. For instance, if the insurance company decides to play games and not provide the settlement offer that a car accident victim deserves, it may be in the individual’s best interest to pursue litigation so that their experienced car accident attorney can fight for the maximum financial damages and justice these individuals are entitled to.
Remember that the insurance company is not there to ensure you get the money you need. Instead, insurance companies, like other businesses, want to make a profit for the organization and its shareholders.
By paying out less in claims after an accident, these companies make more profit. As a result, insurance companies and their adjusters will do everything they can to deny a car accident case or get the car accident victim to accept less money than they deserve.
That is why before you accept anything from the insurance company, consider first discussing the settlement amount with an experienced car accident lawyer who can review the offer and determine if it covers your current losses and future expenses.
If it does not, the attorney can head back to the insurance company and fight for the money you are entitled to. If the insurance company is not willing to budge on the amount, your attorney can proceed to take your case to trial.
Why Do so Many Motor Vehicle Accident Cases Settle Before Trial?
While thousands of people are injured in car accidents yearly due to another person’s wrongful actions, only a small percentage of these accidents go to trial. Studies suggest that only one in 20 personal injury claims resolve in the courtroom.
Some reasons why these cases do not end up at trial include:
- The expenses involved: Pursuing a lawsuit is expensive for both sides. Consequently, for many car accident victims, going to trial may be too costly compared to how much money they can win, which may sway them to accept a lower settlement instead of heading to court.
- Time constraints: Legal proceedings can take a long time to resolve, which can be a hardship for both sides. In most instances, it is more beneficial to the car accident victim to resolve the case as quickly as possible.
- Outcome uncertainty: Trial cases are unpredictable. While lawyers may speculate on what a jury can do, nobody really knows what side the jury will favor. Furthermore, even if the jury awards the victim a substantial amount, these verdicts can be appealed, which means more of a time delay and unpredictability.
To determine whether pursuing a trial is a good idea for your case, you should consider discussing your accident with a knowledgeable car accident lawyer. These legal professionals can help you understand the process involved if you head to trial and why one option may be better at securing the maximum compensation you need.
These damages refer to payment for the tangible losses that result from an accident.
These losses are usually easy to quantify and include:
- Medical expenses related to doctor visits, surgeries, emergency services, prescription medications, hospital stay, assistive medical devices, therapy, and other types of expenses
- Lost income and business opportunities
- Personal property damages, such as motor vehicle repair or replacement costs
- Lost earning capacity
- Replacement domestic services such as child care services
These damages refer to the intangible and hard-to-prove losses that result from a crash.
These losses include:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of enjoyment and quality of life
- Emotional anguish
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of a limb
- Loss of reputation
- Disfigurement and scarring
- Inconvenience resulting from the injuries following the accident
Depending on the accident, car crash victims may receive punitive damages. However, these damages do not compensate a victim for their losses and harm, like the compensation above. Rather, these damages penalize the wrongful party for their egregious actions and deter others from committing this act.
However, to obtain punitive damages, car accident victims generally need to show clear and convincing evidence that the wrongful party’s intentional misconduct or gross negligence resulted in the victim’s injuries and damages.
The Damages You May Recover After Your Motor Vehicle Accident
If you want to know which of these damages you can pursue after your motor vehicle accident, consider speaking to a knowledgeable car crash lawyer. These lawyers can review the extent of your losses, determine which monetary damages you can go after, and help you fight for maximum compensation.
How Much Is a Motor Vehicle Accident Case Worth?
While an experienced car accident attorney can help you determine which monetary damages may be available following a motor vehicle accident, these lawyers can not tell you exactly how much money you can secure if your case goes to trial.
This is because, generally, too many factors can affect a case’s worth, such as:
- The car accident victim’s age
- The car accident victim’s health before the motor vehicle accident
- The medical treatments required following the crash, including in the future
- The severity of the injuries incurred following the accident
- Whether permanent disability resulted from the accident and the likelihood of recovery following the crash
- The impact of the harm on a car accident victim’s life and their future, as well as their ability to enjoy the activities they did before the crash
- The wrongful party’s culpability
- The credibility of the witnesses and the evidence presented
- The extent of the pain and suffering
However, while no attorney can tell you precisely the amount of money you can expect to receive after a motor vehicle accident when you work with a knowledgeable car crash lawyer, these legal professionals can review each of these factors, figure out how they impact your case, and help you go after every last dollar you deserve.
How Much Time Do You Have to File a Legal Claim Following a Motor Vehicle Accident?
If you suffered injuries in a motor vehicle accident, you need to figure out whether you have enough time to file a suit before you can pursue a lawsuit. According to the statute of limitations, car accident victims have limited time to file their claim process following a car crash. This time limit will depend on the state and the type of claim.
As a result, if you want to make sure you file your case before time runs out, consider discussing the facts of your crash with a skilled car accident attorney as soon as possible. These legal professionals can review the applicable statutes, determine how much time you have to file your case and submit the appropriate documents and motions before time runs out.
In addition, just because you may have years to file a lawsuit after a motor vehicle accident, waiting too long can hinder your case and your ability to secure the most money you can get.
As more time passes, there is a higher chance of evidence disappearing, memories of the incident fading, and critical witnesses no longer being able to testify on your behalf– all elements that can hurt your case and the ability to secure the money you need.
Can You Sue if a Loved One Dies in a Motor Vehicle Accident?
If an individual passes away in a motor vehicle accident due to another person’s intentional, reckless, or negligent actions, certain loved ones can sue after an accident against the wrongful party and go after compensation related to the losses they suffered because of this death.
Depending on the circumstances, specific surviving family members can file a wrongful death legal claim and recover compensation for:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Medical expenses due to the medical care the decedent received before passing away
- Loss of parental guidance, companionship, comfort, and love
- Income that the decedent would have earned had they lived
- Loss of certain services the decedent provided their loved ones
However, to understand your legal options after losing a loved one in a car accident, consider discussing the incident with a dedicated car accident attorney. These lawyers can help you determine whether you will need to head to trial to secure the money you need after a wrongful death car accident and review the actions you should take next to help you obtain the money you need.
Contact an Experienced Car Accident Attorney to Discuss Your Legal Options Following a Motor Vehicle Accident
While obtaining compensation after a car crash may seem like the ideal situation, in some cases, it may not be the best way to ensure you get all the money you need. That is why following your car crash, consider speaking to an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible.
Once you retain these lawyers, they can go over the car accident legal process in detail so you better understand what the process entails and what to expect if you are willing to pursue this.
These attorneys can also:
- Determine if you have a viable legal claim and your legal options.
- Review your questions and concerns, and help you get through this challenging time in your life.
- Perform a thorough investigation into the crash and obtain the evidence necessary to help show what happened and who was responsible for the accident.
- Look for videos and pictures from the crash scene and obtain witness testimony to help corroborate your case.
- Hire certain types of experts, including financial specialists and accident reconstruction specialists, to validate your legal claim.
- Handle the settlement negotiations with the insurer and fight for a just settlement amount.
- Determine if heading to trial can help you secure the money you need, especially if the insurance company is unwilling to settle for a fair amount.
If you or a family member suffered severe injuries in a motor vehicle accident and you want to know whether you will need to head to trial to get the money you require, contact an experienced and skilled personal injury attorney in New York for a free case evaluation and find out what needs to be done to go after the money you deserve.