Because car accidents are so common, you may be surprised to learn that most personal injury lawsuits for car accidents don’t make it to trial. Although you may be filing a lawsuit, this does not necessarily mean that you will need to appear in court or that a lawyer will need to convince a judge and jury that you are not liable for the accident. Learn more about the settlement and trial process of a car accident lawsuit before you contact an expert car accident lawyer.
Ask a Car Accident Lawyer: How Often Does a Case Usually Make it to Trial?
Most of the time, car accidents are settled through mediation outside of court. Depending on your specific case, your car accident claim may even be settled before a lawsuit is filed. Here’s what can happen:
Pre-trial settlements are finalized between your attorney and the insurance company of the liable party. Much of the time, the settlement will be equivalent to the liable party’s insurance policy. If you have minor injuries and damages, a pre-trial settlement can be a suitable solution for you.
However, a pre-trial settlement may not always be appropriate. For example, if a pre-trial settlement does not offer adequate compensation for your injuries, you may need to work with a San Antonio car accident attorney to file a formal lawsuit against the insurance company or the liable party’s assets.
One common reason why your car accident case may not make it to trial is because of a summary judgment. When this happens, there is generally no evidence in dispute about any of the important facts of the car accident. The summary judgment is granted by the judge, who makes a decision based only on facts that are presented in the lawsuit.
A default judgment in car accident cases is also common. If you are the person filing the lawsuit, then you may be granted a default judgment if the respondent does not respond to a lawsuit. The default judgment may also be granted if the defendant does not appear in court for trial. The default judgment is decided only by the judge and based on the facts of the case.
Finally, your case may not make it to trial because of early dismissal. Generally, cases are only dismissed if the plaintiff did not follow certain civil procedures or did not file the lawsuit properly. Although you may reinstate the case, the additional paperwork can be difficult to do by yourself. To avoid an early dismissal, you should always work with a lawyer to file your case.
Why Might Your Case Go to Trial?
There are a few reasons why your case may go to trial. For example, if the other driver refuses to negotiate or the insurance company repeatedly denies the claim, you may need to go to trial to settle your case. It’s best to avoid going to trial since court procedures can mean it will take several months or even years to finalize your case.
Texas observes a legal doctrine called comparative negligence, which holds that multiple parties can be liable for a personal injury accident. In a car accident case, comparative negligence allows both parties involved in the accident to be partly responsible for all injuries and damages.
Generally, comparative negligence is only triggered when the other driver suggests that you are equally responsible for the accident. You will need the help of an attorney to defend against a comparative negligence lawsuit since this type of case will require evidence to prove your percentage of liability. Your degree of liability will directly impact the amount of your settlement.
What Does a Lawyer Do If Your Case Goes to Trial?
If your case does go to trial, then a car accident lawyer is an essential resource. Trying to file a lawsuit without the help of a lawyer will usually mean that your case is dismissed because you were not able to follow the correct procedures or file the correct forms. One of the things a lawyer will do for you is file motions and follow other trial procedures on your behalf.
Your lawyer will also be able to prove liability with evidence. For example, a lawyer can use forensic experts to prove that the other driver is more responsible for the accident than you are. Additionally, your lawyer will be able to defend against comparative negligence claims.
Most of the time, when you file a personal injury lawsuit after a car accident, your case will be settled outside of court between you and the insurance company representing the other driver. However, if your case does go to court, you will need the assistance of an experienced car wreck attorney to handle your case on your behalf.
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