I really don’t want to go to trial. Should I still call an attorney after a car accident?

Yes. If you were hurt in a car accident, if your child was hurt in a car accident, or if your loved one died in a car accident, you should schedule a free initial consultation with a car accident attorney even if you have no intention of going to trial.

Most Car Accident Cases Are Resolved Before Trial

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, only about 4% of tort cases, or personal injury lawsuits, go to trial. The remaining 96% percent of personal injury cases—including car accident cases—are resolved in other ways. These resolutions may be achieved through settlement negotiations and judges’ rulings.

Settlement Negotiations

Car accident claims will not automatically settle even if the other party was clearly at fault for your accident injuries. Instead, you will have to work toward securing a fair settlement that includes compensation for your past, current, and future:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost income
  • Out-of-pocket costs
  • Pain and suffering
  • Other damages

If you fail to recover these damages, someone else’s negligence can leave you not only with the physical pain that you are suffering from but also from overwhelming bills that may ruin your financial future.

A settlement can help you avoid the financial consequences of a car accident, and an attorney can help you get the fair settlement that you deserve. Specifically, an attorney can:

  • Inform you of your rights. This will help you learn who was at fault for the accident and what you may realistically recover from these parties.
  • Gather the evidence necessary to prove your claim. Attorneys know how to get important information through the legal discovery process so that you have the facts that you need to support your legal arguments.
  • Negotiate directly with the insurance company. It is the insurance adjuster’s job to try to get you to accept the lowest possible settlement for your accident injuries. You should expect that the insurance adjuster is an experienced negotiator. Attorneys are also experienced negotiators and, unlike an insurance adjuster, an attorney represents you and will advocate for your full and fair recovery.

Some cases may settle before a formal lawsuit is filed in court, and others may settle after a complaint has been filed and the lawsuit has been initiated.

The Court System Without a Bench or Jury Trial

Even if you file a lawsuit, you may still be able to recover damages without going to trial. This may be true even if a fair settlement cannot be agreed upon. A judge may resolve a claim in your favor without a trial by ruling on your attorney’s:

  • Motion for Summary Judgment. You may claim that the facts of the case are undisputed and that when law is applied to those facts, the outcome of the case is clear. If the judge agrees, your motion for summary judgment will be granted and you will be entitled to damages.
  • Motion for Default Judgment. If the defendant fails to answer your complaint or meet the court deadline in another accepted way, you may ask the court to rule in your favor because of the defendant’s default and you may be entitled to damages.

It is also important to note that the defendant may try to resolve the case in court prior to trial by filing a motion to dismiss.

An attorney can help you file the appropriate motions with the right evidence and convincing arguments and an attorney can help you defend against a motion to dismiss that could end your claim without any recovery.

Either Way, You Can Benefit From Working With an Attorney

While the majority of car accidents cases settle without a bench or jury trial, your goal is not only to avoid a lawsuit but also to get the recovery you deserve. In order to do that you have the right to work with someone who knows the law, who knows how to gather the evidence needed, and who knows how to negotiate with insurance companies and protect your rights in court.

To learn more about the benefits of working with an attorney—even if you will never go to trial—please schedule your own free, no obligation consultation with us today.