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Car accidents can be scary and confusing for everybody involved. In some cases, accidents only result in property damage or minor injuries. However, it is not uncommon for more serious injuries to occur. Most vehicle accidents are resolved through a settlement with insurance carriers, but it may be necessary to take a car accident case to court if an insurance carrier refuses to offer a fair settlement or denies a claim. Whether or not you need to take your car accident case to court will depend on various factors related to your particular situation. Here, we discuss some of the following reasons you may need to go to court in the aftermath of a car accident.
By the time you reach the stage where a lawsuit is necessary, you and your Orange County personal injury attorney will have likely tried to get the other driver’s insurance carrier to agree to pay a fair settlement. If they deny a claim or continuously refuse to settle for a fair amount, filing a lawsuit may be the last resort to obtaining the compensation you are entitled to. Insurance carriers are notorious for offering low settlements. Remember, most auto insurance companies are “for-profit” entities and they what do what they can to not pay out large amounts of money for claims.
It may be necessary to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver if they are underinsured or uninsured. If the other driver does not have insurance, or their coverage is insufficient to pay for your expenses, then the driver is going to be wholly responsible for the costs. However, taking an uninsured or underinsured driver to court can be problematic. These drivers rarely have enough money or assets to draw on in order to recover adequate compensation. Your options may be limited about how much compensation you ultimately receive in this scenario.
In some cases, the at-fault driver is given a traffic citation or even a criminal charge for their conduct that led to the accident. If you were a witness to the traffic violation or criminal offense, you may receive a summons to testify as a witness in court.
As we mentioned above, most car accident cases are settled before they go to trial. Insurance carriers do not like to go to trial for car accident cases. If you take the insurance carrier to trial and win, they will have to pay a significant amount more money than they want to.
Even if a lawsuit is filed, there are several steps that take place before an actual trial. This includes the “discovery phase” of the suit in which both sides will have a chance to obtain and exchange information relating to the case. There will also be ample opportunity for attorneys on both sides to negotiate a fair settlement before a full trial is scheduled. Even after a lawsuit has been filed, most cases will be settled before the jury hears the case.