How Often Do Car Accident Claims Go to Court?
Most car accident cases settle before making it to a civil jury trial. Settling a lawsuit costs less for all of the parties involved, especially when considering fees for expert accident reconstructionists and medical experts. However, you may need to take your car accident claim to court if the at-fault driver’s insurance company does not offer you sufficient monetary compensation to settle.
One of the most important steps you can take following a car accident is to retain skilled legal counsel to represent you at every stage of your case. Your lawyer can help you decide whether you should accept a pending settlement offer that the insurance company adjuster places on the table or pursue litigation in your case. If you choose to litigate your case in court, your attorney can handle settlement negotiations and discovery.
If your case must go to a jury trial, your lawyer can represent you at all legal proceedings and aggressively advocate on your behalf. Your car accident lawyer can also review other litigation options with you, such as mediation or binding arbitration, which are forms of alternative dispute resolution (ADR).
Your attorney can be an invaluable resource throughout your case, answer your questions, and help you make intelligent and informed decisions.
Injuries in a Car Crash
Car accidents can lead to severe injuries that require ongoing medical care and rehabilitation. An accident victim may also incur significant medical costs, especially if their treatment lasts months or years.
The physical injuries that a car crash victim suffers will depend upon various circumstances, including the severity of their accident, their bodily movements in the vehicle, and the force of the crash.
For example, if a car crash victim hits their knee or elbow on something inside the vehicle, they may suffer a fracture or broken bone. Additionally, if their head strikes the steering wheel, window, or headrest in the crash, they may suffer a traumatic head and brain injury, such as a deep laceration to their head or a concussion. All of these injuries often come with severe symptoms that may affect the accident victim for the rest of their life.
Other physical injuries that car crash victims frequently suffer include bruises, soft tissue neck and back injuries, shoulder injuries, full or partial paralysis, and fractured vertebrae.
If you suffered one or more of these injuries in your recent car accident, you should complete the medical treatment regimen your medical provider prescribes. For example, you may need to consult with an orthopedic doctor, attend physical therapy sessions, or follow up with your primary care physician (PCP). In addition, you may need to undergo a medical procedure to improve your condition.
Completing your medical treatment regimen helps increase your chances of fully recovering. It also shows the at-fault driver’s insurance company that your injuries deserve appropriate compensation since they are serious.
Your attorney can help you handle the various legal aspects of your case, including gathering the necessary documentation to establish your legal burden of proof. After you finish your medical treatment, your lawyer can submit a settlement demand package with the at-fault driver’s insurance company and begin pursuing appropriate settlement compensation on your behalf.
Types of Car Accidents
When other people drive carelessly, there is no limit on the type of accident that may result.
Some of the most common car crashes that result from negligent, inattentive, and intoxicated driving include:
- Tailgate accidents, where a driver negligently causes their vehicle to hit the car or truck in front of them
- Broadside or T-bone accidents, where the front of one vehicle strikes the side of another car, usually near a highway merge lane or on an intersecting road
- Head-on collisions, where two vehicles strike one another while traveling in opposite directions, often resulting in fatal injuries
- Sideswipe accidents, where the sides of two vehicles hit one another while traveling on the same road but in different lanes
- Rollover accidents, where a driver negligently speeds down a hill or around a sharp curve, causing their vehicle to overturn and bringing about multiple collisions with other vehicles.
If you suffered physical injuries in one of these accidents that resulted from driver negligence, a personal injury attorney in your area can help you recover the monetary compensation you need. Your lawyer can also retain an accident reconstructionist who can review the accident circumstances with you, investigate the accident scene, speak with witnesses, and review police reports.
They can then draft a report of their own about how the accident occurred and who caused it. Your attorney can then help you through the claims-filing process – or with litigation, if necessary.
How Car Crashes Frequently Occur?
Car accidents are common occurrences in the Orange County area when people drive negligently. In fact, when drivers violate traffic laws, they are significantly more likely to cause a traffic accident.
Some of the most common road-rule violations that lead to collisions include:
- Running red lights, stop signs, and yield signs at traffic intersections
- Engaging in reckless driving maneuvers, such as road rage
- Failing to use turn signals when it is appropriate to do so
- Excessive speeding
At other times, traffic accidents occur when people drive while distracted. Distracted driving typically occurs when a driver looks at an electronic device, such as a cell phone, smartwatch, or GPS navigation system.
Drivers may also become distracted when they listen to loud music, adjust the volume on their stereo system, or roughhouse with vehicle passengers. Whenever drivers turn their heads away from the road for any reason, they are more likely to cause an accident that leads to others’ injuries.
Car accidents may also happen when drivers become fatigued. If a driver falls asleep at the wheel, they cannot control their vehicle, causing it to careen out of control and strike another vehicle or pedestrian. A fatigued driver may also lack concentration or experience blurred vision, preventing them from driving safely.
Finally, many car accidents occur when drivers are under the illegal influence of alcohol or drugs while behind the wheel. For example, some truck drivers resort to stimulant drugs to try and keep themselves awake for long hours. However, these drugs sometimes have the opposite effect and cause a driver to become sleepy while behind the wheel.
Similarly, alcohol intoxication can affect a driver’s mental and physical abilities. Alcohol is a depressant that slows down a driver’s central nervous system. In addition, alcohol intoxication can cause blurred vision, preventing drivers from seeing other vehicles and pedestrians.
An intoxicated driver may also experience limited reflexes and delayed reaction time, preventing them from stopping their vehicle before causing a crash.
Passenger vehicle drivers are legally intoxicated if they have a blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, of 0.08 percent or higher. However, commercial vehicle drivers and minor drivers under 21 years old must follow more stringent legal standards.
If a drunk driver incurs a conviction for DUI or another criminal offense, they may have to pay monetary fines and even serve jail time. Moreover, if they cause a traffic accident that leads to injuries, they may have to pay civil damages through their insurance company.
If you recently sustained injuries in a car accident that occurred because another driver was negligent, you should immediately talk with legal counsel about your potential options.
A car accident lawyer can evaluate your case, determine your eligibility for filing a car accident claim, and pursue the legal remedies you deserve. For example, you can file a personal injury claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company or a lawsuit against the negligent driver in court.
Recovering Favorable Monetary Damages for Car Accident Losses
The goal of any car accident claim or settlement is to maximize the monetary compensation you receive for your accident-related losses. Total damage awards look different in every car accident case simply because each case is different.
Car accident cases can involve different types of injuries, medical treatment, and other complications. The total monetary award you receive through settlement or litigation will usually depend upon the specific circumstances surrounding your car accident, the force of the collision, the injuries you suffered, the medical treatment you underwent, and the total cost of your medical treatment.
First, car crash victims can recover compensation for their past and anticipated medical costs. If the accident victim suffered one or more permanent injuries, the accident victim can recover damages for their future expected medical costs. If the car crash victim had to miss time from work, they can recover their lost income and compensation for loss of earning capacity.
In addition to out-of-pocket expenses, car accident victims can claim these types of compensation:
- Loss of spousal consortium
- Pain and suffering
- Mental distress
- Loss of the ability to use a body part
- Lost quality of life
- Permanent disfigurement
- Permanent disability
A skilled car accident attorney can help you set realistic expectations regarding your case’s settlement or litigation value. Your lawyer can then develop a plan of action for achieving your goals.
Sometimes, you can obtain compensation for all relevant losses directly from the insurance company. However, even an experienced and persuasive attorney might not always get a favorable settlement offer from an insurance company. This is why you need an attorney with litigation experience, as they might need to escalate the matter by filing a lawsuit in civil court and possibly even going to trial.
Speak with an Experienced Car Accident Attorney Right Away About Your Legal Matter
If you recently sustained injuries in a car crash, time is of the essence. This is because car crash victims only have two years from their accident date to take legal action and file a lawsuit in the court system. If they file their lawsuit after the statute of limitations runs out, absent a few limited exceptions, they cannot recover any monetary damages for their injuries.
A car crash lawyer in your area can work to maximize the monetary recovery you receive for all of your accident-related losses and expenses. Your personal injury attorney in Orange County can help you decide between settlement or litigation and aggressively represent your legal rights and interests going forward.