- September 16, 2021
- Attorney David Mann
- Car Accidents
Involvement in a vehicle crash can lead to trying days ahead, and you may be asking how often do car accident cases go to court? While the last thing you want to do is drag out the process and delay receipt of payments for medical expenses, replacement of property, and other potential damages, sometimes going to court may be your best option to get the full compensation you deserve.
How Often Do Car Accident Cases Go to Court?
Today’s reality is that accident claims can quickly become complicated and disputable. In some instances, acceptable settlements will not be reached at all, and you need to prepare for going to court. Luckily, however, how often do car accident cases go to court can be answered positively, and that answer is “rarely.”
No one, including the insurance companies, wants to spend excessive time and money preparing for court and defending their position. As a result, the majority of car accident cases reach a settlement with the insurance companies involved. Cases that aren’t settled will most likely find a resolution during a pre-trial mediation, eliminating the need for a trial in front of a judge or jury.
However, there are times when going to court is the only option. Below we discuss some situations when this may occur.
When Accident Fault Is in Question
The other driver involved in your accident may maintain his or her innocence in causing the wreck and may even falsely point blame your way.
The assignment of fault, however, will depend on whether your state is an at-fault state or a no-fault state. In a no-fault state, fault does not need to be established, as both parties are required to have their own insurance with whom they file a claim. If you live in an at-fault state, like Georgia, fault is assigned based on circumstances surrounding the accident itself. You may even be found partially responsible for the accident and be apportioned a part of the fault or negligence. This can affect the amount of money you receive.
But who determines and assigns fault in a car accident? Again, this will depend on what state you live in. In Georgia, a police report may suggest who is at fault, but an insurance adjuster will most likely make that determination, or at least will give their opinion.
Insurance Company Refuses to Offer an Adequate Settlement
Another cause for going to court is when the insurance company for the at-fault driver balks at the amount of compensation being sought. The company may offer a lower settlement, which can be insulting and upsetting. Know that you don’t have to accept the first or even the second settlement offered by an insurance company; you can continue to negotiate or take it to court.
These are just two situations in which proceeding to trial will be necessary in order to seek rightful compensation in your car accident case. There are others, as well, and an experienced car accident lawyer can help identify what these are.
How Long Does a Court Hearing Last for a Car Accident?
Answering the question of how long does a court hearing last for a car accident will depend on all the circumstances surrounding the case. Since every case is unique, different amounts of time may be required to reach a resolution.
Factors that will affect the time a court hearing takes include:
- the severity of the injuries sustained
- the number of parties involved
- assignment of fault
- the strength of your case
- the strength of your opponent’s case
- a willingness to reach a solution and financial settlement.
Some court hearings last just a few days, while others can go on for weeks. Still others can take a year or longer before ever reaching a courtroom. So much has to happen before you appear before the judge or jury, including:
- serving the defendant or defendants with the complaint
- allowing adequate time for defendants to respond to the complaint
- spending time on the discovery phase of the case, which includes witness interviews and evidence exchanges.
Even scheduling court dates and the judge’s time will play a role in how long a hearing or a trial can last.
Once your trial does proceed and both sides have presented their case, the decision may go to a jury for deliberation or to the judge. In Georgia, personal injury cases, including car accidents, must go before a jury for a decision.
What Percentage of Car Accident Cases Go to Trial?
While no exact count is available, many studies do maintain that up to 95% of all car accident cases are resolved or settled without ever going to court. The answer, then, to what percentage of car accident cases go to trial is around 5%.
While that number is extremely low, you need to be aware that your case can easily fall within that 5%. Compensation is not guaranteed if you go to trial, however, so you’ll need to be willing to take that risk.
Being prepared for what’s ahead in a court case will be essential, and working with an experienced car accident lawyer will increase your chances of a successful outcome.
Get Help from Our Car Accident Lawyer Today
Suffering from a car accident can be devastating, and filing an insurance claim to recoup expenses can take time — time you don’t have or can’t afford. Here at Mann Injury Law in Macon, GA, we understand the complications that can arise following your car accident, and we know how to negotiate with insurance companies.
Call our office today at (478) 742-3381 and schedule an informative consultation at no cost. We will review your case, discuss insurance claim options, and also determine whether filing a car accident lawsuit will be to your advantage.