You usually do not have to go to court to recover money to pay for your injuries and car damage after an accident. Most car accident claims are handled by the insurance company and it’s not necessary to file a lawsuit or go to court. But in some cases, you may choose to file a lawsuit and ask a judge or jury to award you money.
If the accident was your fault, the answer is a little different. You may have to go to court if someone who was injured in the accident sues you. If that happens, your insurance company will usually handle your defense, and it will often resolve the case before it gets to trial. If you have received a traffic citation or have been charged with a crime as a result of the accident, you may have to go to court to take care of those issues.
How can I get money after my accident without a lawsuit?
First, report the accident to the insurance company for the driver who was at fault. In many cases, the insurance company will offer you money fairly quickly. While this sounds like a good thing, we recommend that you talk to car accident lawyers in Atlanta before you take any insurance money or sign any paperwork. We have found that these first offers are usually far less than you should receive. The insurance company hopes you will take their quick money so they can settle your claim cheaply and keep more for themselves.
The best way to get money after an accident is to get help from a personal injury lawyer. A good lawyer will launch an independent investigation to gather evidence showing how the accident happened and that you are not to blame. A lawyer will send you to doctors who can diagnose your injuries and predict what they will cost. In other words, a lawyer will build a strong legal case, just as if you were going to court. Your lawyer can then use this evidence to negotiate with the insurance company. When the insurance company sees that you have a good case and could win in court, it will usually offer substantially more money.
Why would I want to file a lawsuit?
There are a few reasons. First, insurance companies sometimes refuse to offer a fair settlement. When that happens, you can choose to file a lawsuit because you believe a judge or jury may award you more money than the insurance company offered.
In addition, in some cases, such as DUI cases, you may be eligible for additional money as “punitive damages.” But you may need to file a lawsuit to get that money.
And finally, if you were in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver, your lawyer may need to get a court judgment to collect money directly from the driver.
Are there risks involved in going to court?
Yes. No matter how strong your case is, you can never be 100% sure what a judge or jury will do. For example, a judge may make a ruling that prevents your lawyer from using some of your strongest evidence. Or a witness may come across poorly on the witness stand, influencing the jury one way or another.
It surprises most people to learn that very few lawsuits actually make it all the way to trial. In many cases, the insurance company eventually offers a reasonable settlement. Insurance company lawyers are all too aware of the risks and costs of going to trial, and they may be eager to avoid the courtroom. In other cases, the judge rules in favor of one party or the other based on a pretrial motion, and no trial is needed.
The best way to understand your rights and avoid the courtroom is to consult with an experienced car accident lawyer. A lawyer can handle your claim from start to finish, leaving you free to focus on your recovery.
Talk to an Atlanta Car Accident Lawyer for Free
Our lawyers have built their careers on helping injured people get the money they deserve—in or out of the courtroom. We don’t charge you anything unless we get money for you. Let us give you a FREE consultation to go over your case and help you decide what to do—with no obligation. Call us at (404) 341-6555 or fill out the form to the right to get your free consultation today.