A large number of car accident claims will settle out of court. This means that the attorney for the victim and the attorney or insurance adjuster for the at-fault driver are able to agree on an acceptable compensation amount without the need for a trial and award determination by a jury. However, there are times when an out-of-court settlement is not possible and, in these cases, your claim could go to trial.
How Most Car Accident Claims Work
In a straightforward car crash case, fault is determined at the scene by a responding police officer and the injured victim, if he shares no fault in the crash, he should be compensated for his injuries by the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Some factors that can complicate this process include shared or undetermined fault, lack of insurance coverage, and catastrophic or fatal injuries. When facing one of these factors, an injured victim is wise to hire an experienced car accident attorney. Even in these cases, a settlement is often reached out of court. The attorney representing the victim can present evidence from the scene of the crash and medical records proving the severity of the victim’s injuries. This can help obtain a fair settlement from the at-fault party’s insurer.
When Litigation Becomes Necessary
When a settlement cannot be negotiated between the victim’s attorney and the at-fault party’s insurance company, the next step may be to file suit in court and have a judge and jury decide the facts of the case at trial. The following complications could force your attorney to take your car crash case to court to get you the best result:
- The insurance company will not agree to your dollar amount. If the other party’s insurance company believes you have asked for more money than your case is worth, it will refuse to meet the demand made by your attorney on your behalf. While some back and forth is normal, even when a case is settled out of court, if you and your attorney believe your case is worth more than what the other side is offering, it may be worth it to litigate.
- The other side is calling into question who was at fault for the crash. If fault is not clearly established, the other driver’s insurance agent or attorney may refuse to settle because they believe you were at fault or that you share blame in the accident. Both Kansas and Missouri follow comparative negligence laws, which means that liability can be divided among multiple parties in an accident. If you believe you played no part in causing the accident and the other driver disagrees, you may end up going to court for a jury determination.
- The insurance company does not believe you are injured. If the insurance company is questioning the severity of your injuries or accusing you of blaming a pre-existing condition on the accident, you may need to go to court to prove your case. Your attorney will gather relevant medical records and may call your doctor to the stand during trial to testify about your injuries.
Neither Side Really Wants to Go to Trial
Taking a car accident case to litigation is neither side’s ideal scenario. Jury trials take time and cost money. Juries can be unpredictable and there are no guarantees that you will get a better result than you would with an out-of-court settlement. However, when an insurance company refuses to grant you the compensation to which you are entitled, a trial may be your best chance. No good attorney would recommend going to trial unless it was absolutely necessary to get you the compensation you will need to recover from your injuries and financial losses.
Have You Been Injured In A Kansas City Area Car Accident?
If you've been injured in a car accident you need to speak with an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our Kansas City office directly at 816.471.5111 to schedule your free consultation.