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Will My Car Accident Case Go to Trial?

Posted on November 27, 2022

A common concern after a severe car accident is whether you will have to go to trial to recover compensation. Although it is a possibility, over 90 percent of car accident cases settle before reaching the courtroom. Therefore, it is unlikely that your case will go to trial. 

Reasons Why You Might Have to Go to Trial

There are a couple of reasons why your car accident case may need to go to trial. These include the following: 

The Insurance Company Refuses Fair Settlement

The most common reason car accident cases go to trial is when the insurance company disputes liability and refuses to settle for fair compensation. If they refuse to budge in negotiations, your attorney may advise you to file a lawsuit. However, filing a lawsuit can sometimes put enough pressure on the insurer to settle before a trial date. Also, keep in mind that many cases still settle even after you file a lawsuit, so there is still a possibility that your case will not go to trial. 

The At-Fault Driver is Uninsured

If the driver responsible for causing your accident is uninsured, your only option may be to sue them personally for compensation. However, it is best to seek advice from an attorney in this situation, as many uninsured drivers do not have the financial means to pay for a crash. Therefore, suing them can be a waste of time and money. Alternatively, if you carry collision coverage, you can file a claim with your insurance company regardless of fault, but you will have to pay your deductible.   

Pros and Cons of Settlement vs. Trial

Here are the pros of settling a car accident case versus going to trial: 

  • Takes Less Time: Recovering compensation often takes much less time when you settle a claim. 
  • Guaranteed Award: A settlement means guaranteed money. 
  • Less Stress: Preparing and going to trial can be very stressful. 
  • It’s Confidential: Details of a settlement can remain confidential. 
  • Less Expensive: Settling a car accident case is significantly less expensive than going to trial. 
  • Juries are Unpredictable: There is no way to know how much compensation a jury will award you. 

Here are the potential pros of trying your case in court:

  • Higher Award: A jury may be inclined to award you a much higher compensation than an insurer is willing to settle for if you suffered a severe injury or if the defendant (at-fault party) was extremely reckless. 
  • Defendant is Held Accountable: If you settle the case, you may not feel a sense of justice compared to seeing a defendant lose in court. 
  • Avoid Regret: After accepting a settlement offer, there is a chance that you will regret not knowing whether you could have recovered more compensation had your case gone to trial. 

Generally, settling a car accident case is in your best interests as long as the compensation is fair. However, it is critical to consult a Waco car accident attorney first to avoid settling for less than you deserve.