After you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident, you may be concerned that you will have to go to court to resolve your case and receive compensation for your damages. While there is the possibility of court, the likelihood is relatively low.

If you were not at fault for the accident, you should not have to pay for your medical expenses out of pocket. The negligent driver should be held liable for your injuries and damages. The idea of having to go to court may be stressful and overwhelming, but in most cases, car accident cases are settled outside of court. It’s rare to have to go to trial.

Are Car Accidents Common?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were over 5.2 million reported accidents in 2020. While car accidents are certainly a common occurrence, court cases that involve them are not as abundant. It would seem that with as many car accidents that occur annually that the courthouses would be flooded. Fortunately, that is not the case.

Personal injury settlements cover a variety of claims, including car accident settlements. Statistics show that approximately 95% of all personal injury cases are settled outside of court. Therefore, roughly 5% of all personal injury claims and suits make it to trial. This further shows that the likelihood of your case needing to be settled is low.

Why You May Have to Go to Court for a Motor Vehicle Accident

While the chances of going to court are low, there are a few reasons that you may end up in court:

No Settlement From the Insurance Company 

One of the biggest reasons you would have to go to court is to fight for reasonable compensation. In some instances, negotiations with the insurance company do not go well, and the last resort would be for your lawyer to fight in court on your behalf. Even though this process can be long and drawn out, it is well worth receiving higher compensation

Insurance companies are responsible for preserving their bottom line, meaning their main objective is to offer you the lowest possible settlement, hoping you will accept it. They will likely do everything they can to save money. In many situations, the insurance company may try to blame you for the accident to avoid paying you what you truly deserve.

In the majority of motor vehicle accident claims, it is possible to resolve these cases out of court by negotiating an agreeable settlement between the victim and the insurance company.

No Insurance For the At-Fault Driver

Many people choose to drive without the minimum insurance coverage—or even worse, without any insurance at all. In most states, this is illegal, but unfortunately, this does not stop the thousands of drivers who choose to drive without the coverage they need. If an accident occurs with one of these drivers, you may have to take them to court.

Keep in mind that while you have the option to take a negligent driver to court because they have no insurance, it does not guarantee that you will have your damages compensated. It is possible that because they were driving with no insurance, they may not be financially capable of paying for your damages. By taking the uninsured driver to court, you can at least get them punished and held accountable for their negligent actions.

At the very least, bringing your case to court could provide you with different types of compensation, such as punitive damages. If you experience a car accident involving a driver who has no insurance, it is best to hire an experienced lawyer to handle your case.

Photo of a Rear-end Car Accident

Getting a Summons For an Unrelated Case

In rare circumstances, you may be called into court separately from the claim that you filed. If the negligent driver you filed a claim against receives a traffic violation due to the car accident they caused and decides to fight that traffic violation, it is possible that you will get summoned as a witness.

Why Do Insurance Companies Offer Settlements?

It is not in the best interest of insurance companies to go to court regarding personal injury cases. If the case makes it to trial and you win, they are required to award you the amount you initially requested in the settlement. Therefore, if the insurance company feels that you have a strong case against them or if they see that you are working with an experienced car accident lawyer, they will likely try to avoid court by any means necessary.

What to Do After a Car Accident

After a car accident, there are certain steps to take to protect yourself and improve the chances of success of your case. These include:

  • Alert the accident to the police. The law requires you to do this if there are any injuries or if property damage is more than $500.
  • Take photos of the accident scene, your vehicle’s damage, and any injuries immediately after the crash
  • Document all medical bills, vehicle damages, and any repairs made
  • Do not speak with an insurance adjuster before consulting with a lawyer

Do Not Wait to File Your Claim

The statute of limitations in Georgia to file a personal injury claim is two years from the date the injury occurred. However, there may be exceptions that give additional time or shorten the window. The process can be long and confusing, and you will not want to face this battle alone. Take the time today to reach out to one of our car accident attorneys at The Pendergrass Law Firm to discuss the circumstances of your personal injury case. You can reach us through our online contact form or by phone to get started on your case today.

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