When Do Car Accident Cases Go to Court in PA?

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Many people are shocked to learn that only about 5% of personal injury cases like crashes will lead to a trial. Car accident claims can be an informal process that can lead to a settlement agreement without a lawsuit even being filed.

Even when you go to court for a car accident, the likely result is still a settlement. Your injury lawyer can advise you on the appropriate strategy for your case, and they may need to adjust based on how the insurance company is acting.

The Philadelphia car accident attorneys at Gibbons & Crichton, Personal Injury and Accident Lawyers have extensive experience in dealing with auto insurance companies, and we know how to pressure them to do the right thing.

How Often Do Car Accident Cases Go to Court?

You may enter the legal process with the impression that your case is automatically going to go to trial in front of a jury. Most people think of litigation as the lead-up to a climactic moment in the courtroom where your lawyer is cross-examining witnesses in front of a jury.

The truth is that very few car accident cases will ever see the inside of a courtroom. However, there are circumstances where it is necessary to take your case to trial.

Insurance companies do not like litigation, and they may push your case as far as possible without actually ending up in court. You are the one who possesses the legal rights, and it is your decision whether to go to trial.

Should You Take Your Car Accident Claim to Court?

You have two options for obtaining financial compensation after someone else is in a car accident with you. The first option, which is one used by many attorneys, is to begin the claims process with the insurance company.

The claims process is more informal. You submit your claim to the insurance company, and they will review and evaluate your submission. Then, they would decide whether to accept liability and make a settlement offer or deny your claim entirely.

If your claim is denied, the only avenue is to then file a lawsuit against the responsible driver, which the insurance company will have to defend in court. The insurance company does not get the final say when they deny a claim.

Depending on your lawyer’s advice, you could also begin the legal process by filing a lawsuit against the driver in court. You would then develop your case through the discovery process, and it could ultimately result in a trial.

However, the reality of the situation is that very few lawsuits that are filed end up going the entire distance. Most of these cases will end up in a settlement agreement before they go in front of a jury.

Could You Be Forced to Go to Trial for a Car Accident?

There are times when you may have no choice but to go to trial.

The insurance company blames you

One instance that could force you to fight is when the insurance company is wrongfully blaming you, either in whole or in part, for the accident.

They know that Pennsylvania uses modified comparative negligence as its law in personal injury cases. This law holds that you cannot receive any financial compensation if you are more than 50% to blame for the accident.

In addition, your compensation would be reduced by the percentage of blame that you bear if it was under 50%. Insurance companies often use this to try to cut the amount that they have to pay you.

In many cases, your lawyer would need to defend your actions surrounding the car accident. If the insurance company persists in blaming you, and they will not listen to the evidence that your lawyer has presented, you will have no choice but to have the jury decide the matter.

The offer is too low

The insurance company may also make you a stingy settlement offer and refuse to budge. They may have an entirely different view of your damages and what they owe you.

In the end, the insurance company does not have the power of a dictator. As much as they like to tell you otherwise, they are your equal who is trying to reach an agreement with you. If the insurance company will not pay the amount you deserve, again, you can have the jury decide the amount of your damages. Many plaintiffs end up with more money in a jury trial than they would have received in a settlement.

Why Car Accident Claims Resolve Out of Court

There are reasons why insurance companies do not like litigation. First, they need to pay their bill when it comes to paying their lawyer.

We work for you on a contingency basis, and we do not charge you unless you win. Not so for the insurance company. They need to pay their lawyer, either on an hourly or a flat fee basis.

Litigation expenses eat into their profits measurably, and insurance companies do not like to bear these costs.

In addition, juries can be unpredictable, and they may award you far more money than the insurance company thinks.

Should You Go to Trial?

You are also taking your risks when the case goes to trial. Even if the insurance company has accepted liability, it does not mean that the jury will see it the same way.

You still need to present the evidence of negligence to the jury, they will decide the facts of the case. There is a chance that the jury may not see things your way, and you may end up without compensation entirely. You are taking an undeniable risk if you go to court with your case.

Nonetheless, you may be involved in an intractable dispute that cannot be resolved. You may simply have no choice but to go to trial. You can rest assured that most cases will settle at some point, even if you have filed a lawsuit. Many cases will settle after the conclusion of discovery, and some may even settle on the eve of a jury trial.

Contact a Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyer Today

If you or a loved one has suffered a personal injury, you need an attorney who has experience in the courtroom and is not afraid to fight for the compensation you deserve.

The experienced attorneys at Gibbons & Crichton, Personal Injury and Accident Lawyers are no strangers to the inside of a courtroom. You can schedule a free initial consultation with one of our attorneys by sending us a message through our website or by calling us today at 215-274-0173.

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