Blog

What are the Chances of Winning Car Accident Settlements?

When there is a car accident case out there, there’s a number of different factors that you might or might not have control over. If you’ve got damages, you need to prove the other driver is at fault.  Typically, if that’s the case and you’ve got everything. But do remember 95% of cases where personal injury claims do get settled outside of court, and then 57% of them go to trial with the ruling favoring the plaintiff. 

However, there are some factors that do determine whether or not you’re going to win your car accident lawsuit.

First, insurance companies do prefer to settle these cases outside of court because settlement allows for more control of the outcome at the end, when there is an award decided. 

In car accident claims, you don’t have to worry about proof of liability for damages like in medical malpractice or slip and fall claims. You don’t have to prove that the other driver owes you duty of care, simply because if the drier is behind the wheel, they’re automatically responsibility for driving safely and following the laws of traffic. 

It’s also easier to prove that the other driver caused the accident and harm towards you, simply because they are supposed to be responsible. 

What Factors Prevent You From Getting Settlement 

There are a few factors that do determine this. 

First, not having proof the other driver caused fault for the crash. It may come from the witnesses, police reports, photos from the accident, and even reconstruction specialists who put the accident together. Having a good attorney is important for proving fault in accidents, and you’re not likely to win if you don’t have enough proof simply because there isn’t proof of liability, the lawyer will tell you about this. 

The next, is not having enough damages to prove compensation. These might include the medical records, the documentation of the income lost, and of course, testimony from other people, including doctors. You also might face more problems if on your insurance policy you chose the verbal threshold option when it comes to limitation. When this happens, you need to prove that the injury does meet the right criteria for proving pain and suffering. 

Then there is the problem of not having accident attorneys on your side., there isn’t a law that says you need to have an attorney represent you, but not hiring lawyers will affect you getting the right compensation. If you don’t have that, then you’re not going to get the correct compensation necessary from this.  If you’re not represented enough, you’re going to get your claims denied instead of getting the compensation and settlement that you truly deserve. Remember, spending a little bit more on the right lawyer can help you, and there is always a chance that you can get a lot more out of this. 

So how much is your case worth? The true answer is that you won’t get a specific number. 

But do remember the following: 

  • You can’t control the limits of the policy on the auto insurance of the driver, but you might be able to get more money from under-insured motorist coverage. 
  • You don’t’ have control of the damages sustained, but you can maximize this with an attorney 
  • You can’t control where the crash occurs, but this can be a big part of course in the types of damages you might get from this. 

Remember to always get a car accident lawyer for car accident claims, simply because it can help you win the case and money.

What to Expect at Depositions of Car Accidents

Lawsuits that seek damages from losses in car accidents are considered civil suits. The laws do vary between each state, but they are generally simple to follow. 

They occur in three stages: the commencement, the petition filed, and then the defending party filing answers to the documents to the court as well. 

What’s Discovery 

Once the filings are done, then, it moves to the next part of this, the “discovery.” This is the longest part of the lawsuit, which allows both sides to give one another information, and then documentation on the claims from the defense as well. 

This step usually involves the exchange of different documents that are created as a result of the ensuing accident. These include medical bills, statements, reports from the police, and photos and other information of the scene. There may also be interrogatories that are used, involving questions sent from one party to another. 

The Deposition 

Sometimes, information will be gathered through depositions, which is where parties answer questions of others that have the information that’s relevant to the accident. 

For example, the number of drivers involved in the incident that happened and their ensuring passengers that were there. they may also get information on any witnesses, the doctors who conducted the medical treatment, and the officers involved. 

There isn’t really a limit to how many people can get involved in this. The only requirement is that they need to be connected to the incident. 

Where are they Conducted? 

Most anywhere, but it needs to be in a place that’s reasonably close to the witnesses involved.  In New York though, there’s exceptions, and this is usually when they get the attorneys involved. 

Usually, they can be held in informal settings including doctor’s offices, courthouse libraries, conference rooms, or even in living rooms. 

Typically, the attorney requesting this deposition, any eyewitnesses, and other attorneys and the court reporter all meet up, and this is where the testimony is done. 

All Testimony is Given Under Oath 

The court reporter is one of the most important parts of this process. That’s because the testimony is given under oath.  The court reporter will use machines to get every word that’s said by the parties during this deposition. 

Testimony under oath does carry penalty, and that’s perjury. So if witnesses are found to not be giving correct testimony on purpose, this does escalate to a civil or criminal case and penalties. 

The Questions 

Typically, with a deposition, the attorneys begin with basic questions about who they are, and the relationship they have to the lawsuit. 

From there, questions do vary depending on the purpose of this.  At this point, they might ask about injuries, any details of what the witnesses saw, and pretty much anything that’s connected to the case at hand. 

If the witness for example was a treating physician, they might ask for medical prognosis and information about the injures and treatment this person got. 

At times, they might also utilize law enforcement to get more detail about the information involving the accident. 

This can take a few hours, or sometimes even longer, depending on the different rules and information that you need as well. 

Each state has specific rules that are important to follow. For an example of course, if you’re giving a deposition on car accident cases, you won’t have to worry about one-day notices.  Most of the time, you get about five business days’ notice on this. 

For larger cases, depositions are utilized. While it isn’t for everyone, there is still a lot that you can do with this questioning.

What to Do if You’re at Fault for a Car Accident

Sometimes, it’s hard to tell who was responsible for a car accident. 

When vehicles hit one another during merging, or crashes happen in parking lots, it’s hard to determine who is liable. 

But what should you do if you know for certain that you’re responsible for the wreck.  What If you’re in this mess, let’s go over a few things that you can do to fix the issue. 

What to Do After the Dust Settles 

Let’s say you had a moment of relapse, and you suddenly hit a car in front of you. You pressed on the brakes, but you still hit the back of the car, causing damage to both vehicles and hurting the other driver. 

Fault is clearly on you, so what do you do now? 

First, obviously let the dust settle and exchange the information, and make sure that you let insurance know about this too. 

Car insurance will give you cove rage that align with the details that are spelled out within your policies, that’s in accordance with the laws of the state. But let’s look a little bit deeper at this. 

Fault Versus No-Fault 

Usually, when you’re in the fault state, it means that the person who was responsible for the crash, or the insurer will be responsible for the losses of those harmed during the accident, which includes bills, damages, wages that are lost, and pain and suffering 

In those “no fault” states, the insurance laws are created where the vehicle owners must have “personal injury protection” which starts after an accident to pay for bills and other losses that are suffered by the holder of the policy, regardless of who is at fault of course.  Only in some instances do at-fault drivers get sued in no-fault states. 

Vehicle Damage Liability 

No-fault insurance doesn’t apply to the damage of the vehicle, and the responsibility does come down to the insurance at this point. 

When you’re at fault, the other drive must submit claims to their own insurance, but the insurer will also look to both insurance carriers for the reimbursement.

So you’re not gonna be responsible for the repair costs of the driver, but the thing is, your premiums will go up when you have a policy renewal, especially if you have citations or moving violations connected to the crash as well. 

Liability for Crashing 

When it comes to crash injuries, in “fault” states, the person who is injured can sue you, and it’s a personal injury lawsuit that comes because of negligence during driving. 

Insurance companies will give you liability coverage to protect the drivers against these types of issues, but most don’t’ carry the amounts needed to pay the injury claims, especially if there was severe bodily harm.  If you’re sued for damages, you might want to make sure that you do take some time to ensure that you do hold enough coverage for each case. 

But do remember that fault during these kinds of cases are not as easy to understand as you think. It does depend on the type of state that you live in, who is at fault as a driver, and whether or not you’re carrying enough insurance. 

There also may be eyewitnesses called to confirm that there were no turn signals used, or even police footage to help determine this as well. 

Remember that accidents do happen, but make sure you’re ready for whatever whenever a claim is made against you, to help you understand whether or not you’re at fault for causing the accident.

How do You File a Car Accident Lawsuit?

If you’re injured because of a car wreck, and you filed claims with the insurance company of the other driver, but the settlement takes are stalled, you may want to make this go a bit faster. You or the lawyer you have may also struggle to settle on a lawsuit settlement that you feel is fair. 

Should you take what’s offered by the company, or should you file a personal injury lawsuit? Find out in this article, on how you start a car accident injury lawsuit

Sue or Settle? 

This is a question that many have, and it does boil straight down to money. Specifically it’s what the insurance company is offering, and what you personally believe the accident is worth. 

If your lawyer thinks your case is worth a lot more than what the insurance company is giving, then it’s unlikely the insurance company will make the offer larger. In that instance, it’s time to start eh lawsuit.

But how far apart do these two sides need to be? 

Well, to better understand, there isn’t one specific value, but instead a value range. 

This is partially due to the fact that the value of the person who is injured, often times called pain and suffering, doesn’t have exact calculations. So a claim might not be worth $50k. instead, it might be a little lower or a little higher.  If you look at the claims that way, that’s why it may seem like the accident settlement should be higher.  Maybe the number isn’t wrong, but it’s also at a higher end. 

When Should you Settle and Sue? 

Usually, if the settlement money is not that far off, let’s say it’s slightly under 40K, or maybe right around 50K, then you should settle. 

However, if it’s super low, then it’s time to file lawsuits. 

If the final offer is $30K, then you might feel justified in the lawsuit. However, you should keep in mind that the moment you take a lawsuit, you will not be able to talk settlement for a bit. That’s because the pre-trial investigation and the discovery will happen, and insurance companies really wont’ care. 

Also, once you sue, the out-of-pocket expenses and case costs tend to increase a lot, and it’s possible that settlements later on will not reflect that money. 

Also, the more time delay there is, the higher the expenses are, so make sure you keep this in mind before you take the risk, and begin suing. 

Your Lawyer Has the Right Opinion. 

Your lawyer does have the right to tell you whether or not you should sue. They’re probably the most important, simply because they know the true value of a case. 

Sure, you can have valuation, but it’s not as obvious as you think. 

Chances are that the lawyer or even a larger firm has a lot of experience with these types of claims, and they have the inside information on how this will go, along with the outcomes. 

So if you want the final say on this, then you might want to consider them. 

The best thing to do though is to start the process, and from there, you can work on getting the next part of this started.

If you feel that it isn’t right to take the settlement, then don’t. it’s important to understand that, I you’re not sure, always talk to the lawyer to get the help that you need and the advice that’ll help with the ultimate decision on what you should do, and whether or not to take the deal or not.

How to Start A Car Accident Lawsuit Case

Car accidents are either resolved quickly via insurance or a quick settlement.  However, if that’s not the case, a car accident lawsuit will occur.  If you want to get more than the limit in your state though, there are a few things you must do first, and that of course is starting a pre-trial process and case, preferably within civil court and with the assistance of a car accident lawyer.  Here, we’ll tell you how you can start the case, and what to expect at the beginning of the case. 

Starting the Case 

First thing is to start the complaint.  This is where you sue the initial documents, which is the “complaint” that lays out every part of the case that you’re going to take against the other person. 

You will identify all of the parties that are part of this, any of the allegations and what they’re based on, and the support for every single claim. 

Every claim is called as “cause of action” which means that in car accident cases, the plaintiff might bring separate cases of action whether it’s negligence, pain and suffering, or even inflicting emotional distress. The complaint will also ask for a dollar amount for compensation of the damages (called Prayer for Relief.)

There is then a filing fee, and typically, this varies from each state.  It does cost anywhere from a hundred to a few hundred for civil complaints, and understand that the filing fee might be added to the judgement, so if you win, the other side might need to pay this.

At this point the court clerk will make a file for this, called the “process” which does require the defendant to answer this within a specific period of time, and usually, it’s delivered straight to the other person. Every state though has its own set of rules that go along with this, and you can just let the Sheriff or a police officer serve the process to the defendant. While there is a tiny charge, this can be reimbursed in the event of you winning the case. 

Then of course, there was your answer that you’ll get from the defendant. This is done after the complaint is served, where the defendant has all of the legal defense that they have respond to the allegations.  Sometimes, they will say it’s ridiculous, but if the defense doesn’t have an answer in it, it’s then waived, but that isn’t applicable to every case. 

The Pre-Trial 

The pre-trial procedures then include the different interrogatories, questioning, and any document requests. This s also where settlement negotiations will happen too, since it happens at the same time the court-based ones take place, so it could get resolved at a certain point and then the trial is dropped. 

With this thought, the best thing for you to do is to make sure you follow all of the correct pre-trial procedures so that you can get the settlement that you need. When it’s later taken to trial, you can of course take this as well to the end, where you might win the settlement. 

In that case, you’ll be able to as well get the money that you deserve in order to get the help that you need, and the pain and suffering compensation that you want.

But make sure that you do follow all of the procedures in order to make sure that you get the care that you need. If you don’t follow this, you might lose it, so make sure that you do this before you start on the case.

What Happens During Car Accident Cases

Most car accident cases and claims get resolved before lawsuits are filed, and of the ones that are filed, most get resolved in settlements before the trial begins.

But sometimes things aren’t that lucky, and not every case can be settled outside of court. Sometimes the parties are unable to agree on this, or maybe the parties agree that the person got injured, but no agreement on the compensation amount happens when they try to make it work. 

If that happens, you might wonder what may happen. Well, you’re in luck as we’ll look at the different ways that these trials occur, and what happens during these. 

Jury Selection 

Most of the time the jury is what decides the key parts of car accident cases, most of which are comprised of about 12 people, but sometimes it can be a much lower number. 

The final part of this is called a von dire, which is where the jury members do get selected. They are asked a few questions so the jury can understand a little bit more about what’s going on.  

The Opening Statements 

After they’re selected, the parties make opening statements, with the plaintiff going first, but sometimes the defense may start. This is the part that lays out the case, to prove or refute what’s going on, and usually this is about 15-20 minutes. 

The Presentation of Evidence 

After that, evidence is presented, with the plaintiff going first, because the “burden of proof” lies on the plaintiff. The attorney will call witnesses to present this evidence as well. 

They may have the witnesses testify the observations of what they saw during the incident, and of course what happened after that. They also may call for bystanders or other witnesses for the wreck too. 

There is more of a similar pattern done in this case, especially since not every eyewitness will be the same.  They also may ask questions to get a deeper understanding of the injuries that the plaintiff did suffer from. They also might call on the doctor and other medical people to properly determine what’s been going on. 

The Defense’s Side 

Then it’s the defendant’s turn, which is where they present the evidence and everything necessary to prove that they weren’t at fault.  Due to this, the defendant presents the evidence in the same format, where they call a variety of witnesses to testify to tackle all of the issues related to the case itself. The attorney typically will support these claims too in most cases by calling witnesses.  They might tackle the claims that are there, and also what they might be dealing with. 

Closing Statements 

Finally, there is the closing statements to finish the case. 

This is where the attorneys will give a final statement on the evidence that’s there. this will then persuade the jury to decide whether or not they want to in favor of one side or the other. 

Deliberation from the Jury 

Then there is deliberation from the jury, where they discuss this amongst themselves in order to reach a final settlement. This could take several hours, or take only a few minutes. But there is no set limit on time. 

Finally, they reach a verdict, which they will discuss with the jury, and from there, they will decide who is the winner of the settlement case. 

Typically, these types of cases only take a few days, but if it’s a much lengthier case, then it might end up being a lot longer than before, so it’s important to understand the different parts of the procedures.

The Demand Letter In A Car Accident Injury Case

The first and perhaps one of the most crucial steps in an injury claim after a car accident is a demand letter. This letter is issued by the injured claimant, and it describes the facts and circumstances related to the car accident. It also contains information about the medical treatment and lost wages as consequences of the accident.

Before drafting a demand letter

You or your car accident lawyer can start drafting a demand letter once you have opened a claim with the company providing coverage to the other driver. You will need to gather all the information required to make a forceful argument for why you qualify for a fair entitlement. For this purpose, you have to get a copy of the police report, witness statements, medical bills and records, information about lost wages, and any notes made during the recovery period.

Relating the facts

Although recounting circumstances on your demand letter may seem unnecessary, you have to do it. That way, you can describe your version of events to the opposing party and their compensation company. That will give them a glimpse of the testimony the jury would hear should the case makes it to the courtroom.

During this step, you have to recall the exact sequence of events leading to the accident. You should also explain the direction the at-fault driver was going, weather conditions, and any defensive maneuvers you took to avoid the accident. Make sure to back up your claims with the police report and statements from witnesses. You can bring strong evidence of liability to attention by highlighting the citation in the police report suggesting the fault from the other driver.

Injuries and medical treatment

Providing a detailed account of injuries and their subsequent treatment after the accident is necessary. First off, you will have to describe pain 1or symptoms felt at the accident scene. You will also have to state whether emergency services arrived on time to provide initial treatment. Provide citation to any treatment report prepared at the scene. Be sure to mention all medical treatment from the injury date until you discontinued getting active treatment for the injury. Also, mention names of physicians, and provide details about their clinics.

Medical expenses

After mentioning your medical treatment for car accident injuries, provide an itemized list of your medical bills. It should include the cost of ambulance transportation, prescription medicines, and other medical services. Be sure to attach copies of medical bills.

Lost wages

You may qualify to get compensated for any lost wages after the accident. You will have to provide information about your income and the amount of time or number of days you couldn’t work. You also have to mention if you had to use your vacation time. You can also get a copy of records from your employer to verify the number of days you missed work. Self-employed people should also provide detailed information regarding how to calculate any lost wage amount.

Formulating a demand letter can be hectic, but it remains crucial. You can work with a car accident lawyer to tilt the balance in your favor.

How To Set Your Car Injury Case

According to stats, most car accidents do not go to trial. Instead, parties to a car accident reach an agreeable settlement before going to court.

The best way to get a fair settlement for a car accident case is to present it in the most compelling way to the other party and the company covering their car accident compensation. This process starts with a demand letter and proceeds with negotiations. In this article, we will discuss how to set your car accident claim.

The demand letter

A demand letter contains the facts and circumstances of an accident and subsequent medical treatment. It serves as a prerequisite for settlement negotiations. It also provides an injured person an opportunity to present his or her case to the opposing party and their compensation company.

A well-drafted demand letter contains a detailed overview of the events before and during the accident. This letter also explains the medical treatment received and the accounting of everything from medical bills to lost wages. This letter asks for the amount of compensation money significantly higher than the injured party would accept. That’s where the negotiations between the parties begin.

Negotiating after an initial offer

The compensation company will review your demand letter and any other documentation you provided. The adjuster will make a settlement offer. It could seem like an underestimated offer, but don’t be surprised by that. The adjuster usually has a higher amount of allotted money than he initially offers. That is why you have to refrain from accepting that first offer.

You can respond to that initial offer by preparing a written response. That response fundamentally declines the initial offer. It should explain why that offer is unacceptable. You can tell that the initial offer did not cover all of your expenses, or it doesn’t talk much about the pain and suffering after the accident.

Back and forth negotiations may continue for a while. If those negotiations are not much fruitful, you can provide some additional information, such as a letter from your doctor or photos of injuries or scars that continue to remain painful.

Mediation

Sometimes, the negotiation may reach a standstill. At this point, both parties can agree on allowing a third party to intervene to help reach a settlement. A mediator is usually a car accident lawyer who has extensive experience dealing with personal injury cases.

The mediator usually offers a fresh perspective by pointing out the weaknesses and strengths of the case put forward by each party. The job of a successful mediator is to bridge the gap between both parties to help them reach a fair and agreeable settlement.

Accepting the offer

Whether through simple negotiation or mediation, you and the opposing party will come to a point of agreement. That’s where you can get a settlement. However, be sure to double-check everything before accepting the offer. You have to see if it covers your medical bills and other expenses that arose due to the accident.

Remember, the best way to take your car accident injury case forward is to hire a car accident lawyer. That way, you will have a skilled person representing you throughout the case.