When most people hire an attorney, they assume they’ll have to go to court shortly afterward. However, this isn’t always the case. There are many situations that can be handled without ever setting foot into a courtroom and going before a judge and jury. Here’s what happens after you hire a car accident attorney.
If I Hire a Car Accident Attorney, Do I Have to Go to Court?
You don’t typically have to go to court after you hire a car accident lawyer. Your Kansas City car accident lawyer can advise you on whether or not court is likely for your specific case. Some of the reasons you may need to take your case to trial after a car accident are discussed below.
1. You’re Partially Responsible
It’s not always clear who’s liable for the accident you were involved in. If you may be partially liable, then you might need to go to court. Sometimes your attorney will be able to determine what percentage liable you were through an investigation, so no court date will be required. However, sometimes liability remains unclear, so a judge will need to make the decision instead.
Keep in mind that you can still win compensation if you’re partially responsible for the accident. If you were less than 50% responsible, then you will be entitled to a percentage of the amount you’re trying to settle for. For example, If you’re 20% responsible for the accident, then you can win 80% of the settlement.
2. There Are Multiple People Involved
Usually, car accidents involve you, the other driver, and the passengers in both of your vehicles. However, sometimes accidents can involve more vehicles, some pedestrians, and so on. These can make the cases a little more complicated, and these more complex cases are more likely to go to trial. It’s still possible to settle this matter outside of the courtroom, but sometimes going to trial is simply the best choice.
3. The Insurance Company Refuses to Settle
Insurance companies don’t like paying out large sums, so they’ll always drive a hard bargain. You may spend days, weeks, or even months in negotiations trying to get them to raise their offer. Some shady insurance companies may even try to lowball you despite knowing you’re entitled to a much heftier sum.
However, most of the time your attorney’s keen negotiation skills will be enough to get the insurance company to offer you an amount that’s adequate enough to cover all of your damages. Other times it seems the company will simply refuse to settle, so you’ll have to take the matter to trial.
How Are Matters Settled Outside of the Court Room?
1. You’ll Discuss the Case with Your Lawyer
Ensuring your lawyer is up to date on all the information relating to your car accident is vital. You need to talk about the events leading up to the accident, what happened during it, and what you’ve been doing since. Your attorney will also help you understand your auto claim and any difficult legal terms that arise.
Talk about what happened directly after the accident, in the emergency room, and on the scene, and ensure the attorney has all the details so they can begin building a case.
2. You’ll Wait for the Attorney to Investigate
Your attorney will conduct an investigation to determine who is liable for the accident. Some of the things they’ll do will include:
Speaking to witnesses
Listening to your side of the story
Listening to the other driver’s side of the story
Taking or sourcing photographs and videos of the scene/accident
Getting a medical expert to assess your physical injuries
Getting an expert to evaluate the damage done to your vehicle
From there, they’ll begin piecing together the evidence to build a case to defend you. Your attorney will ideally have a wide network of people they can call upon to help investigate this case.
3. You’ll Determine How Much Compensation You Want
Your attorney will help you determine how much you should be getting to cover your damages. You can be reimbursed for medical bills, future medical costs, current and future loss of income, emotional damage, and much more. Your attorney has the experience required to put a price on all of these things.
4. You’ll Let Your Attorney Negotiate
Your attorney has much more negotiation experience than you. They know exactly how to sway people and get them on your side, and they’re used to working with insurance companies who don’t want to pay up. They’ll handle the back-and-forth, and they’ll advise you on whether or not to accept any offers the insurance company puts forward.
Car accident cases don’t always have to go to court, but rest assured that a highly experienced attorney will be able to handle yours if it does need to go to trial. Most of the time, your attorney will be skilled enough to settle this case without having to enter the courtroom.