What Happens If You Lose a Car Accident Lawsuit?
Those who have been involved in a car crash and are facing or preparing a potential lawsuit must understand the implications when the case goes to court and what happens if you lose a car accident lawsuit.
Most car accident cases are resolved outside of court as it is a much faster way to reach a settlement. However, not all cases are the same, and sometimes it is not always easy for all parties to come to an agreement.
Those who were in a car accident and are pursuing legal action against the person at fault may be wondering what happens if things do not go as planned with their lawsuit. Here is all there is to know about losing a car accident case.
Reasons Why a Case May Go to Court
There are two main reasons why car accident cases ended up in court. The first is when a complainant and an insurance company cannot agree on a settlement amount, and the second is when either party cannot agree on who is at fault for the accident.
Being Unable to Come to Agreement
The most common reason car accident claims end up in court is that insurance companies and victims cannot reach a settlement agreement. An insurance company is essentially a business that functions according to its interests and profit margins, often offering unfair settlements to victims.
If this happens and the insurance company refuses to budge and provide a settlement that is fair, victims can file a personal injury lawsuit.
One advantage of having experienced legal assistance while working with insurance companies is that insurers are more willing to negotiate a reasonable settlement before the case goes to trial.
They are more likely to do this with an experienced lawyer present, as Nashville TN auto accident attorneys are experienced and know what a fair settlement amount looks like. The judicial process is generally both costly and time-consuming for all parties involved, and it is avoided wherever possible.
Expert lawyers at The Keating Firm LTD are experienced when dealing with insurance companies and ensure that victims are not forced to settle for anything less than they deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation, so that we can get to work negotiating a fair settlement.
Being Unable to Agree on Who Is at Fault
Every case is different, and sometimes it can be challenging to determine who is responsible for the accident. Both parties may have their reasons for blaming the other party for causing the accident. When this happens and no agreement can be reached, the case is often taken to court, where all the facts can be presented for a jury to decide who was at fault.
However, if it is established during the trial that the complainant was careless or at fault, this would undoubtedly harm their case and result in lower overall compensation. It's important to remember that all insurance companies involved are always trying to pay out the least amount of money feasible.
The Workings of a Car Accident Lawsuit
Those unfamiliar with a car accident lawsuit or have never been involved in one before may be nervous, not knowing what to expect. We have devised a summary of what victims can expect concerning the legal proceedings of a case.
1. The State Selects the Jury
The appointment of the members of the jury is the first step of the legal system. In most cases, a jury and not a judge decide the outcome of a case. However, this is dependent on the laws in place in each state. The jury is chosen at random to eliminate any possible bias, and all members are asked a series of questions to determine if they are qualified to serve as a juror in the case.
A jury member whose loved one died in a traffic accident caused by a negligent driver is likely to be dismissed from the jury if it was reported that one of the parties was driving negligently, causing the accident. The state does this to ensure that there is a fair trial.
2. The Court Determines a Trial Date
A trial date is determined once the jury is chosen, and then it is time for both parties to start working with their attorney to build their case, collect evidence and proof of damages, and present the facts of the case in court.
At The Keating Firm, we work with victims to gather all the relevant facts and evidence on their behalf, respectfully helping them through the preparation process and preparing all the necessary legal documents. We also collect evidence of why we believe that a victim is entitled to more compensation than the driver's insurance company offers and fight to ensure that they receive that fair amount.
On the Day of the Trial
Here is what victims can expect on the day of the trial.
3. Both Parties Make Their Opening Statements
Each party presents their case, summarizing all the reasons they think they are suitable during the opening statements. During these statements, the insurance company may blame the victim for being negligent, which led to the accident, or they may argue that the victim was partially to blame.
4. The Complainant or Plaintiff Presents Their Case
Following the opening statements, the plaintiff often presents their case as the plaintiff is responsible for filing the lawsuit. During the presentation of the case, the attorney explains in detail why they believe they have made a valid claim. The lawyer then presents the evidence for why they believe this to be the case to back up their claim.
Among the evidence presented is the police report, witness statements, bystander testimonies, reports, or statements from the physician or medical professional that treated the victim and proof of the damages incurred as a result of the accident.
5. The Defendant (Often the Other Driver and their Insurance Company) Presents Their Case
Once the plaintiff has presented their account of how the accident happened, the defense is given a chance to refute these claims and present their own argument. They often present their own account of how the accident occurred and all the reasons why they are not responsible for the car crash.
6. The Jury Deliberates
After both parties have presented their cases with the relevant evidence, the jury is left to deliberate to come to a decision as to who was at fault. This process can be done in a few short hours or take several days, depending on the complexity or nature of the case.
7. A Verdict Is Delivered
Once the jury has come to a decision, the outcome of the car accident lawsuit is announced. If the complainant wins the case, they are often entitled to full compensation for their personal injury claim, which can be a few thousand dollars or more, depending on the specifics of the case.
It can also depend on how the crash occurred, and the value of the damages the plaintiff incurred, including lost wages, the cost of their vehicle damage, and medical costs incurred for their bodily injury.
The defense is often given a period to appeal the jury's decision if they truly believe that the victim was to blame for the accident or are unhappy with the verdict or the amount they are required to pay for the compensation claim. If no appeal is made, the compensation is then paid to the plaintiff.
Obtaining the help of experienced and knowledgeable personal injury lawyers is the key to winning a car accident lawsuit and preventing damage to your driving record. Contact The Keating Law Firm LTD for a free consultation and evaluation as we fight to get justice for those injured in an auto accident that was not their fault.
However, in rare cases, the outcome may be unfavorable. The plaintiff may share the blame for the accident and receive reduced compensation or no compensation at all for medical expenses and lost income. Below, we explore the reasons why a complainant may have lost their car accident lawsuit.
Reasons Why People Lose Their Car Accident Lawsuits
There are several reasons why people lose their car accident cases. Even though all cases are different, several factors have been known to lead to lost personal injury cases.
No Legal Representation or Advice
In a car accident lawsuit, court documents must be completed in a specific manner, and defendants or plaintiffs are required to adhere to a stringent set of deadlines. Negotiating a settlement, on the other hand, is an art form that requires talent. Knowing when to reach a settlement agreement also comes with experience that can be found in an experienced personal injury lawyer.
It is possible to be a victim of a car accident while also being partially responsible for it. The accident may have been caused by a number of persons who are all to blame in some way. When a victim shares in the blame, they may collect a portion of their damages rather than the entire value. It's also likely that they cannot claim any damages.
If the opposing party accuses the victim of contributing to the accident, they must be ready to defend such a claim. In order to win a case due to contributory negligence, victims need to know how to present the proper defense, which a personal injury lawyer can help with.
Inappropriate Behavior on Social Platforms
It's all too easy to vent complaints and frustrations on social platforms. However, when involved in a car accident lawsuit, the use of social media can be devastating to a case. Social media platforms are public platforms, and anything victims say on social media can be used against them in court. The opposing side can request that the court use social media posts as evidence.
Those involved in a car accident claiming major disability damages but posted on social media shortly after the accident can have their claims refused. This is because their social media posts prove that the damages are not as serious as the victim may be making them out to be.
Additionally, any photos victims post to social media of their injuries, or the accident scene are admissible in court and can be damaging to the case.
Exaggerating the Truth
When filing any personal injury claim, it's vital to be honest, all through the legal process. The truth must be told in court filings and the court testimony. Exaggerating or misrepresenting the facts might be fatal to a case.
A court can dismiss a lawsuit or impose sanctions as a result of deception. They may withhold evidence, making it more challenging for victims to defend their claim.
Guessing or speculating on the details of a case may lead to flaws being exposed in the case, which can result in losing the case. Victims proving witness statements must not be afraid to say that they do not know something if they do not know and must not speculate. Instead, victims must work with their attorneys on a strategy to clearly articulate what actually happened.
Having enough proof to back up claims is essential to winning a lawsuit. Those who choose an experienced personal injury law firm such as The Keating Firm LTD are sure to receive the legal advice they need to proceed with their case and get the help they need to find as much evidence they need to build a strong case.
This includes documents such as witness statements, medical bills, statements from medical professionals, and all other proof related to the car accident case.
What Happens After a Car Accident Lawsuit Is Lost?
Because there are two parties in a car accident lawsuit, we discuss below the consequences each party may face after losing their personal injury lawsuit.
Those who incur serious injuries as the result of a car accident and lose a car accident case because they played a role in causing the accident may receive no financial compensation to cover their medical bills and other damages incurred, such as lost income. They are left to pay these expenses themselves.
This can be a devastating blow for those who have been seriously injured, as their injuries can prevent them from living a normal life, and if they do not receive compensation, they can feel like they have had the rug pulled out from them.
What About Lawyer Fees?
However, the good news is that personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis, which means that they do not receive any payment unless they obtain a settlement for their client. Additionally, how much money they receive is dependent on how much compensation they are able to secure for their client. This means that even if a complainant receives partial compensation, they need not pay a hefty legal bill.
In most cases, however, all is not lost, and courts can force plaintiffs to take the compensation being offered by the insurance company of the other driver. This can still be good news, covering the basic expenses and damages.
If a defendant loses a case, that person is liable to pay the injured person for their damages because of their role in the accident.
Do Insurance Companies Pay the Compensation?
While many insurance companies cover most of the compensation, if the case was filed after the defendant's insurer legally rejected to pay compensation to the complainant, and it is established in court that the defendant owes the plaintiff financial compensation, they are held responsible for paying this money out of their own pocket.
What Happens If the Defendant Does Not Have Enough Cash?
Unless both sides consent to another method of payment in court, the settlement is normally paid to the complainant in cash. Defendants who do not have sufficient money to cover this debt may have their property seized and auctioned by the sheriff.
What Happens If the Defendant Does Not Have Cash or Property?
Those who have neither cash nor assets are obligated to cover a portion of any future earnings or assets until the plaintiff is paid the amount they are legally entitled to. Both parties may also agree to have the debt repaid in installments, which can include or exclude interest. It is vital to understand that the defendant cannot be imprisoned for not paying their debt.
Need Reliable Defense Attorneys? Contact The Keating Firm LTD Today!
Those who lose a car accident case know how devastating and life-changing it can be. Therefore, it is imperative that those who need to file or defend a car accident lawsuit get the legal representation they need.
At The Keating Firm LTD, we have a team of dedicated personal injury attorneys. We only take on cases that we know we can win, so those involved in a car accident can rest assured that their case is in good hands. They are advised to book a free consultation as soon as possible, and our experts can get started on a free evaluation of their case and begin to gather evidence.
We pride ourselves on maintaining an excellent attorney-client relationship with every client who walks in through our doors, so clients can expect to receive respectful, expert help to ensure that they do not lose a car accident case on our watch.