- April 10, 2023
- Kelvin Birk
- Personal Injury
If you have recently been in a car accident, you know the serious injuries and financial hardships that can occur. Negligent drivers cause thousands of car accidents each year in Missouri. When you are hurt, you can file a personal injury lawsuit to seek compensation. To win compensation, you may be able to settle out of court with the responsible parties or you may have to go to court to prove your case.
So the important question is: How often do car accident cases go to court? The answer may be less than you think. Each case is different, but many may be settled out of court. Others may require a trial to fully compensate you for your losses. Below are some of the factors that could determine whether your case will have to go to court.
What Percentage of Car Accident Cases Go to Trial?
Only a very small percentage of Cape Girardeau car accident cases actually go all the way to trial. There is no exact percentage, but it is estimated that 95% of car accident lawsuits settle out of court. Each case has its own requirements, strengths, and challenges. Whether your case will go to trial can depend on many different factors. These factors may include:
The Value of the Claim
The value of a car accident lawsuit will depend on factors such as the severity of your injuries, the property damages you suffered, the pain you endured, the time lost at work, and much more. These are highly individual features of your case.
More severe cases usually warrant higher amounts of compensation. When this is the case, defendants may fight harder to avoid large payments and may take the case to trial. Smaller claims are more likely to be settled out of court. However, the value of your claim is not dispositive of whether the case will go to court. Many other factors will impact this outcome as well.
Liability refers to a defendant’s financial responsibility for your injuries and the accident. Some cases are more obvious than others. When the defendant is obviously the cause of the accident, a trial is much less likely.
If there are disputes about what happened and who is to blame, a trial is more likely in that case.
The Complexity of Physical Injuries, Treatment, or Disabilities
In severe injury cases, there are difficult questions about the cost of your past treatment and any future treatment you may need. These injuries may also affect your ability to work in the future or could even cause a permanent disability.
Cases like these often require expert evidence to determine the true cost of your injuries. This evidence must be thoroughly investigated and presented properly if the case goes to trial. These cases are more likely to go to trial, but that is not necessarily a given.
Partial Fault in Car Accident Cases
Some car accident cases involve multiple parties who may be at fault, including the injured party. Apportioning liability between several parties can be more complicated, increasing the chances that the case will go to trial.
Just because the plaintiff might be partially at fault for the accident does not mean the case will be dismissed. This will depend on the amount of fault attributed to the plaintiff.
Negotiating Skills of a Car Accident Attorney
The negotiating skills of an attorney may play a pivotal part in whether your case goes to trial. Defendants — especially insurance companies — will attempt to lowball self-represented people or inexperienced lawyers. They cannot take advantage of the situation when they are up against a seasoned litigator.
Negotiations are a significant part of winning a fair settlement. However, some cases must still go to trial, even with a good negotiator. There may be questions a jury must resolve, or a defendant may deny coverage even when they are liable.
How Long Does a Court Hearing Last for a Car Accident?
How long your court hearings may take will depend on your unique case. If your case is more complex, it will likely take longer. If the evidence is clear, it may take much less time. In any case, there are time limits by which you must file your claim. Under Missouri Revised Statutes section 516.120, you generally have five years from the date of a car accident to file a claim. However, the Missouri Legislature has considered shortening this timeframe to two years to match other personal injury claims.
How long your court hearing could last may also depend on what stage of litigation resolves your case.
A motion for summary judgment is filed by an attorney to the judge. It asks the judge to decide the case because there are no disputes about the facts and the law is clear about the correct outcome in the case. A favorable summary judgment decision may resolve key parts of the case or the case in its entirety. This may significantly reduce the time it takes to win compensation in your car accident case.
Most car accident lawsuits settle before they ever reach court. Some may even settle before you must file a formal complaint to initiate the car accident lawsuit. Most settle after some investigation into the case has occurred. When more facts are known, the parties often better understand who was at fault and the value of the plaintiff’s claim.
Contact a Cape Girardeau Car Accident Lawyer Today
While few cases actually go to trial, you still need the services of a highly qualified Cape Girardeau car accident attorney. Your attorney can negotiate with powerful insurance companies, investigate your case, and compile the evidence you need to win in court or win a fair settlement. You are struggling enough after the accident, you don’t have to do it alone.
Attorney Kelvin Birk is ready to help. Whether your case goes to trial or can settle out of court, he will fight for your rights to compensation every step of the way. Contact us online or call 573-332-8585 for a free consultation.
Attorney Kelvin Birk
Kelvin Birk is a lawyer as well as a certified public accountant, with more than 30 years of experience in accounting and tax and business consulting, and more than 20 years of experience in numerous legal matters. This combined expertise allows our law firm to provide a level of service above that of other firms. Whatever your legal situation, your attorney at Birk Law Firm can counsel you as to the tax implications. We have experience in providing myriad legal representation services to residents of southeast Missouri and other areas.. [ Attorney Bio ]