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Do I Have to Go to Court for My Car Accident Claim? 


The aftermath of a car accident can include weeks of recovery, back and forth discussions with insurance companies, and plenty of stress. While it is not always the case, in some instances a car accident claim may even involve the need to go to court. When a resolution cannot be reached by opposing parties, this can be a necessary step to ensure your rights are protected.  

When Does a Car Accident Go to Court? 

Not all cases go to court. In an ideal situation, matters can be settled without the need for a trial in court, and you can walk away with fair compensation that accounts for your losses and damages. However, this is not always what happens. These are a few instances where you might find yourself in a courtroom for a trial on a car accident claim: 

1. Insufficient Compensation Offer 

If the insurance company offers an inadequate settlement that doesn’t cover your damages, you may choose to take the matter to court. Once there, any dispute about the valuation of your injuries, damage, or other losses will be resolved.   

2. Liability Disputes  

When parties involved in the car wreck cannot agree on fault, the claim may end up in court. These cases can include claims that involve comparative negligence where both parties share some degree of fault and cannot agree on the relative share of fault to be attributed to each party.   

3. Punitive Damages  

In cases where the at-fault party’s actions were intentional, a trial might be necessary to determine an amount of punitive damages awarded to the victim. These damages aim to punish those at fault and go beyond compensating for losses.  

4. Complex Legal Issues 

Accidents involving complex legal issues such as product liability, government liability, etc. may require court proceedings. There are multiple layers to these claims that make it difficult to settle outside of a courtroom. Examples include defective vehicle parts or poor road maintenance.  

5. Appeals 

If a judgement in the trial was made in favor of the alleged at-fault party, this decision can be appealed by the plaintiff.  

Car Accident Court Process 

If you find yourself in a situation where your car accident claim leads to need to go before a court, understanding the steps involved can help you plan for the process and alleviate some of the uncertainty.  

1. File a Lawsuit 

The first step to initiate a court process is to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party. This consists of submitting a formal legal complaint that details the facts of the accident, the damages you are seeking, and the legal basis for your claim.  

2. Discovery 

The discovery phase allows both parties of the case to request relevant information and gather evidence. This is meant to help each side understand the strengths and weaknesses of the case. It can include questioning witnesses, requesting documents from various entities, and examining the details of the accident.  

3. Negotiations 

Before the trial begins, there are opportunities for both parties to settle without a full trial. Mediation may be attempted to resolve the dispute without proceeding further with the court process.  If settlement negotiations are successful, the process would end here.  

4. Preparation 

The case proceeds to trial if settlement is not reached. This period of time is granted to both parties to prepare their arguments, gather evidence, and identify witnesses. An attorney can help you build a strong case during this step that supports your claims.  

5. Jury Selection 

In cases that do go to trial, a jury must be selected to hear the evidence of both sides and make a decision. During this phase of the process, attorneys from both sides have the opportunity to question the potential jurors to aid in having a jury that fair and impartial.   

6. Trial  

The hearing consists of opening statements, a presentation of evidence, and closing arguments. This allows both sides to outline their case and provide the jury and judge with relevant documents, testimonies, and expert opinions.  

7. Verdict 

A verdict is delivered, and compensation is awarded for losses and damages if they find the case in your favor. Otherwise, if the verdict is not in your favor, you may have the option to appeal the decision.  

8. Appeal 

Either party may appeal the verdict if they are dissatisfied with it and sufficient grounds for an appeal exist.   An appeal can be submitted, and this begins the process of reviewing the trial to determine if any errors occurred.  

DiPasquale Moore Advocates for You 

Understanding the car accident court process is useful for those who are navigating the legal system after a wreck. You don’t have to face any of these steps alone. Working with an experienced attorney can help ensure your rights are protected. While taking a case to court can be challenging, having a DiPasquale Moore attorney at your side can keep you well-prepared and give you a better chance of obtaining a favorable resolution to your car accident claim.  

Request a free consultation with our car accident injury attorneys today to get started and to retain DiPasquale Moore. 


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