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Do You Have to Go To Court After a Car Accident?

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May 15th, 2023
Wood paneled court room

Car accidents result in a mountain of bills. In a perfect world, you and the insurance company settle on an appropriate amount of compensation to cover your damages. However, insurance companies don’t always play fair, and you might need to go to court to get a fair settlement.

When Does a Car Accident Case Go to Trial?

Car accident cases do not always go to trial. However, when they do, it is generally because there are issues with obtaining a settlement from the insurance company. Here are some instances in which you may need to bring your car accident case to trial:

The Insurer Won’t Cooperate

Insurance companies make money by paying out as little as possible on claims. They bring in money through premiums and take steps to avoid financial liability by picking apart the claim to look for opportunities to deny it.

If the insurance company delays your claim, arguing that you are not covered or otherwise handling your claim in bad faith, you may need to bring your case to court to recover your damages in full.

Lack of Sufficient Insurance Coverage

Michigan is a no-fault state for insurance purposes, so when you are involved in an accident, you will file a claim with your own insurance company.

However, if you file a claim with your own insurance company and you do not have enough coverage to meet the value of your damages, you may need to move forward with a third-party liability claim against the liable party.

What Is the Process for Going to Court?

If your case must go to court, you should prepare accordingly. With that in mind, here is what you expect if your car accident case needs to go to trial:

Before Going to Court

Before court, there will be pretrial motions and discovery. This is where either party could file motions to request evidence, suppress evidence, request a continuance, or file other pretrial motions.

Discovery involves both parties exchanging evidence and information they will use to pursue their case. This provides your attorney with valuable information as to how the defense plans to challenge your allegations of fault.

Opening Statements

In court, your attorney will make their opening statement. We will describe how the accident occurred to the judge and jury, so they understand how the defendant is responsible.

From there, the defendant’s lawyer also makes an opening statement, likely arguing another version of events that may have caused your injuries.

Your Personal Injury Lawyer Presents Your Case

After each side’s opening statement, your attorney presents the evidence gathered to prove the defendant’s liability

This might include:

  • Photos of your injuries
  • Statements from bystanders who saw the accident occur
  • Expert testimony
  • Affidavits from friends and family who could attest to the debilitating injuries you endured and their impact on your life

The defendant’s lawyer will also cross-examine any witnesses called to support your case.

The Defendant Refutes Your Allegations of Liability

Next, the defendant makes their argument. They will likely try to argue that your injuries were not caused by the car accident, but in some other way.

Your lawyer also cross-examines the defendant’s witnesses and challenges the evidence they present in court. Once both parties have presented evidence to support their case, the judge and jury retire to deliberate.

How Can You Avoid Going to Trial?

Everyone hopes to avoid going to trial if they can. However, the only way to be sure you can avoid going to trial is to obtain an insurance settlement that meets your needs. Here are a few ways your attorney helps you avoid going to trial:

Gathering Powerful Supporting Evidence to Prove Negligence

We must obtain evidence that clearly demonstrates to the judge and jury that the defendant is responsible for causing your car accident and subsequent injuries. To do this, your lawyer shows that the elements of negligence have been met as follows:

  • Duty of care
  • Breach of duty
  • Causation
  • Damages

Negotiating with the Insurance Company

Insurance companies never like to pay out on claims. Your lawyer must negotiate with the insurance company to obtain a settlement offer that covers your damages in full.

However, many insurance claims are lacking, and you may still go to court if you hope to receive total compensation for your suffering.

Get Help from a Car Accident Lawyer Today

Although there are some instances in which you may settle outside of court, any time an insurance settlement does not sufficiently meet your needs, pursuing a car accident claim may be in your best interests.

Reach out to a dedicated Michigan car accident lawyer at Davis Injury Lawyers, PLLC, for a no-cost, risk-free consultation today. You can fill out our quick contact form or call us at (313) 462-7979 to get started.