Limited data definitively shows how often car accident claims to go to court, but it’s quite rare. An estimated 90 percent to 99 percent of cases settle out of court, while less than 5 percent actually make it in front of a judge or jury.
The best estimates for California on this issue come from the state’s Court Statistics Report, which tracks motor vehicle cases involving accidents that cause at least $25,000 in damages. The most recent data show 44,554 personal injury cases related to car accidents filed in California. Of those, 181 made it to the courtroom or only 0.4 percent. But measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 likely skewed those numbers.
Data from a 2016 report long before COVID shutdowns show about 30,000 personal injury cases involving vehicle accidents that year and the courts decided about 700 of them or roughly 2 percent. for more legal guidance you can connect with car accident lawyer.
What Happens if Car Accident Claims Don’t Go to Trial?
Courts dismiss a handful of car accident cases for various reasons, such as not falling within California’s statute of limitations for accident claims. Most, however, resolve when the car accident victim and the other party, usually the at-fault driver’s insurance company, settle.
Both sides prefer to avoid a trial to save time and expense. Court proceedings can take a long time, and building your case with expert witnesses and accident scene investigations can rack up huge expenses.
The benefit of having legal representation in a car accident case, such as a motor vehicle accident lawyer from The Law Offices of Mickey Fine, is that your lawyer can identify the extent and value of your damages and negotiate with the insurance company for maximum compensation. And, if both parties cannot reach a fair settlement, your attorney can represent you in court.
What Happens if My Car Accident Case Goes to Trial?
If yours is the rare car accident case that does go to court, the weeks or months leading up to the trial will keep your lawyer busy. Your case may go through several phases, such as:
In the discovery phase, your lawyer builds your case by gathering evidence, interviewing witnesses, reviewing the police report, investigating the accident scene, determining the extent and value of your damages, and reviewing relevant laws and statutes.
With your case built, your car accident lawyer will avoid going to trial by negotiating with the defendants and insurance companies for a fair settlement that provides enough compensation for all your accident-related damages. If both parties agree on the settlement amount, you can receive a payout without going to court. However, if the parties cannot agree, your car accident case will likely progress to trial.
Arguments & Trial
The argument and trial phase is when your case moves into the courtroom. Your car accident attorney will make arguments supporting your claim, present evidence, and possibly bring forth expert witnesses to testify about the accident or the severity of your injuries.
Verdict & Award
After considering all arguments and evidence presented by both sides, the final phase is when the jury issues a verdict in your case. If the verdict is in your favor, the jury will announce a monetary sum the defendants must pay you.
It is extremely rare for car accident cases to go to court, and even then, both parties may reach a fair settlement agreement at any time during the process and resolve your case before it reaches a jury. Regardless of how long or grueling the process is, your car accident attorney from The Law Offices of Mickey Fine will be there with you, fighting for fair compensation on your behalf.
What Damages Are Available in a California Car Accident Claim?
California law allows you to collect both economic and non-economic damages after a car accident.
Economic damages compensate for financial losses incurred in the car accident, such as:
- Medical expenses, including hospital bills, medication costs, and rehabilitation
- Lost income if your injuries prevented you from working
- Loss of earning capacity if the accident resulted in long-term disability that affects your ability to work and earn a living
- Property damage, including the cost of repairing or replacing your car
- Other expenses, such as rental cars or transportation expenses
Non-economic damages compensate for more subjective damages, such as:
- Physical and emotional pain and suffering
- Mental anguish, including anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium or companionship if the accident affects your relationship with your spouse
You may not know just how much car accident damages can add up, which is why you should never accept a settlement offer from an insurance company without first speaking with a car accident lawyer.
Talk to a Bakersfield Car Accident Lawyer With The Law Offices of Mickey Fine Today
If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a car accident in Bakersfield or anywhere in California, speak with a personal injury attorney in Bakersfield before accepting a settlement with the insurance company.
Our attorneys have experience negotiating with insurance adjusters and, if necessary, can take your case to court to ensure you get the maximum compensation you deserve. Contact us online or call (661) 333-3333 for your free consultation and case evaluation.