One of the most common concerns among car accident victims is whether filing an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit means they will have to go to court. In general, you will not have to go to court to obtain compensation for your damages after an auto accident. The vast majority of car accident and personal injury claims in Texas reach successful insurance settlements without going to trial. That being said, only a lawyer can assess your car accident case and let you know if going to court would be in your best interest.
Steps to Take After an Auto Accident
After a car accident, seek financial reimbursement for your damages, injuries, and losses from the person or entity that caused your collision. The at-fault party will be liable under Texas’ fault-based, or tort, car insurance laws. The driver, product manufacturer, company, city or another party that caused your auto accident will be legally responsible for paying for your damages. Damages may include medical bills, vehicle repairs, lost wages, and pain and suffering. It will be up to you to file an insurance claim by the deadline with the correct insurance provider.
Most insurance companies require you to report an accident and damages immediately – as soon as possible but generally within 24 to 72 hours. You will file a claim by reporting the auto accident to the insurance provider and answering the agent’s questions. Do not declare fault for the car accident and do not accept the first settlement offered. You will have the opportunity to send in a demand letter requesting a settlement you will accept as fair to resolve your case.
The demand letter is something you or your lawyer can write and send to the insurance company of the at-fault driver. The letter should state that you have the ability to go to court, as well as explain why you believe the defendant is responsible for your accident and how much money you believe your case is worth. The insurance company will typically respond to your demand letter within 30 days.
The Car Accident Settlement Process in Texas
You will most likely be able to achieve a successful settlement with the insurance company after a car accident. The insurance company will assign an adjuster to review your case. He or she may inspect your vehicle in person, review medical records and take other steps to evaluate your claim. If the adjuster believes you have a valid claim, the insurance company will accept it and offer a settlement it believes is fair. You and your lawyer will then have the chance to accept the settlement offer or negotiate for a higher amount.
With help from a personal injury attorney, you can strengthen your ability to negotiate for a fair settlement with an insurance provider. If you refuse the offer or if the insurer denies your initial claim, you may have to proceed to court for compensation instead. In these situations, going to trial could be in your best interest. A trial may result in greater financial relief for your damages.
When Do Car Accident Cases Go to Court?
Complex car accident cases might need to go to trial in Texas for successful resolutions. If your car accident case involves catastrophic injuries, wrongful death, comparative negligence, refuted fault or other complicated factors, it might not be possible to resolve matters via settlement negotiations. You and the defendant may instead have to argue your sides of the case before a judge and jury for the final decision.
Hire a trial attorney to represent you during a car accident case in Texas. A lawyer can build an aggressive and comprehensive legal strategy on your behalf, whether you need to negotiate a settlement or litigate a court trial. You can focus on your physical recovery while your San Antonio car accident lawyer handles the legal side of things for you. Speak to an attorney about the legal options for your case.