Do I Have to Go to Court After a Car Accident?

In most cases, you will not have to go to court after a car accident. It is important to note, however, that every case is different, and the circumstances of your accident will determine whether you might need to file a lawsuit. Before we discuss whether your accident case will go to court, it is helpful to know a bit more about how a car accident settlement works

How Do Car Crash Settlements Work?

Most accident cases settle instead of going to court. This means that the other party offers you a certain amount of money to drop any pending legal action or forgo filing any future legal action.

Because New York is a no-fault state, you first need to turn to your own insurer to get the compensation you need. You have a minimum of $50,000 in personal injury protection benefits to cover your medical bills and a portion of your lost wages. This applies whether you were at-fault or not.

Chances are, if your damages are below this $50,000 limit and your insurer cooperates, you will not need to go to court. However, even though your insurer should be working for you, its primary goal is saving money. This means it might deny or devalue your claim. If your insurer refuses to grant you a fair settlement, you might need to take it to court.

If your damages exceed this $50,000 limit, you suffered a serious injury, and the other driver was negligent, you can file a claim against the other driver. You are more likely to find yourself in court when filing against the other driver. 

What Factors Might Require Me to Take My Accident Case to Court?

We will do what we can to keep your case out of court as it costs more money and can often take longer to get you the compensation you need; however, there are certain factors that might require us to take your case to court:

  • How much your claim is worth
  • Whether the other party disputes fault
  • An inability to reach a settlement agreement
  • New York’s statute of limitations

Your Claim’s Worth

The lower your claim’s worth, the more likely the insurer is to offer a settlement you deserve. If your claim is for $2,000, the insurer might just write you a check immediately. However, if your accident caused you to suffer permanent disfigurement and retire, you could be looking at a six-figure settlement. The insurance company will likely fight tooth and nail to avoid paying you the full value of your settlement.

If this occurs, we might need to take the insurer to court to force it to pay you what you deserve.

Disputed Fault

If either side disputes fault and will not budge, the case might need to go to court where a judge or jury decides who is liable for the accident and any related injuries.

You and the Other Party Cannot Reach a Settlement Agreement

Cases sometimes go to court if both sides refuse to agree on a settlement offer. While this is a last resort for us, our team is not afraid to take your case to court if it means getting you what you need to cover your accident-related losses.

Statute of Limitations

Under New York’s statute of limitations law, you have three years to file and settle an injury claim. This means you must reach maximum medical improvement or receive a prognosis, and we must investigate the accident, gather evidence, file your claim, and negotiate a fair settlement all within that time.

In some cases, that just is not possible. If time is running out in your case, we might file a lawsuit to extend the time we have to get you the compensation you deserve.

Discuss Your Car Accident Case with Our Team Today for FREE

Going to court is our last resort for our car accident clients. We will do everything in our power to keep your case out of court to save you money and get you your settlement more quickly; however, if necessary, we will use our 25 years of experience to fight for you and get you the verdict you deserve. We have successfully handled over 20,000 cases and won hundreds of millions of dollars since we opened our doors; we will use that knowledge to build a successful suit against the other party.

Call 800-550-0000 and set a time to talk to the team at Gacovino, Lake & Associates, P.C. We can evaluate your case and explain what legal choices you have. It will cost you nothing up front.