If another driver’s insurance company agrees to pay what your attorney believes your case is worth, and you wish to settle for that amount, then your case will not go to court. Most cases are settled during negotiations that take place shortly after you have completed your treatment. In most cases, by the time you have completed your treatment, the insurance company has accepted liability and paid for the damages to your car.
While you are treating with the doctor, your lawyer should be gathering all of your medical bills and reports as well as any claim you are making for lost wages. Once your doctor releases you from treatment, then your attorney will gather the final bills and reports and then send a demand letter to the insurance company summarizing your case along with a demanded amount. Approximately 30 days later , negotiations will take place. Once a final settlement offer is made, the it is up to the client as to whether the settlement offer is acceptable. If the offer is acceptable, then the case is resolved and court will not be necessary. If the amount is unacceptable to the client, then suit will have to be filed and yes you may have to go to court. Hiring a law firm with experience in handling personal injury cases is critical. How long does does it take to settle an accident case?
Even when suit is filed in court, you still may not have to actually appear in court. Some insurance companies will not make their best offer until after suit is filed. Some wait until the court date or settlement conference to make their best offer. Other insurance companies make their best offer up front.If you have an experienced lawyer, he should know which insurance company uses which technique.
Very few cases actually go to trial.At some point, there is usually a meeting of the minds by all parties.Clients often get impatient.Insurance companies re-evaluate claims.New adjusters get assigned to the case who have more authority or see things differently.New facts are discovered while waiting for trial that can effect the value of the case.
However, if the parties ultimately can not agree on a figure, then the only way to resolve the case is by a trial. The trial will involve several days of testimony. Here is a set of typical questions asked at an auto accident trial.
At trial, then the judge or jury decides the value of the case and then all of the parties will be bound by their decision, whether they are happy with the amount or not.