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Car Accidents

Why do car accident claims sometimes end up in lawsuits?

Crash injury victim shaking hands with lawyerOne misconception that many people have in the area of personal injury law is that every crash case becomes a car accident claim lawsuit. The idea is that you have to sue someone to obtain the compensation you need for medical bills, recover lost wages, and cover other damages. 

In truth, a significant majority of cases will be handled through an out-of-court settlement between the injured client and the liable party’s insurer.

Parties can continue to negotiate and come to an agreement on who is at fault and what damages should be covered by the applicable policy. It is only when this process of continued negotiation breaks down that the injured claimant must file a lawsuit. But even in cases involving a lawsuit, very few advance to a trial.

Langdon & Emison can assist with your car accident case and determine the most optimal way forward for seeking compensation. We are highly experienced and expert negotiators, with a history of past successful case outcomes to prove it. 

Learn your available legal options after a Chicago car accident when you call us at (312) 855-0700 or contact us online to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.

The Car Accident Claims Process (No Lawsuit Needed)

Typically, the following steps will occur in a car accident claim situation:

  1. The injury victim will report the accident to the police and seek prompt medical care.
  2. The victim claimant will report the accident to the insurance company representing the at-fault driver and give notice of a claim.
  3. The claimant will calculate their damages, including medical bills, vehicle repairs, lost wages, and an amount for pain and suffering. Future damages will be projected.
  4. The claimant will submit proof of a claim naming all damages and their expected reimbursement amounts along with evidence to support their claim, including the police report and documentation from a physician.
  5. The insurance company will either accept the claim as-is, or they will send a counter-offer for what they feel is a fair amount of compensation.

Note that in any case where the insurer denies a claim in part or in full, they must state reasons for this denial. They must be careful to connect their specific reasons to the language of the applicable policy in question.

The Car Accident Claim Lawsuit

There are several reasons why a car accident claim may turn into a lawsuit or that there may be multiple lawsuits filed in connection with a car accident.

The most direct reason a civil complaint (lawsuit) will be filed is that an insurance company refuses to provide the expected amount of liability coverage. If the claimant cannot come to a reasonable settlement agreement, they may be forced to seek a legal remedy through the court system.

Filing a lawsuit is especially common when the at-fault party is a large corporation. If your accident involves a defective vehicle, a commercial driver, or both, then it is highly likely that the insurer representing the corporation will deny the claim by denying that their policyholder was at fault. In these cases, the injury victim and their attorney will have to work hard to document aspects of fault and prove the extent of damages caused.

Some cases may also involve separate lawsuits connected to the accident. For instance, the defendant may counter-sue the claimant for reasons such as harassment or falsifying documents. The claimant may also sue for the right to access documents related to their case, such as safety trial information for a particular model of tire.

Civil Jury Trials 

Lawsuits only advance to a jury trial when both sides cannot agree. In many cases, the filing of a lawsuit is just one step towards seeking an amicable out-of-court resolution.

But in cases where no settlement agreement can be reached, the case may proceed to court litigation and involve all of the phases of a typical civil trial. A discovery period will open where both parties can request evidence from one another and investigate. Witnesses may be called to testify, and evidence will be presented to a jury. 

The jury will deliberate at the conclusion of the trial, determine whether the defendant should be held liable, and what damages may be appropriate.

Fight for Your Rights With Experienced Chicago Trial Lawyers

Car accident damages can be significant, and the effects of your crash can be life-altering. Seeking compensation is sometimes as easy as filing a claim, responding to an offer, and waiting on a check. But in situations where one side disputes the facts or refuses to come to an agreement, a lawsuit may be needed to get the results the client wants.

Learn more about your legal rights, your options, and what the best path forward might be for your particular case during a free, no-obligation case review. Call (312) 855-0700 or contact us online to schedule today.