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

Sustaining injuries or property damage in a vehicle accident caused by another driver in Illinois can be stressful. This is particularly true if you think that you may have to go to court to recover the compensation you need. In reality, the vast majority of vehicle accident claims are resolved through settlements with insurance carriers in this state. However, there are situations where it may be necessary for you to go to court to recover the compensation you need. Here, we want to discuss when it may be necessary to go to court after a vehicle accident in Illinois.

Do I Have to Go to Court After a Car Accident

Securing Compensation Through an Insurance Settlement

According to data available from the Illinois Department of Transportation, there were more than 300,000 total motor vehicle accidents across the state during the latest reporting year. The vast majority of all vehicle crashes in Illinois are resolved through settlements with insurance carriers.

When a crash occurs, all drivers involved typically report the incident to their personal insurance carrier, and the insurance carriers will sort out who is responsible for paying compensation. This means that the at-fault party’s insurance carrier will cover the medical bills and property damage expenses of crash victims. 

When a claim is settled through insurance carriers, this means that the individuals involved do not have to go to court after their car accident. However, just because a settlement means no court does not mean that this is the best route to recover in compensation.

Why Would You Need to File a Lawsuit?

It is not uncommon for insurance carriers to play hardball after an accident occurs, even if their policyholder caused the incident. Sometimes an insurance carrier will deny a claim altogether. In other cases, an insurance carrier will offer much less compensation than they should for the incident.

If you have been injured or sustained property damage in a car accident and the insurance carrier will not offer a fair settlement, or if they deny the claim, it may be necessary to file a personal injury lawsuit in civil court in Illinois. When you file a lawsuit in civil court, this puts you one step closer to actually having to go to court for your car accident. However, simply filing a lawsuit does not necessarily mean you will end up in front of a jury in a courtroom.

The personal injury lawsuit process will start with the discovery phase. This is where both sides will gather evidence and exchange evidence with one another. While this is ongoing, attorneys for both sides will continue negotiations in an attempt to reach a settlement before it becomes necessary to go to court. The trial process is expensive, and it can take time to get there.

The only time your car accident claim will need to go to court is if the insurance carriers cannot agree on a fair settlement and if negotiations, after a lawsuit had been filed, fail to offer a fair result.

Please Work With an Attorney

If you or somebody you care about has been injured in a car accident caused by another driver’s negligence in Illinois, we encourage you to reach out to an attorney as soon as possible. A skilled Chicago car accident lawyer can fully investigate every aspect of your claim and help you recover total compensation for your losses.