Do You Have to Go to Court for a Car Accident in South Florida?
Reasons Why You May Need to Go to Court after a Car Crash in Palm Beach County, Broward County, and Across South Florida
Pursuing a claim for compensation after a car accident can be a stressful experience, especially if you are concerned or nervous about having to go to court to get the compensation you deserve from the driver or parties at fault for the accident. Fortunately, most car accident claims result in a settlement that provides accident victims with fair and full compensation, long before the case ever ends up at trial or inside a courtroom.
However, there are some circumstances under which a car accident claim may end up going to court, including cases where the insurance company refuses to settle or to make a reasonable offer of compensation, or cases where the at-fault driver lacks insurance. When a fair settlement cannot be reached in your claim, it may become necessary to pursue your claim in court and to take your case to trial to argue in front of a judge or jury for a ruling in your favor.
At Gonzalez & Cartwright, P.A., we can help you understand the claims process and advise you as to whether going to court may be necessary to obtain the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free case review to learn more about the process of pursuing a car accident claim and your options for securing a financial recovery from the negligent or reckless driver or party responsible for the accident and for your injuries.
What Happens in a Car Accident Claim?
If you are nervous about having to go to court in your car accident claim, you can rest assured that filing a lawsuit in court is often a much later step in the process of pursuing your claim. Instead, the claim process often has several steps before you file a suit, including:
- Investigating the accident to recover evidence
- Working with your attorneys and expert witnesses to develop a strong, persuasive claim
- Presenting your demand for compensation to the insurance company
- Negotiating back and forth with adjusters to reach a mutually acceptable settlement
- Participating in mediation when informal negotiation fails
If a settlement cannot be reached out of court, it may eventually become necessary to file suit to continue pursuing your case — the statute of limitations in Florida requires that a car accident lawsuit be filed within four years of the date of the crash. In cases where the insurance company is being unreasonable during settlement negotiations, filing a lawsuit may even be the catalyst to reaching a settlement, since it shows the insurance company you are serious about getting the compensation you deserve.
Even once a lawsuit is filed, there are months of pre-trial litigation, including motion practice and discovery, during which there is still an opportunity to arrive at a negotiated settlement.
Ways You Can Avoid Court
At Gonzalez & Cartwright, P.A., we understand that some people may be uncomfortable with the prospect of being inside a courtroom. However, there are steps that can be taken to improve the chances that your car accident claim is settled before the need to go to court, such as:
- Calling the police to the scene of the accident or filing a crash report with the authorities (for many types of car accidents, the drivers involved are actually required by law to report the crash to the authorities)
- Documenting the accident by taking photos or video of the scene, vehicle damage, and any visible injuries you’ve suffered
- Getting examined by a doctor soon after the accident to diagnose any injuries you’ve suffered and to develop a treatment plan and prognosis
- Retaining a car accident lawyer as soon as possible to begin the process of pursuing your claim with the at-fault parties and insurance companies
When you have a strong case to show how the other driver or party caused the accident and to document your injuries and losses, it makes it easier to reach a fair and full settlement with the at-fault party or insurance company. Although the car accident attorneys of Gonzalez & Cartwright, P.A. work hard to achieve the best possible results in your case and will always provide you with honest advice about your options and potential outcomes, the decision to settle or to go to court or to trial will always be yours to make.
Contact Gonzalez & Cartwright, P.A. for a Free Consultation
Pursuing a car accident claim can be a complex and stressful experience for an accident victim. Contact Gonzalez & Cartwright, P.A. today for a free, no-obligation consultation to learn more about the process of pursuing compensation for your injuries and losses from a car accident and to discuss how our firm can help you maximize your financial recovery.
Frequently Asked Questions About Going to Court for a Car Accident in South Florida
You may be nervous about the idea of having to go to court or to testify in a trial on your car accident claim. However, most car accident claims are resolved long before trial. In most cases, a car accident claim can be resolved either through negotiation between you and your attorney and the at-fault driver and their insurer or by participating in mediation, which is a type of formal negotiation in which settlement discussions are facilitated by a neutral third party known as a mediator.
In many cases, filing a lawsuit in your car accident claim can put pressure on the at-fault party or their insurance company to offer you a settlement that provides you with fair compensation for your injuries and losses. When your case is filed in court, there is a chance that the case goes to trial, where a jury may award you even more compensation than you’ve been offered in a settlement.