How Often Do Car Accident Cases Go to Court?


February 26, 2022 / Car Accidents

About every 10 seconds someone is injured in a motor vehicle accident in the United States, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). This means a lot of motorists are getting hurt every day. While there are no exact figures available, the majority of car accident lawsuits – an estimated 95% — are settled before trial. So, if you’re asking how often do car accident cases go to court, the answer is about 5% of the time.

Why do cases go to trial? Well, there are several reasons. The most common reason is that an insurance company refuses to negotiate in good faith when trying to agree on a settlement amount. If insurance representatives consistently low-ball their offers in the hopes of getting a victim to settle for less than the law allows, our attorneys won’t hesitate to take them to court. We are not afraid to litigate. Other reasons a case might go to trial include legal complexities, disputes over who was at fault, and the involvement of multiple defendants.

For the most part, both plaintiffs and defendants want to avoid a trial before a judge and jury because it’s time consuming, expensive, and exhausting. Proceedings can get drawn out over weeks and months, and it’s costly to hire expert witnesses and accident scene investigators.

How Long Does a Court Hearing Last for a Car Accident?

There is no universal answer to the question, “How long does a court hearing last for a car accident?” Each case is unique, and the length of time required in a courtroom will depend on several factors. Some of these are:

  • the number of defendants
  • the severity of your injuries
  • the strength of your case
  • the assignment of fault
  • the number of witnesses
  • the strength of your opponent’s case.

Court hearings can last a few days or a few weeks, and sometimes proceedings and filings are drawn out over a year or more before a trial even begins. The best way to find out how long court hearings may last for your car accident is to speak to a skilled attorney and ask him to assess your case.

Going to Court When You’ve Been Injured

WHAT PERCENTAGE OF CAR ACCIDENT CASES GO TO TRIAL?

As we mentioned, roughly 5% of car accident cases go to trial. If your claim does wind up being contested, there are several phases your case might move through. These include:

Discovery
This phase is where your lawyer will gather evidence, interview witnesses, review police reports, review the accident scene, research applicable case law and statutes, and begin to build your case.

Negotiations
This phase is when your lawyer will try to negotiate with defendants and insurance companies to achieve an out-of-court settlement providing financial compensation for your car accident injuries. If a reasonable settlement can be achieved, you could receive a payout without having to go to court. If not, your case will likely go to trial.

Arguments & Trial
This phase is actual time in the courtroom where your attorney will aggressively make arguments and introduce evidence supporting your claim. He may also present an expert witness to testify about the severity of your injuries or the nature of the collision.

Verdict & Award
This phase is when the jury issues a verdict in your case (hopefully favorable) and a dollar award is announced.

Whatever path your case takes, you can bet the aggressive and experienced car accident attorneys at Stephenson Rife will go the extra mile to get the most compensation possible for the injuries you have suffered.

Common Injuries in Car Accidents

Whether it’s a head-on collision or a T-bone, side-impact crash, the consequences can be devastating. Many crash victims spend weeks or months recovering from their injuries, and some victims are permanently disabled. The impact of car accidents can be long lasting. Common injuries include:

There are thousands of fatalities on U.S. highways every year. Crash victims who avoid death can be confined to a hospital for weeks with lower back injuries, head trauma, and other catastrophic injuries. If you have been harmed during a car accident, you may be entitled to financial compensation. You don’t have to face all the medical bills and lost wages alone. A skilled car accident attorney can help.

Damages You May Be Entitled To

How much you receive for car accident injuries depends on several factors, including the severity of your wounds, amount of time off work, and number of defendants. Typically, an injured person is entitled to both economic damages (financial costs) and non-economic damages (emotional costs and other losses). Examples of these include:

Economic Damages

  • Medical and rehabilitation expenses
  • Lost wages and loss of future earning potential
  • Future medical care
  • Adaptive and ambulatory equipment
  • Property damage
  • Funeral and burial expenses (in the event of death)

Non-Economic Damages

  • Pain and suffering
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Loss of consortium
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Emotional distress

Punitive Damages – In some cases (but not often), a judge may award additional “punitive damages” if a defendant was particularly egregious in their absolute disregard for other people’s safety. These damages are awarded to punish the guilty party and send a chilling message to future potential wrongdoers.

Call a Skilled Indianapolis Car Accident Lawyer Today

If you’ve been seriously injured, you want a car accident attorney who will fight to get the compensation you deserve. At Stephenson Rife, we are tough negotiators and aggressive litigators. Our team of legal professionals will not rest until you get the maximum payout for your injuries. We have helped hundreds of injured clients get through the most difficult circumstances and successfully come out on the other side. To find out more about how we can help, call us for a free initial consultation at (317) 680-2501.

Attorney Mike Stephenson

Attorney Mike StephensonMike Stephenson has 40 years of experience and is a trusted advisor to many individuals and companies. His current practice is dominated by civil litigation in state and federal courts. He focuses much of his time on handling catastrophic injuries caused by all types of accidents, including motor vehicle, trucking, workplace injuries, product liability, and fire, just to name a few. He also works extensively in construction accidents. [ Attorney Bio ]

Featured Posts

  • Can I sue if someone hits me with their car?
    In Car Accidents
    If you were hit by a car while walking on the sidewalk or enjoying a leisurely stroll, it can be both frightening and result in severe injury and impairment. You could be laid up in the hospital for weeks and experience several days or weeks off work. If you’re wondering “can I sue if someone hits me with their car?”, the answer is often “yes.” Pedestrian accidents spiked by 12% nationwide in the first nine months of 2021 as drivers […]
  • What Qualifies As a Spinal Injury Lawsuit?What Qualifies As a Spinal Injury Lawsuit?
    In Catastrophic Injuries
    A spinal injury can be a life-changing event, which is why it’s important to know what qualifies as a spinal injury lawsuit. In the worst case, a spinal injury can leave you permanently paralyzed or otherwise disabled. But even in less extreme scenarios, spinal injuries can lead to chronic pain problems or, at the very least, a long recovery time which could result in lost wages. Regardless of the severity, your spinal injury is likely […]
  • Should Injury Victims Negotiate Directly with Insurance Companies?Should Injury Victims Negotiate Directly with Insurance Companies?
    In Personal Injury
    A recent case handled by our law firm offers a good reminder how an insurance company’s claims adjuster’s job is to settle, even a clear liability injury case, for as little as possible and NOT for the real value of the injury. This case is a great example of what can happen when an injured victim tries to negotiate directly with a very experienced insurance claims adjuster. In this case, an insurance company initially offered only […]

Archives