Do I Have to Go to Court After a Car Accident?
“Do I have to go to court after a car accident” is one of the most common questions asked in a car accident’s immediate aftermath. There is no set answer because whether you go to court will depend on the unique circumstances of your case.
Going to Court Is Not the First Step
After your accident, you will need to first consult with your attorney, and then file a claim with the insurance company. Negotiating with the insurance company should be the first step, and this is something your attorney can handle for you.
When the insurance makes a settlement offer, you must determine if the level of compensation will cover all of your needs:
- Medical bills (current and future)
- Lost wages due to time off from work
- Financial expenses related to the accident (renting a car, hiring help, etc.)
- The future impact your injuries will have on your life
Unfair Settlement Offers
If the insurance company is unwilling to make a fair settlement offer or blames you for the accident, going to court will probably be necessary.
With your attorney’s assistance, you will need to file a personal injury lawsuit against the other driver and the insurance company. However, once you have filed suit, there is still a chance you won’t have to go to court.
Sometimes an insurance company will offer a fair settlement amount as the actual court date approaches. Going to court means they will have to accept the court’s ruling, so they will become increasingly eager to settle out of court in order to maintain some control over their losses.
Statute of Limitations
Going to court is never anyone’s first choice; however, you often must be willing to go to court in order to settle out of court. If the other party or an insurance company doesn’t believe you are serious, they may simply attempt to stall negotiations until the statute of limitations is reached.
In Massachusetts, the statute of limitations allows you three years in which to sue. Once the statute has passed, you can still file suit, but your case is now at risk for being thrown out of court.
“Do I Have to Go to Court After a Car Accident?”
If you find yourself asking this question, an experienced lawyer from the Law Offices of Joel H. Schwartz can help you find the answers you need. Get in touch with an attorney today by calling 617-742-1170.