The aftermath of a car accident can be a scary experience. You may suffer from serious physical and emotional injuries, face expensive medical bills, and lose time at work and with family due to the accident’s impact. You can pursue compensation for your injuries through a lawsuit or insurance claim — but you may also wonder if you need to go to court to receive this compensation.
While you do have the option to file a lawsuit, not all car accidents result in a court date. However, going to trial may be in your best interest depending on the facts of your case.
Under Arizona law, drivers who cause car accidents must pay for the damages of the other people involved in the crash. This is because Arizona follows a traditional fault-based insurance system, which requires drivers to purchase minimum amounts of liability insurance in case they injure others in an accident.
This system allows you to pursue two different pathways to compensation.
In a typical car accident case, you will file an insurance claim first and proceed to a lawsuit if the insurance company refuses to settle or does not offer an adequate compensation offer. There are some instances where it would be in your best interest to pursue a personal injury lawsuit from the beginning.
If your case involves high amounts of damages that exceed the at-fault driver’s insurance policy limits, your attorney will likely recommend filing a lawsuit first. You are more likely to recover the compensation you need through this process. However, filing a lawsuit is not a guarantee that your court will go to trial.
Whether you file a lawsuit after an unsuccessful insurance claim or you are pursuing high amounts of damages, all personal injury lawsuits follow the same basic timeline.
Most personal injury lawsuits settle outside of the courtroom during pre-suit or pretrial negotiations, and if you can reach a sufficient settlement, you may not need to go to trial at all. However, if the at-fault party refuses to settle or offers a lower amount than what you need, it would be in your best interest to proceed to the courtroom.
If you were in a car accident, contact a Prescott Valley car accident lawyer to represent your claim. Your attorney will be able to calculate your damages, evaluate settlement offers, and advise you on the best course of action throughout the insurance or lawsuit process.