What is the Likelihood that Your Car Accident Case will go to Court?
Not likely. A personal injury claim only ends up in court when the two parties cannot agree to solve the dispute on their own. The court acts as a way for one party to force the other to solve the problem in whatever way the judge decides. There are certain negative qualities associated with ending up in court. For one, it is unpredictable, if you go to court, you may be taking a bit of an all-or-nothing risk. That is scary to many people who desperately need some sort of compensation. Another negative to going to court is that there are additional costs. There are fees that you pay directly to the court, and there are increased fees that you will pay to your lawyer because going to trial will substantially increase the amount of time that your lawyer spends on your case. It is optimal for the injury victim that those things are all avoided.
So, why wouldn’t the insurance company just force you to file suit against them every single time? Well the answer to that is that it is typically not the best thing for them either. They probably hate the unpredictability even more than the victim does because they never know for sure when an angry jury might get a little crazy and pop them for a million bucks. Insurance companies are all about calculating risks. Juries can be difficult to calculate. If the insurance company can get a case to go away within a certain bracket that they feel is fair, they will. The other concern they are dealing with is that they are contractually obligated to protect their insured. They agreed to do this in order to convince their insured to pay them money every single month knowing that there is a chance the insured would never see any of it back. If a case goes to trial, and a jury award dictates that the defendant must pay $200,000 to the defendant, the insurance company will pay out their policy limits, because that is what they have contracted for, and the defendant will be personally liable for the balance. If the policy limits were only $50,000, and the defendant ever finds out that the plaintiff had offered to settle the case for the policy limits, the defendant may now have what is called a bad faith claim against his or her insurance company.
To win a bad faith claim, the insured would have to show that his or her insurance company breached their duty to protect the insured by unnecessarily putting the insured at risk. If the case was an absolute slam-dunk to be worth more than $50,000, the insurance company has a duty to offer the policy limits because they have a fiduciary duty to equally consider the risks and exposure to both themselves and their insured. If they did not have this duty, they would never offer policy limits because that is all they have to lose anyway.
That is a very long way of explaining that most auto accident claims do not end up in court. Less than ten percent end up in formal litigation. Yours will likely not end up there. If it does, it means that you have a substantially different idea about the value of your claim than the insurance company does. There is no way for you to value your claim on your own. That is why hiring a car accident lawyer in essential when you get in a car wreck in St. George, Utah.
This article is offered only for general information and educational purposes. It is not offered as and does not constitute legal advice or legal opinion. You should not act or rely on any information contained in this article without first seeking the advice of an attorney.