Do I Have to Go to Court for a Car Accident?

St. Louis Car Accident Lawyers

Do I Have to Go to Court for a Car Accident? If you were injured by another driver, you probably want compensation and may be uncertain about how to go about getting it. You may be worried about going to court, as that's a stressful and time-consuming experience for anyone. The car accident lawyers of Halvorsen Klote are here to answer any questions you have and discuss your case with you for free. Call us today at 877-51-HKLAW or contact us online. You owe us no fees unless we win your case.

Do I Need to Go to Court if I'm in a Car Accident?

Most likely, no. The Bureau of Justice Statistics reported in 2005 that 96 percent of personal injury claims are settled out-of-court.

If the two sides cannot come to an agreement, they will usually attempt mediation before going to trial, where they argue their case in front of a neutral party, in order to reach a settlement.

Why Do Most Car Accident Claims Settle?

There are a lot of reasons car accident claims are typically settled out of court:

  • Once you hire a car accident lawyer, the insurance company knows you are serious and will be more motivated to give you a fair offer.
  • Trials consume a lot of time and money. Neither side wants to wait too long for a resolution or spend more money than they would have ended up saving if they just settled.
  • A trial poses a risk for both the plaintiff and the defendant. You face the chance that you won't receive any money at all, and they face the risk of the jury awarding you a massive payout.
  • Almost half of United States insurance companies are publicly traded, including almost all of the biggest ones. Shareholders would likely not be pleased with large judgments.
  • The language in most settlement agreements lets most defendants agree to pay the plaintiff without admitting liability.
  • While settlements are usually private, court proceedings and judgments are readily available to the public. Settling can help protect the privacy of both parties.

Court Approval in Missouri and Illinois

There are two instances in both Missouri and Illinois where you will still have to go to court, most likely briefly, even if you reach an out-of-court settlement.

According to Missouri Revised Statute §537.095 and Missouri Revised Statute §436.700, a settlement must be granted court approval in any wrongful death case, or any settlement settled on behalf of a minor that exceeds $35,000.

In Illinois, 740 ILCS 180/ and 755 ILCS 5/ also require court approval for wrongful death settlements, and settlements negotiated on behalf of a minor where the damages exceed $10,000.

Meaning, if a car accident resulted in the wrongful death of a loved one you will have to go to court for a judge's approval. You will have to do the same if the injured party was under the age of 18, depending on the amount of damages.

Why Do Car Accident Claims Go to Trial?

In the rare event that your car accident claim does go to trial, it's almost always because of one or two reasons:

  1. The insurance company's offer does not come close to covering your claim, and/or;
  2. The liable party refuses to admit fault in the accident.

If that's the case with your claim, you'll need experienced, dedicated, talented and knowledgeable car accident lawyers to fight on your behalf and make sure you are fairly compensated and the negligent parties are held accountable.

St. Louis Car Accident Lawyers | Halvorsen Klote

Among our many awards, are the Best Car Accident Lawyers in O'Fallon and Top 40 Under 40 Trial Lawyers in the United States. While we always try to secure maximum compensation in a settlement, we take the fight to court when we have to. If you've been injured in an accident that wasn't your fault, call Halvorsen Klote's St. Louis car accident lawyers today at 877-51-HKLAW or contact us online for a free case review.