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

Posted on June 4, 2022

There is always a chance you have to get a court if you file a car accident claim against an at-fault party. However, that is most likely not going to happen. Most vehicle accident claims are resolved through settlements with insurance carriers. However, in the event the insurance carrier or the at-fault party refuses to offer a fair settlement, or if they deny the claim altogether, it may be necessary to file a personal injury lawsuit, which could put you in the courtroom in front of a jury.

The Initial Process of Car Accident Compensation Recovery

As we mentioned, the vast majority of car accident claims in Illinois are resolved through settlements with insurance carriers. What this means is that you will file a claim with your insurance carrier, and your insurance carrier will initiate a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier.

Typically, individuals receive compensation within a few weeks or a few months after the claim is started. However, that does not mean that the insurance carriers will happily hand over compensation for your losses. The reality is that insurance carriers are notoriously difficult to recover compensation from, even if the other driver was at fault for the incident.

Insurance carriers may put up a fight, particularly if fault is disputed or if they do not want to pay the total amount of compensation you deserve.

Regardless of the situation, if your car accident claim is resolved through a settlement with the insurance carriers, you will not need to go to court. Insurance claims are not civil court actions, and the court system is typically not involved in this level at all.

Why a Personal Injury Lawsuit May Need to Happen

There are various reasons why they present may need to file a personal injury lawsuit in civil court in Illinois after a vehicle accident occurs. This includes if:

  • The insurance carrier denies the claim
  • The insurance carrier refuses to offer a fair settlement
  • The total expenses are relatively high due to the severity of the incident

Personal injury claims must be filed within two years from the date an injury occurs, per the Illinois personal injury statute of limitations. Failing to file a lawsuit within this time frame will likely result in the case being dismissed.

Even after a civil lawsuit is filed, it is unlikely that you will have to go to court. Attorneys for both sides will begin the discovery process and exchange information with one another. This can take some time, and it is likely that negotiations will continue throughout the process. Often, evidence comes forward that not just one side or the other towards the settlement or case dismissal. If a claim is settled before a jury trial becomes necessary, you will not have to go to court.

In the event the other side still refuses to offer a fair settlement, it may be necessary for the case to be heard by a jury. In this situation, you will have to go to court to have your case heard.

Will You Need an Attorney?

Car accident claims can become incredibly challenging, particularly when a civil lawsuit is involved. Any person going through this needs to work with a skilled attorney from the beginning of their claim. A car accident lawyer in Chicago can handle every aspect of the claim. This will include investigating the incident, handling all communication with the insurance carriers and other parties, and preparing the case for a jury trial, if one becomes necessary.