Filing a Civil Suit After an Auto Accident
If you’ve been in a car accident that wasn’t your fault, you probably filed a claim with the auto insurance company of the at-fault driver or maybe even your own auto insurance company. While most auto accident cases are handled this way, sometimes the injured party chooses to file a civil suit instead.
Settling with the Insurance Company
Auto accident cases are usually settled without a lawsuit and instead are handled entirely by auto insurance companies. In the typical timeline, the accident occurs, a claim is made, an insurance adjuster determines how much the insurance company should pay out to the injured party, and a settlement offer is made. Auto insurance payouts may include money to cover medical bills, lost wages, property damage, pain and suffering, and more.
The injured party can either accept this offer or not. If they accept it, they take the settlement and sign a release of liability that says they give up their right to seek further damages. If they don’t accept the offer, they may decide to file a civil suit instead.
Why File a Civil Suit After a Car Accident?
Someone who has been in a car accident that wasn’t their fault may choose to file a suit because they believe the settlement amount being offered is too low. If the insurance company is unwilling to budge from their offer, filing a suit may be the only way for the injured party to get what they deserve. Filing a suit also shows the insurance company the claimant is serious, and it can give them leverage in negotiations. Often pre-lawsuit settlement offers are substantially lower than offers the insurance company will make following litigation and discovery in a lawsuit.
Most suits filed after a car accident are personal injury lawsuits, but someone who has not been injured may want to file a lawsuit for something else like property damage. Like the majority of civil lawsuits, those related to car accidents are usually settled before going to trial. In general, neither side likes to go to trial, because juries can be unpredictable. Still, sometimes it’s the only chance for fair compensation.
Should I File a Civil Suit?
If you’ve been in an auto accident and you’re unhappy with the settlement amount being offered, you may be wondering if you should file a lawsuit. This isn’t an easy question to answer. You need to consider how big the difference is between what you’re seeking and what’s being offered, your current situation and how long you can wait for compensation, and whether you’d have a strong case if it went to trial.
For advice on your situation, talk to the personal injury attorneys at The Carolina Law Group. They can evaluate your settlement offer and help you decide whether filing a suit is in your best interest. They are experienced at handling a wide variety of auto accident cases and are not hesitant to go to court if that’s the best course of action. Call today to schedule your free initial consultation and get the personalized advice you need.
The Carolina Law Group has four offices in upstate South Carolina for your convenience: Greenville (principal office; call 864.312.4444), West Greenville (864.312.4444), Greer (principal office; call 864.757.5555), and Spartanburg (principal office; call 864.757.5555). Call today.
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