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Should I Sue After a Car Accident?

  1. Should I Sue After a Car Accident?
  2. What Is a Lawsuit?
  3. Reasons to Consider Suing After a Car Accident
  4. Should I Work With a Personal Injury Lawyer?
  5. Lawsuits Are Tools for Complex Cases
  6. Will Adams Law Firm Holds Wrongdoers Accountable in Katy, Texas

Should I Sue After a Car Accident?

Individuals and entities get sued for all kinds of reasons in the United States. However, contrary to popular belief, filing a lawsuit is not something one can do on a whim, and it’s not something that only people who are the “suing type” do. It’s actually a specific and, often, necessary process. For someone who’s been injured in a car accident, suing the negligent driver may be the best option—especially in a fault state like Texas.

Yet the reality is that most car accident claims don’t escalate to that level. (And even those that do usually settle before the lawsuit progresses to a jury trial.) Where your case ends up depends on a range of factors, many of which you can’t control.

Understand that suing a person, company, or other entity does not make you greedy or attention-seeking. It simply means you’re using the appropriate and effective means for securing the money you need to get your life “back to normal” after being injured by someone else’s negligence.

This article will outline what exactly a lawsuit is and why many car crash cases never need to involve one. You’ll also learn why car accidents that do turn into lawsuits are justified in doing so. Finally, we’ll discuss why working with an experienced car accident lawyer is vital to the entire process, whether or not it involves a lawsuit.

What Is a Lawsuit?

A lawsuit is what happens when a personal injury claim or dispute becomes a legal matter within a court of law. It is a formal, defined process that helps bring the dispute toward a conclusion when the parties haven’t yet found a way to come to an agreement.

Before the Lawsuit

After a car accident, the first step toward getting fair compensation is filing a car accident claim with the other driver’s insurance company. The insurance company then investigates the case and determines what kind of settlement offer, if any, to make. If this settlement offer is too low (as it usually is), you or your attorney can attempt to negotiate.

If negotiations break down and you aren’t able to settle your insurance claim at a number that’s reasonable to both sides, the next step would be to file a lawsuit and escalate the dispute to the civil court.

After Filing the Lawsuit

Once you’ve filed your personal injury lawsuit—or in other words, “sued” the negligent driver—the discovery phase of litigation begins.

During this time, both sides examine and share evidence, talk to eyewitnesses and expert witnesses, and prepare their cases for trial. This process can take several months, or even a few years. Do note, however, that the parties are still free to negotiate a settlement at any time right up to the start of trial. As both sides become more familiar with the evidence and each other’s legal arguments, the likelihood of a settlement increases.

If the discovery period concludes and the parties still haven’t settled, they may try to avoid a jury trial by agreeing to mediation or arbitration. However, if these alternatives fall through, the case would go to trial.

Reasons to Consider Suing After a Car Accident

Again, it’s important to note that most car crash cases do not turn into lawsuits. Injured people, their attorneys, and the insurance companies typically manage to reach a settlement during negotiations. This is faster, less risky, and less expensive for everyone involved.

However, car accident lawsuits are not uncommon. The list of reasons to sue includes:

  • Another driver’s careless or reckless driving caused an accident and your injuries.
  • The costs of your injuries are significant in terms of medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses.
  • The at-fault party’s insurance company is offering significantly less money than you need. (Once you settle, you can’t go back for more compensation later.)
  • Your lawyer believes negotiations have stalled and suing is the only way forward.

In Texas, the statute of limitations (how much time you have to file the lawsuit) is two years from the day of the crash. As long as you’re within that time frame, your claim may become a legal dispute in a court of law. Although proceedings will likely continue to involve the at-fault party’s insurance company, it is the person or entity who caused the accident that is being sued.

Again, a lawsuit does not mean your case will go to court for a trial. Judges often encourage various types of dispute resolution, such as mediation and arbitration, to avoid the financial and time demands of a trial.

“Will treats his clients with great kindness and compassion. He fully understands the pain and injustice each victim is going through. This compassion and understanding allows Will to prosecute your case to the fullest. Will is tenacious in pursuing what he feels is the correct settlement for his clients.”

- B & ES – Dallas, TX

“Will, Chris & Sarah. K and I just want to thank you so much for everything you’ve done for us and our family. Throughout this process you have kept us informed and been patient with us (especially me) as we navigated through unchartered territory. Putting things in your hands allowed Karl and I to focus on him getting better.”

- SC – Katy, TX

“Hi Will, I just wanted to take a minute and let you and your wonderful staff know just how much we appreciate each one of you! All of you have been so great to us. Y’all have always answered any and all questions immediately and never left us hanging or wondering about anything. All of you have made this.”

- SB – Katy, TX

"Dear Sarah, you are the best legal assistant in the history of such creatures of legend and lore. (And Brian is in the tribe too) Do take a copy of this email to your next annual performance review... you have raised the bar. Thank you for all your help!"

- AM – Houston, TX

"I wanted to thank you both for a job well done and for an outcome that far exceeded my expectations. I appreciated your expertise and your thoroughness of preparation, as well as keeping me informed of the possible outcomes at each major point.Will, I think that Chris did an excellent job and wanted to bring that to your attention."

- MJ – Katy, TX

Should I Work With a Personal Injury Lawyer?

Lawyers become vital long before a case becomes a lawsuit. Their knowledge, experience, and connections enable them to effectively negotiate with insurance companies. They also know all the places to look for funds, including your own insurance policies. Additionally, their understanding of state law and local ordinances gives them insight most injured people don’t have.

Keep in mind that your life was altered by someone else’s poor decision or inattention. The law provides lawsuits as a way to right the wrong you suffered. As soon as you begin working with a personal injury attorney, you’ll access that system more effectively, because they can:

  • Identify the causes of the crash
  • Pinpoint who contributed to the wreck
  • Argue for the things you need to be restored

Best of all, a lawyer takes on this burden at a time when you need to focus on healing and your family.

But can you afford a good personal injury lawyer? Yes, you can. Almost all Texas personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis, meaning they only get paid if you secure a settlement or jury award. There’s no financial risk to you.

RELATED: Hurt in a Texas Car Accident? Here’s What to Do

Lawsuits Are Tools for Complex Cases

Beyond being a formal legal proceeding, lawsuits are helpful for complicated claims. Often, traffic crash cases are more complex than one at-fault driver and one injured person settling a dispute. With the civil court overseeing your case, you and your lawyer have more leverage for a thorough investigation.

For example, if you were hit by a commercial vehicle, you could end up making claims against the driver and their employer. Sometimes, the driver isn’t even at fault! Mechanical neglect, improper loading, and substandard training can all come into play as reasons for the crash.

Commercial vehicle cases also pull in unique forms of evidence. Semi-trucks might have dash cam footage and “black box” data to review, though getting a hold of it isn’t always easy. Driver log books, employer records, and past infractions (by the individual or company) may be useful but hard to obtain during previous negotiations, and companies can destroy them after a certain amount of time has passed. Lawsuits include a “discovery” phase that allows lawyers to extend their investigations, perhaps accessing evidence they couldn’t before.

Of course, all of this is far simpler if you’re working with an experienced personal injury attorney. They’ll have a sense of how much effort is required, and how it balances with the settlement you’re likely to get. They can also handle up-front investigation and court costs to keep the process moving forward.

Ultimately, your attorney is able to weigh the pros and cons of filing a lawsuit. Sometimes they feel the extra time of a suit isn’t worth the small settlement increase. Other times, they may add a year to the case but secure hundreds of thousands of dollars (or more) for a severely injured person.

You don’t have to make these decisions on your own.

RELATED: What Causes Truck Accidents? And Who Pays if I Get Injured? 

Will Adams Law Firm Holds Wrongdoers Accountable in Katy, Texas

At Will Adams Law Firm, we have a reputation for identifying reckless and negligent parties and holding them accountable. We also ensure the relevant insurance policies are expected to pay out what they owe to injured people.

Our families have lived in the Katy, Texas area for generations. We are dedicated to building and fostering community. We know that most people here don’t think of themselves as the “suing type” and may be hesitant about filing a lawsuit, possibly against someone they know. You can count on us to honor the rule of law and conduct your case aggressively, but also respectfully and professionally. Ultimately, it’s about fairness and justice, and securing the money you need to maintain your livelihood when you are harmed in a car accident that wasn’t your fault.

To learn more about us, or to schedule your free initial consultation, feel free to contact our offices at (281) 371-6345. You may also fill in the easy contact form on our website. We look forward to helping you move forward!

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.

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