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Do I Have to Go to Court for a Car Accident in New York?

As premier personal injury lawyers in New York, we specialize in helping accident victims find justice. If you’ve suffered serious losses in a car accident, we may be able to help you secure compensation through a car accident lawsuit. Contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

Car accidents happen every day in New York, and while some are relatively minor, others result in devastating losses for their victims. Unsure of where to turn, many of the injury victims who deserve compensation fail to pursue it.

In some cases, car accident victims know they deserve compensation but are unwilling to take legal action for one simple fact: They don’t want to go to court. 

For most injury victims, going to court is ultimately worth the chance to receive a large settlement. However, it’s not hard to understand why it’s a hard sale. In addition to being a potentially lengthy and time-consuming process, court can cause a great deal of emotional stress and uncertainty for the people involved. 

Court cases can also put tremendous strain on the relationships of those involved, especially when opposing parties are family members. As court cases are typically public, anyone can attend or access court records. This presents privacy concerns for injury victims who want to avoid the potential exposure and scrutiny associated with a public trial. 

In an effort to avoid these scenarios, a portion of injury victims would rather not pursue compensation. However, those aren’t the only two options available to them. With help from an experienced personal injury lawyer, you may be able to reach a settlement without ever setting foot inside a courtroom. This article will explain everything you need to know about the process and more.

Are you drowning in debt after a serious accident? You may have recourse in the form of a personal injury lawsuit. Give us a call at (631) 289-4600 to explore your legal options.

Car Accident Lawsuits in New York

New York is home to a high number of vehicle crashes every year. According to the Department of Motor Vehicles, there were 313,000 reported motor vehicle crashes in 2019. In addition to causing nearly 950 fatalities, these crashes resulted in roughly 168,000 injuries. 

After considering these numbers, it’s no surprise that car accidents are the leading type of personal injury lawsuit filed in New York. Because New York follows the comparative negligence rule, injury victims who are partially at fault for their accidents can still file a claim and receive compensation. 

What Are the Benefits of Settling Outside of Court?

The vast majority of all civil cases (including personal injury and car accident lawsuits) are resolved prior to trial, up to 95% according to some estimates. Settling outside of court offers numerous potential benefits to injury victims and their families, including the following:

  • Time and cost savings. The court process can take months and even years to reach a resolution. By settling outside of court, an injury victim can save money on legal fees, as well as time and emotional energy. 
  • Greater outcome control. When you settle outside of court, you have options; you can negotiate your settlement and reject inadequate offers. However, you lose that ability when you put your case’s outcome in the hands of a judge or jury that may not understand the complexities of your case. 
  • Confidentiality. Whereas most court proceedings and their outcomes are public, settlement negotiations can be kept entirely private. 
  • Closure. Whereas going to court means remaining in a state of uncertainty for as long as the trial continues, settling outside of court offers a quick, definite resolution. With a settlement reached, you can take your compensation and move on. 

At the end of the day, whether you settle or go to trial is less about preference and more about finding the best course of action for your situation. Luckily, you don’t have to figure it out alone. An experienced personal injury lawyer can assess your situation and offer the best strategies for pursuing maximum compensation.

When Is It Necessary to Go to Court?

There are times when going to court is necessary because it is the only viable option for securing fair compensation. The following three scenarios are among the most common reasons that injury victims take their claims to trial:

  1. Disputed liability issues. Insurance companies are notorious for disputing liability in car accident claims. In New York and other states that operate under comparative negligence, this dispute is typically over the percentage of fault attributable to a driver. They may try to assign you too much fault or claim you were entirely at fault for your accident, in which case you’ll need to go to court in order to pursue the compensation you deserve. 
  2. Insufficient settlement offers. Insurance companies use a number of tactics to pay out as little in compensation as possible. If they’re unwilling to offer you a fair settlement, it may be necessary to take your claim to court.  
  3. Especially complex cases. In addition to insurance disputes, a number of factors can complicate car accident cases, including those that involve multiple parties and shared fault. In these scenarios, going to court may be the most effective way for an injury victim to secure a favorable outcome. 

Car accident claims that are not complicated by the above factors may be settled outside of court. The potential benefits associated with either option depend on the specific details of each car accident case. 

Jacoby & Jacoby: Top Car Accident Attorneys Serving New York

It’s a big decision to pursue legal action after an accident. If you’re on the fence about whether a car accident lawsuit is right for you, it’s important to ask yourself: Would a settlement substantially improve my quality of life or recovery? If the answer is yes, it’s important to contact a trusted attorney right away as there are time limits to filing. 

At Jacoby & Jacoby, our goal is to provide injury victims with the resources they need, not only to heal from their injuries, but to live the life they deserve to. Getting started with us is easy and risk-free. Simply contact us online to schedule a free, no-strings-attached case evaluation with one of our legal experts today.

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