According to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, there were 19,322 injury-causing collisions on state roads in 2020. Although this number was nearly 14% lower than the year before due to the pandemic, it still meant that thousands of motorists were hurt, many of whom likely filed personal injury claims to seek compensation.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident in Louisville or anywhere else in Kentucky, you may be concerned about whether you will have to go to court. This blog answers the question, “How many car accident cases go to trial?” and explains how a Louisville car accident lawyer can help ensure that your claim is resolved as soon as possible.
So How Many Car Accident Cases Go to Trial?
The answer is: very few. Although there are no precise statistics, an estimated 95% of pending car accident lawsuits end in a pre-trial settlement. In other words, just one in 20 car accident lawsuits in KY, or 5%, are settled by a judge or jury in a court of law.
If your case is not complex and the at-fault party can clearly be identified, your case will probably settle before trial. Trials tend to be held in more complex cases where one or more of the following elements are involved:
- Disagreement Over Claim Value: Some car accident lawsuits in KY go to trial when there is a disagreement on the value of the claim. Insurers often undervalue a victim’s losses in order to limit their liability and save money. Although an experienced car accident lawyer can often convince the insurer to make a fair offer, some companies refuse, especially in cases where a lot of money is at stake, such as permanently disabling or catastrophic injuries.
- Dispute as to Liability: Your claim may be disputed and proceed to trial if the other side denies liability for your car accident and injuries. During the trial, the jury will hear both sides and decide fault based on the evidence and facts presented.
- Bad Faith Insurance Tactics: Insurance companies sometimes mistreat claimants and refuse to offer fair settlements. Your case may end up in court if an insurance company acts in bad faith. By taking the insurance company to trial, you can force it to pay for your injuries and losses in full. Additionally, your lawyer might bring a bad-faith lawsuit against the insurance company to recover additional damages.
Although we prefer to settle car accident claims so our clients can receive their money sooner, our attorneys are skilled litigators who won’t hesitate to file a lawsuit when needed. We will carry out in-depth accident scene investigations, hire expert witnesses, and take other measures to collect evidence that supports your claim.
What Happens Before a Kentucky Car Accident Case Goes to Court?
After you file your lawsuit, your insurer or the other driver will file a written response. All parties to the lawsuit can move to dismiss some or all of the other side’s claims or go into discovery, where they exchange information about their theories of liability and damages. Either party can offer to settle the case at any time during this process.
In the event that the case does not settle, the court will set a date for the trial to begin. Typically, that date is several months or more after the lawsuit was first filed. Judges have considerable flexibility when scheduling trials based on the number of cases they currently have on their calendars. An unusually busy docket might lead a judge to schedule a trial well after filing an accident or lawsuit.
How Long Do Car Accident Trials Last?
There are several factors that determine the length of time spent in a courtroom in each case. Jury trials last longer than bench trials, in which only the judge evaluates the facts. Generally speaking, both sides will agree upon the issues to be addressed at trial, and eyewitnesses and experts will testify about these issues and other evidence. One or both of the following issues dominate most car accident cases:
- Party Liability: Whether you’re suing your own insurer or the driver directly, each party will present evidence supporting their version of how the accident occurred and who is mainly responsible for any injuries and losses. Kentucky is a pure comparative negligence state, so if you bear any responsibility for the accident, your share of fault is often addressed at trial.
- Your Damages: Your Kentucky car accident attorney will present evidence of your damages, which may include medical bills, lost wages, diminished earning ability, pain and suffering arising from your injuries, and other expenses related to the accident.
The severity of your injuries, the number of witnesses and defendants in the case, and the relative strength of both positions can dictate how long the trial lasts. Hearings can last a few days or a few weeks, and sometimes proceedings and filings can drag on for a year or more. Your Louisville car accident lawyer will give you an honest assessment of how long you can expect your case to take.
Regardless of whether your case settles or goes to trial, you can rest assured that The Schafer Law Office will go the extra mile to get you the maximum compensation possible. For over 25 years, attorney Mike Schafer and his team have been protecting the rights of those injured in serious car accidents and will seek the best results for your case.
Questions About Car Accident Lawsuits in KY? Get a Free Consultation From a Louisville Car Accident Lawyer
Getting a personal injury settlement from an insurance company has become increasingly difficult.