Most legal disputes do not end up in court. Instead, most often, settlements happen outside of court. This is also true of car accident disputes in Ohio.

While images of courtrooms tend to come to the front of our minds when we think about the legal process, the vast majority of legal practice does not happen in the courtroom. Instead, it takes place, primarily, in law offices.

For car accidents, the settlement process may not involve a lawyer at all. Instead, the entire claims process may involve just insurance companies and the injured party. If your car accident dispute is going to trial, then you may wonder what happens when you go to court for a car accident in Ohio.

Overview

Going to court can be a long protracted process. It takes more effort, money, and commitment than settling out of court. Because of the substantial commitment, it is important to know what to expect in the courtroom before deciding whether to take your case to court.

The same goes for determining whether a specific aspect of a dispute is worth the fight. Most people, even those with prior involvement in legal disputes, have never been to trial and don’t know what to expect in court for a car accident. Thus, if considering taking a car accident case to trial in Ohio, you want to weigh all your options.

To do so, you need as much relevant information as possible to get an idea of what happens in the 5% of cases that go to court.

Reasons Why You May End Up in Court

Typically, you will only end up in court after a car accident if you cannot resolve a substantial dispute through negotiations. Most car accident cases find a resolution through a settlement. With an accident report, documentation of economic damages, and Ohio traffic rules in hand, a car accident claim should be relatively cut and dry. 

However, if there is a dispute over an accident’s facts, a case can easily go to trial. A disagreement over who is at fault in an accident is particularly likely to bring a car accident case to trial. After all, the question of who is to blame for an accident will determine who is liable for damages.

If one party believes they are not at fault despite an accident report to the contrary, it is unlikely that they or their insurance company will want to pay for any damages. After all, why would anyone want to pay for the damage they did not cause?

Many other car accident disputes that make it to trial are there because of a disagreement over the extent of non-economic damages. Unlike economic damages, non-economic damages are intangible; they do not have a clear dollar value and can include seemingly infinite losses.

Unlike economic damages, it is not always clear what non-economic damages exist. Furthermore, the amount of non-economic damages can be very subjective. Non-economic damages are open for debate and interpretation, which is precisely what happens in a courtroom. 

Consider someone losing a limb. Losing a limb is a clear form of damage outside of medical costs, but what is the loss’s dollar value? States may have a precedent that helps establish a general rule that lawyers could use in negotiations, but there is still room for debate. So, if two parties disagree over the existence of non-economic damages or on the amount of those damages, a case could be taken to trial.

Should I Just Settle?

While the decision is ultimately yours to make, sometimes it is not worth the trouble of going to court over a car accident claim dispute. You may vehemently feel that your pain and suffering is worth more than the insurance company is offering. However, if you have bills to pay and need money soon, it may be worth it to settle out of court.

Settling also alleviates the risk that you may recover nothing if the case goes to trial. Finally, the additional costs of trial, such as paying an expert to testify in support of your claim, may be greater than the additional damages you stand to gain. 

Conversely, if you and your attorney are confident that your claim is worth much more than the insurance company is offering, going to trial may be worth the extra time and cost.

How Can Expert Witnesses Help My Case?

If you are in court over a car accident dispute, you can expect to involve one or more expert witnesses. For example, an expert witness such as a psychologist may be brought into the courtroom to prove the existence of non-economic damages like emotional trauma and place a dollar amount on them.

In other cases, where the dispute is over who is at fault, a traffic-safety expert may be brought in to demonstrate to the jury that one party is more at fault than the other. Expert witnesses can play an integral role in the car accident court process.

We Are Here to Answer Your Questions

If you are considering going to court for a car accident settlement, don’t go without legal advice. Contact Bensinger Law today. Because going to court is such a large investment of time and money, you likely have many questions about the car accident court process. Aaron Bensinger has extensive experience successfully litigating Ohio car accident claims.

At Bensinger Law, we are here to help. We will listen to your story, answer your questions thoroughly and compassionately, and craft a legal strategy that meets your case’s specific needs.

Author Photo

Aaron L. Bensinger

Aaron L. Bensinger is an Ohio attorney serving personal injury and civil litigation clients. He has extensive trial experience and makes client service is his primary focus. As a partner at Balyeat, Leahy, Daley, Miller & Bensinger, LLC, Aaron happily works in Lima, OH, and serves the entire Northwest region of the state and beyond.

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