Do I Have to Go to Court or Hire a Car Accident Attorney?


Laura Schaefer

Most people live their whole lives without experiencing a serious car accident. So, when they do occur, many folks have some questions about what happens next:

Who pays for medical bills if I am injured? Who pays for my lost wages?

If you’ve just been hurt in an accident, it’s important to seek medical attention. As you focus on healing, the next step is to assess whether or not you the other party’s insurance company owes you damages. Chances are good that you qualify for a settlement payment.

One recent question from our reader had two parts:

1) Do I have to go to court? and

2) Do I have to use an attorney for my car accident claim?

The answer for both is clear: No, you don’t have to do either one of these things. And even if you do use an attorney, it’s extremely rare for you to have to go to court. According to recent data, 95% of car accident claims settle without going to trial. Of those that do go to trial, 57% rule in the plaintiff’s favor.

Free Auto Accident Evaluation

Hurt in a wreck that wasn’t your fault? Click here to speak with a nearby attorney for FREE about your Auto Accident claim.

Factors That Can Help Your Car Accident Case

One, most insurance companies prefer to settle your car accident claim rather than go to court. The reason for this approach is simple: When they settle, the outcome is more predictable. Two, it’s easier to prove liability and damages in car accident cases than it is for other types of lawsuits.

Your case improves if you have witness accounts that prove the other party was at fault. Police reports and pictures of the scene may also help. However, if you did not suffer income loss or injuries that you can prove with medical records, there may not be enough damages for you to receive a settlement. The best way to know if you have a case worth pursuing is to consult an auto accident lawyer.

Having the right lawyer on your side means you’ll get as much money as you possibly can for your claim. Studies show that, on average, attorneys get their clients more than 3.5 times the settlement amount people get that negotiate directly with insurers. That’s according to the study Paying for Auto Injuries: A Consumer Panel Survey of Auto Accident Victims by the Insurance Research Council.

How Big of a Settlement Can I Expect from an Insurance Company?

According to the Insurance Information Institute, the average bodily injury claim payout directly from insurers in 2020 was $20,235 plus $4,711 for auto repairs. This adds up to $24,946 in total. That means an auto attorney can likely get you closer to $87,000 for your average car accident payout. And that also means you’d keep closer to $58,498 after legal fees.

However, there are several factors affecting your payout that are out of your control. For example, the other driver’s car insurance may have a low policy limit. Also, the exact location where the crash happened makes a big difference. Some states or jurisdictions award higher payout amounts than others. Each judge is a little different. For that reason, it can be difficult to assess ahead of time how one will rule in your case should it go to trial.

What Happens if my Car Accident Attorney Loses my Case?

If you don’t win your claim, or if you can only receive a payment up to a certain coverage limit, then your health insurance provider will need to pay the difference. If you do not have health insurance, then you must the remaining medical bills yourself. In addition, if you are technically at fault for your accident, then no attorney will likely accept your case.

Fortunately, car accident lawyers charge $0 for legal assistance if they don’t win your case. So, you won’t lose any money out of your own pocket by working with one. You only pay a percentage of your settlement in legal fees once you win damages.

What is the Best Possible Outcome?

If you or someone you love has been in a recent car accident, it would be wise to reach out to a car accident attorney today. They can answer any remaining questions you may have about what to expect if you file a claim. The best possible outcome is to receive a settlement that covers all your medical bills, lost wages, and your suffering from the accident.

Ready to see if you may qualify? Complete your free online auto accident case evaluation now!

Laura Schaefer

Laura Schaefer is the author ofThe Teashop Girls,The Secret Ingredient, andLittler Women: A Modern Retelling. She is also an active co-author or ghostwriter of several nonfiction books on personal and business development. Laura currently lives in Windermere, Florida with her husband and daughter and works with clients all over the world. Visit her online at and