Traffic accidents cause thousands of injuries each year. Complex issues involving traffic accidents can include questions of fault, damages, and compensation. Not all of the many possible outcomes for an injury claim arising from a traffic accident are favorable to you. The following will help you learn those possible outcomes and how they might affect your ability to recover compensation.
If you have suffered a personal injury in a traffic accident in the Philadelphia area, consult an attorney to protect your rights and explore your compensation options. The Levin Firm can help you after a traffic accident. Take advantage of a free consultation. Contact us at (215) 825-5183 or through our online contact form.
Unfortunately not every outcome favors people injured in traffic accidents. Sometimes, particularly when you are the one at fault for an accident, you have to accept the settlement offer you negotiate with your insurance company. Under these circumstances, the other driver won’t have to pay you compensation. In fact, the other driver will seek compensation from you and your insurance company. In such a case, what you receive from your insurance company might not even cover all of your damages, property or medical.
A traffic accident case can turn out many other ways. If you suffered a personal injury in a traffic accident that the other driver caused, your case can take several different paths—depending on the circumstances of the accident and the injury, as well as the decisions you, the injured party, make.
At its most basic, a personal injury claim is an attempt by an injured person to recover compensation from the negligent person who caused the injury. The injury can result from any negligent act, including a traffic accident. The injured party may seek to recover compensation through the negligent party’s insurance company or through litigation. If the matter goes to litigation, the injured party is known as the plaintiff, and the negligent party is called the defendant. Sometimes decisions made by the plaintiff or defendant influence the outcome of the case, and sometimes the legal process drives the outcome.
First, a plaintiff may decide to drop the case for any number of reasons. In cases where fault is at question, plaintiffs may decide to just take what they can get from their own insurance companies, having decided that litigation isn’t worth the effort or risk.
The case could settle. The vast majority of cases end in this fashion. Most never reach trial, especially when fault is clear-cut. A settlement is, essentially, an agreement between the plaintiff and defendant that the defendant will pay an agreed-upon sum of money if the plaintiff drops the lawsuit. Usually, a defendant does not admit fault under a settlement, and the plaintiff agrees not to pursue any other claims related to the same accident. The parties often submit settlement agreements to a judge for approval, making them legally binding. All settlements are different, but in general, they will compensate the plaintiff for medical damages, both present and future, lost income, property damage, and in some cases compensation for pain and suffering or emotional distress.
If large sums of money are at stake or fault is murky, a defendant’s insurance company may decide to fight that case at trial. If the matter goes to trial, two possible outcomes could result. If the plaintiff wins, the plaintiff will receive compensation, with the amount generally determined by the jury, based on evidence of damages—which typically includes medical treatment costs, lost wages, property damage, pain and suffering, and emotional distress.
Another possible outcome of a trial, of course, is that the defendant wins. In that case, the plaintiff receives nothing—and depending upon the jurisdiction, might have to pay some of the defendant’s costs of going to trial. These could include court filing fees, any fees charged for process servers, witness fees, and attorney fees to the extent allowed by statute.
No matter who wins at trial, the losing party might decide to appeal the verdict. The reasons for appeal can be procedural (meaning the appealing party believes the trial judge took an action or issued a ruling that contributed to an improper outcome) or substantive (meaning that the decision of the trial court—whether by judge or jury, depending upon the type of trial—was simply so wrong, flying in the face of plain evidence, that appellate court cannot allow the verdict to stand). Because appellate courts generally presume the trial court’s decision is correct, the latter appeals rarely succeed. Even a procedural appeal must show that the court’s ruling on some issue was egregiously wrong and by itself changed the outcome of the trial. That is a difficult standard to overcome.
If you were in a traffic accident in the Philadelphia area and suffered an injury, explore your compensation options with The Levin Firm. Your personal injury claim could reach many different possible outcomes, but The Levin Firm can help you navigate it through the legal system to your just compensation. Contact us at (215) 825-5183 or through our online contact form.
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