What Happens If You Lose a Car Accident Lawsuit?
When you are hurt in a car accident that was caused by someone else, you might expect to be compensated for your medical expenses, lost income, and other damages that you have incurred. You may choose to file a lawsuit to pursue your claim for compensation.
However, despite your confidence in the validity of your claim, losing your lawsuit is a possibility. When a personal injury claim is not successful, you may be unsure of what to do next.
The Montgomery car accident attorneys of Serious Injury Law Group are ready to offer advice on your car accident injury claim. Contact us now to schedule a free consultation.
Reasons You Could Lose a Car Accident Lawsuit
When you choose to go to trial to resolve your car accident claim, you take the resolution of your claim out of your hands and place it into the hands of the court. No matter how persuasive you believe your case to be, when you put your case before a group of strangers, there are numerous reasons why you may end up with an unfavorable result.
Some of the most common reasons why you could lose your car accident case include:
You were not represented by an attorney.
Pursuing a legal claim for compensation is a complicated process, but especially for those who are inexperienced in personal injury law or the civil justice system. It is easy for a person who tries to pursue a car accident lawsuit on their own to sign documents that waive claims, to fail to ensure that all documents required by the court are filed in a correct and timely manner, or to fail to persuasively argue their case at trial.
You shared fault for your accident.
Many states allow a party who was injured in a car accident to recover compensation even if he or she was partially at fault for the accident (with that party’s compensation reduced by his or her share of fault). However, in Alabama, if a plaintiff bears any share of fault for his or her car accident (known as contributory negligence), it acts as a bar to his or her recovery of any damages.
You misrepresented your injuries or damages.
If you try to exaggerate or misrepresent the injuries you suffered in your car accident, it can quickly lead to a dismissal of your case as a sanction for your misrepresentation. Even if your case is not dismissed, it can completely undercut your credibility with the court and lead to an adverse verdict.
Evidence of your daily life was used against you.
Similarly, if you claim that you have suffered injuries that have left you unable to work or enjoy activities, evidence from your social media, such as photos or videos of you on vacation or participating in recreational activities, can undercut your case.
You had insufficient evidence of your damages.
Even if you are able to prove that another driver was at fault for your car accident, you can only win your lawsuit if you establish that you suffered damages. If your evidence fails to prove any monetary damages, you will not be able to recover compensation in a lawsuit.
You made damaging statements to an insurance claims adjuster.
If you provide a statement to a claims adjuster following your accident, any statements you provide could end up being used against you. This is especially true if your statements indicate that you bear some fault for the accident or contradict statements that you have provided under oath in your case.
The Appeals Process
If you have lost your car accident trial, your claim is not necessarily over. Once the trial court enters judgment against you in your lawsuit, you have the right to appeal to the Court of Civil Appeals or the Alabama Supreme Court, depending on the amount of damages at issue in your case.
The appeals process begins by filing a notice of appeal and assembling the record of the proceedings before the trial court to be reviewed by the appellate court. Your attorney will also draft a brief, setting forth your arguments identifying the errors you claim occurred in the trial court. For example, you might claim that the trial court admitted evidence that it should not have or that it failed to properly instruct the jury prior to its deliberations.
The appellate court may also hold oral arguments in your appeal, where your appellate argument will be presented to the judges, who will ask questions.
The appellate court will render an opinion. If the appellate court rules in your favor, it will typically send your case back to the trial court to correct whatever errors occurred, usually by holding a new trial. If the appellate court rules against you, you can petition for an appeal to the Alabama Supreme Court if you are in the Court of Civil Appeals. Otherwise, the state appellate process ends.
Other Options for Covering Expenses
Even though you may have lost the opportunity to recover compensation from the party you believe was responsible for your car accident, you may have other avenues to cover your medical expenses and make up for your inability to work.
In many cases, you can submit your medical expenses for treatment of injuries you suffered in a car accident to your health insurer for coverage. (If you submitted expenses prior to your lawsuit, your health insurance company may have agreed to provide coverage for your costs subject to its right to reimbursement against any recovery you obtained in your lawsuit.)
Social Security Disability
If your car accident injuries have left you unable to work, you may be eligible to apply for Social Security Disability benefits. These benefits, which provide partial wage replacement, are available to people who suffer a listed impairment that renders them unable to work for at least a period of one year.
Talk to a Car Accident Lawyer Now
If you’ve been hurt in a crash and need legal advice, contact the car injury lawyers at Serious Injury Law Group today. Schedule a free consultation with our team to learn more about your options and how our firm may be able to assist you.