What Happens if You Lose a Car Accident Lawsuit?

6Jun
toy cars on a table with words what happens when you lose a car accident lawsuit

If you are the plaintiff, and you lose a car accident lawsuit in Spring Hill, FL, you could be left to pay for any losses you and your family members suffered in the crash. If your injuries were severe, you suffered a permanent disability, or someone in your family died, these losses can put a significant strain on your wallet. In some cases, medical bills alone are enough to drive car accident victims into severe financial hardship. This is just one of the reasons why it’s so important to hire the best car accident lawyer you can find after suffering injuries in a wreck. 

toy cars on a table with words what happens when you lose a car accident lawsuit

Financial Struggles You Could Face if You Lose a Car Accident in Spring Hill, FL

Losing a car accident lawsuit is going to cost you money. You may face various financial challenges as you struggle to pay for your medical bills and make up for your lost wages. With so much going out to pay for your losses that were caused by the accident, you may have a difficult time paying your rent or mortgage, keeping the lights on, or even making sure food is in the refrigerator.

If you are unable to stay on top of your medical expenses and other bills, you may be faced with phone calls from bill collectors, judgements, or wage garnishments. Before you know it, your credit score may plummet. You may be forced to:

  • Get a second job if you are able to work
  • Take out a second mortgage or another type of loan
  • Drain your savings that you’ve worked so hard to accumulate
  • File for bankruptcy

If you require ongoing medical treatments or the continued use of medical equipment, your medical bills will continue to wreak havoc on your finances. To make things worse, you could even be responsible for the defendant’s court costs and attorney’s fees.

Why Plaintiffs Lose Car Accident Lawsuits 

Injured victims lose car accident lawsuits for various reasons in Florida. One of the most common reasons that lawsuits are not successful is that plaintiffs attempt to handle their cases on their own, without the help of an experienced car accident lawyer. While many clients avoid hiring an attorney to bypass attorney fees, they end up losing money in the long run when their lawsuits are unsuccessful, or they settle for less than their cases are worth. Studies show that hiring a motor vehicle accident lawyer substantially improves the chances of winning a lawsuit, and increases the amount victims recover as well.

Other reasons injured victims lose car accident lawsuits include:

Issues with Evidence

As the plaintiff in a car accident lawsuit, the burden of proof rests on you to prove liability for the crash. Even in cases where fault appears to be straightforward, demonstrating liability can be difficult. If your accident involved multiple drivers, defective motor vehicle parts, or road hazards, you may be in for quite a challenge. In most cases, you’ll depend on photos of the accident scene, witness statements, vehicle damage points, dashcam footage, and footage from surveillance cameras to show how the accident happened. If you don’t have evidence to support your claim, there is no way to prove that the defendant caused the accident. 

Fast-Talking Insurance Companies

The insurance company is out to make a profit. They often place their own bottom line ahead of the wellbeing of injured victims, even if they know they are truly liable. They will probably dispute the severity of your injuries or say they weren’t caused by your crash. They’ll look for ways to point fingers at other parties, or even blame you for the accident. Their representatives will likely try to discourage you from hiring a lawyer, and tell you that you have a limited amount of time to accept their initial offer. In court, you will face a team of attorneys who are experienced in twisting the facts in the at-fault driver’s favor. 

Contributory Negligence

In March 2023, Florida began following the modified comparative negligence system instead of the previously used pure comparative fault system. Under the 50% rule, an injured victim can only recover compensation if his or her share of fault in causing the crash is 50% or less. If you are determined to have been 51% of fault for your accident, you cannot recover compensation for your losses from the other party. If you are 50% or less at-fault, however, you can recover compensation, but your award will be reduced in proportion to the amount of fault you are assigned. 

Credibility

When you present your case to the court, honesty is key. You will need to make sure that your claims match the evidence, the injuries, and the damages that were caused. Since pain and suffering are subjective losses, some victims are tempted to stretch the truth in an attempt to convince the jury to lean in their favor. Doing so can cost you, however. If the judge or jury perceives any part of your claim as misrepresentation or exaggeration, it can be fatal to your lawsuit. 

Making Statements That Imply Fault

In the event of someone attempting to sue you for a car accident, it’s important to avoid making any statements of any kind to injury victims, insurers, and other parties beyond your own lawyer.

Even if you don’t directly admit fault and claim that you aren’t liable, you may inadvertently make a statement to opposing parties that they may perceive as implying fault. Even saying something seemingly insignificant like “I’m sorry” after an accident can imply fault for the crash. Instead of making statements on your own, you should allow an attorney to develop and issue them when communicating with plaintiffs, insurers, and lawyers.

Social Media Posts

Social media is one of your worst enemies when you have a personal injury lawsuit in the works. Even if your privacy settings are strict, the posts you make and the photos you post are admissible in court. If you post photos of you playing volleyball at the beach, for instance, but you are claiming to be seriously injured from the accident, you will probably lose your car accident lawsuit. Likewise, if you post about how fast you were going when the crash occurred, and the speed doesn’t line up with your statement in court, it can be detrimental to your case. 

Waiting Too Long to Take Legal Action

Recently, Florida reduced the amount of time victims have to file personal injury cases, like car accident lawsuits, from four years to two years (730 days) for most cases. If you wait until day 731 to take legal action, you could be barred from recovering compensation for your losses. Additionally, sometimes the statute of limitations is even shorter, and people who think they are within the timeframe allowed are unpleasantly surprised to find out they have missed their window of opportunity to file a lawsuit. 

Do You Have to Pay Attorney Fees if You Lose a Car Accident Lawsuit?

Whether you will owe attorney fees if you lose your car accident lawsuit depends on how your attorney’s fee structure is set up. Most car accident lawyers in Spring Hill, Florida accept personal injury cases on a contingency basis. If this is the case in your situation, you won’t pay any attorney fees if you lose your car accident lawsuit. Your lawyer will only get paid if you win. 

Is It Possible to Appeal if You Lose a Car Accident Lawsuit in Florida?

If you are the injured victim, and you lose a car accident in Florida, you can appeal the ruling. There are only a few situations where it’s a good idea to file an appeal, however. If the judge made an error during the trial, the law was not applied correctly, or the jury was tainted, for instance, appealing an adverse decision might successful. 

Should You Settle Your Car Accident Case Out of Court?

Many people choose to settle their cases outside of court because they are worried about what might happen if they lose a car accident lawsuit. While 90% or more of personal injury cases are resolved through settlement, and it’s perfectly acceptable to accept a fair settlement offer from the insurance company, you should not settle your case out of fear of losing your lawsuit. If you have an experienced car accident attorney on your side, and evidence to prove fault exists, your chances of losing your lawsuit are slim.  

How to Increase Your Chances of Winning Your Car Accident Lawsuit

The best way to increase your chances of winning a car accident lawsuit in Florida is to hire an experienced personal injury lawyer to handle your case. The earlier you retain an attorney, the better your chances of winning. Additionally, it’s important to be completely honest with your lawyer about how the accident happened and the severity of your injuries. This helps ensure that there are no surprises in the courtroom. Follow your lawyer’s instructions, help gather documentation and evidence to support your claim, and trust your attorney to guide you through the legal process.

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James (Jim) Magazine is a Florida Board Certified Civil Trial lawyer who has spent his career helping injured victims. Jim is licensed to practice law in the State of Florida since 1990 and is also admitted to practice at the Appellate level and admitted to the United States Supreme Court.