As the plaintiff in a car accident lawsuit, losing your case can be disheartening and frightening. You pursued legal action hoping to recover damages for your injuries and losses, but the jury did not find in your favor. Now you are left wondering what comes next and how you will cope with the outcome. The harsh reality is that when you lose a car accident lawsuit, you typically recover nothing. However, that does not mean you have no options or recourse. Understanding the implications of losing your case and planning your next steps carefully with your attorney can help you move forward in a positive way despite the initial disappointment. There are still ways to secure compensation for medical bills, vehicle repairs, lost wages, and other accident-related costs. Do not lose hope.
You May Still Be Able to Recover Damages
If the court rules against you in your car accident lawsuit, you still have options to potentially recover damages.
First, you can file an appeal of the decision. Appeals courts have the authority to review the proceedings of the original trial court to determine if there were any errors that negatively impacted the outcome. If the appeals court finds grounds to overturn the original verdict, they can order a new trial.
Do not lose hope if your initial car accident lawsuit ends in an unfavorable result. Speaking with your attorney about next steps and alternative options to recover damages can help determine the best path forward. While the legal process can be complicated, staying determined and exploring all available avenues for settlement or re-trial are important. With persistence, you may still be able to obtain a fair outcome.
The Defendant's Insurance Company Will Not Pay You
If the jury finds in favor of the defendant in your car accident lawsuit, their insurance company will not provide you any compensation for your injuries or other damages.
You Will Be Responsible for Your Own Medical Bills
Without an award from the lawsuit or settlement, you will be solely responsible for any medical bills resulting from the accident. This includes emergency transport, hospital stays, surgeries, physical therapy, and any other treatment you have already received or will need in the future. The costs of these services can be substantial, even with health insurance.
You Will Not Be Compensated for Lost Wages or Pain and Suffering
In addition to medical expenses, you sought compensation for lost wages from time off work, as well as pain and suffering. Unfortunately, when you lose the case, the defendant's insurance company will not provide any payment for these or other non-economic damages. You will need to find other ways to recover your lost income and cope with any ongoing discomfort from your injuries.
Appealing The Verdict May Be Difficult
Except in cases of improper jury instructions, judicial error, or misconduct, the decision of the jury is usually final. While you could file post-trial motions or an appeal, courts rarely overturn jury verdicts. Unless there are clear legal grounds, you will likely not get another chance to pursue damages from the defendant.
Consult with Your Attorney About Next Steps
If you lose at trial, speak to your attorney about any options you may have left to potentially recover compensation, however limited they may be. They can review the details of your case and determine if an appeal or other legal procedure may be worthwhile to pursue. They can also discuss strategies for handling your financial and health situations going forward without an award or settlement.
You Can Appeal the Decision
If the ruling in your car accident lawsuit does not go in your favor, you have the right to appeal the decision. An appeal means asking a higher court to review the decision to determine if the proper laws and procedures were followed.
You Must File an Appeal Within a Certain Time Frame
Each state has its own rules regarding the appeals process, including strict deadlines for filing an appeal. In most states, you must file an appeal within a certain amount of days of the judgment. Missing this deadline will result in losing your right to appeal. Once you file a notice of appeal, the appeals court will review the evidence and proceedings from your original trial to determine if any errors occurred.
The Appeals Process Can Be Lengthy
The appeals process typically takes several months to over a year to complete. During this time, the judgment from your original trial will not be enforced. If damages were awarded, the defendant will not have to pay them until the appeal ruling. The appeals court may uphold the original ruling, reverse it, or order a new trial. There are no guarantees of a different outcome, but you have a chance of overturning an unfavorable verdict.
You Will Need an Attorney to Handle the Appeal
The appeals process is complicated, with strict rules regarding evidence and legal procedures. Hiring an attorney who specializes in personal injury law and appeals is strongly advised. Your trial attorney can also handle your appeal, as they are already familiar with the details of your case. Appellate attorneys have additional training and experience with the appeals process to give you the best chance of success.
While losing your car accident lawsuit is unfortunate, filing an appeal gives you an opportunity to potentially reverse the decision. With the help of an attorney, you can navigate the appeals process for the best possible outcome.
Your Own Insurance May Cover Your Losses
If you lose your car accident lawsuit, your own auto insurance policy may help cover your losses. Most standard policies include coverage for medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses resulting from an accident.
Bodily Injury Liability Coverage
Your auto policy likely includes bodily injury liability coverage, which helps pay for medical care and other costs if you're found legally responsible for injuring someone else in an accident. The same coverage can apply if you're injured in an accident where the other driver is at fault but unable to pay. Depending on your policy limits, this coverage may help pay for hospital stays, doctors' visits, physical therapy, and medication costs related to your injuries.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Uninsured motorist coverage helps pay for your costs if an uninsured or underinsured driver causes an accident. If the other driver lacks enough insurance to cover your losses in a lawsuit, your own UM coverage can step in. This protects you financially in situations where the at-fault driver cannot be held fully responsible to pay for damages. UM coverage typically mirrors your own liability coverage limits.
Medical Payments Coverage
Most auto policies also include medical payments coverage, which helps pay for medical care for you and your passengers after an accident, regardless of who's at fault. This "no-fault" coverage can help cover ambulance fees, hospital bills, doctors' services, and physical therapy. While liability coverage only applies if you're found legally responsible for an accident, med pay coverage helps pay costs even if you're not at fault.
Though losing a car accident lawsuit is disappointing, your own insurance policy may provide coverage for medical bills, lost income, and other losses resulting from the accident. Reviewing your auto policy with your insurance agent can help determine what coverage may apply if you're unable to recover damages from the other driver.
FAQ: Filing a Lawsuit After a Car Accident
If you lose your car accident lawsuit, there are a few things you should know.
First, the court’s decision is typically final. Once a verdict has been rendered and appeals have been exhausted, the case is usually closed. However, in some situations, motions can be filed to reopen a case if new evidence comes to light. Your attorney can advise you on whether reopening the case is an option.
Second, you will generally have to pay your own legal fees and costs. While your attorney may have worked on contingency, meaning you paid nothing upfront, you are usually responsible for any expenses if you lose. Your attorney’s contingency fee agreement should specify whether you owe any fees in the event of a loss.
Third, the other party may be able to recover legal costs from you. If the other side prevailed, they can potentially petition the court to have you pay a portion of their attorney’s fees and litigation costs. The court has discretion over whether and how much to award.
Finally, you typically cannot file another lawsuit over the same incident. The legal principle of “res judicata” prevents re-litigating matters that have already been judged. However, if new injuries, damages or evidence come to light later, you may be able to file a separate lawsuit regarding those new claims.
In summary, losing a car accident lawsuit often means the case is over, you must pay your own legal fees, you could owe the other side's fees, and you usually cannot sue again for the same incident. While disheartening, these outcomes highlight the risks of pursuing litigation. Your attorney can fully explain how these principles may apply in your unique situation.
Fletcher Law Can Help You Understand Your Case
If you lose your car accident lawsuit, it can be an upsetting experience. However, there are a few things you should keep in mind:
You can appeal the decision. If you believe the judgment was made in error or unfairly, you have the right to appeal to a higher court. Appeals must be filed within a certain time period, often 30 days, so you will need to act quickly. An appeal may overturn the original ruling.
The decision is not necessarily permanent. In some cases, you may be able to file a motion for a new trial or bring another lawsuit against the same defendant based on new evidence. However, the court may deny a motion for a new trial if no legal errors occurred in the original trial and no new substantial evidence has been found.
You may still recover some losses. Even if you lose your case, the court may find that the other party was partially at fault. You could receive compensation for a percentage of damages. Your insurance may also cover medical bills, vehicle repairs or other losses up to your policy limits.
Talk to a lawyer about your options. An experienced attorney can review the details of your case, the trial proceedings and ruling to determine if you have grounds for an appeal or another legal action. They can advise you on the likelihood of success for further pursuit of compensation. Speaking with a lawyer does not obligate you to take further action but can provide guidance on the best path forward. Call Fletcher Injury Law today.
Losing a lawsuit can be disappointing, but do not lose hope. There are still opportunities to potentially receive compensation for your losses. By consulting with a lawyer and understanding your legal options fully, you can make the choice that is right for your situation. Staying informed and proactively protecting your rights and interests is always advisable.