Do You Have to Go to Court if You Were Injured in a Car Accident?

man on crutches personal injury fargo

Many people learn about personal injury cases from television and movies, where they see injury victims using crutches to take the witness stand in court. In reality, the personal injury process takes place mostly outside of the courtroom – and some cases never make it to court at all. The following is some information about how personal injury cases might be resolved.

Insurance Negotiations

Injury cases start by filing an insurance claim with the insurer of the negligent party or parties who caused the injuries. Insurance companies should cover the costs of harm caused by policyholders, though these companies are not always easy to deal with. It’s important to have representation by an experienced personal injury attorney to obtain a favorable settlement. If the insurance company is willing to pay for the damages you deserve, the case can end then and there, as you waive the right to take further legal action when you accept a settlement.

Pretrial Settlement Negotiations

In the event that the insurance company will not offer you enough to cover your losses, your attorney can escalate the matter by filing a personal injury lawsuit in civil court. Just because a lawsuit is filed does not mean you will go to court, however. The civil litigation process has many steps, including motion practice, discovery, and more. 

During pretrial litigation, your attorney can negotiate with the attorney for the defendant. Often, defendants and insurance companies want to avoid the uncertainty and expense of trial, so they might be more willing to offer a fair settlement during pretrial litigation. If you can reach a fair settlement, you will not have to proceed to trial. 


If the other party disputes liability or refuses to offer a fair amount in settlement negotiations, your case will need to proceed into the courtroom. The trial process is complex, and you want an experienced litigator advocating for you. After each side presents their arguments, which likely will involve your testimony, the jury will make a decision regarding the outcome of the case.

Consult with a Fargo Car Accident Lawyer about Your Rights

Our Fargo personal injury lawyers try to resolve claims as efficiently as possible, though we do not hesitate to start litigation or go to court if it is necessary to protect the rights and interests of our injured clients. Please feel free to contact one of our experienced personal injury attorneys, Tim O’Keeffe, Tatum O’Brien, or Sara Monson by email, or call O’Keeffe O’Brien Lyson Attorneys at 701-235-8000 or toll-free 877-235-8002.