If you happen to lose a car accident lawsuit in Michigan, there are several things that may happen. First, you may be able to appeal. Second, you will likely not have to pay your own lawyer if he or she was working on a contingency fee basis. Third, you are still entitled to recover No-Fault benefits if they were not at issue in the lawsuit.
We know how stressful it can be to have your life turned upside down by an automobile crash that leaves you with injuries that require treatment and recovery and prevent you from working and living your normal life.
We also know that this stress can be amplified by the prospect of filing – and possibly even happening on losing a car accident lawsuit.
Why would you – or anyone for that matter -happen to ever lose a car accident lawsuit if you were completely innocent and injured by another driver who was negligent or careless?
It’s important to remember that nothing is certain especially when it comes to trial. Even the greatest trial lawyers can lose cases – and this includes cases that frankly they should have won. Sometimes there is a tainted jury or there is prejudicial error, but at the end of the day it is precisely this uncertainty and this risk that leads most cases to settle because this same uncertainty and risk also applies to the insurance company that is defending the case.
That said, there are two truths that can provide peace of mind to automobile crash victims who happen to feel anxious about losing a car accident lawsuit:
- Experienced auto accident attorneys do not take cases that they do not feel that they can win. There are lawyers who will take any case, including frivolous cases, hoping to get “something,” but experienced and reputable lawyers – lawyers with a track record of success – tend to accept cases that they believe they will win if these cases go to trial. While nothing is ever guaranteed, trial is all about taking calculated risks and experienced lawyers with a reputation for taking cases to trial understand this – and they’ve accepted your case and you as a client because your lawyer believes your case can be won.
- Always remember that the best way to get a great settlement on any automobile crash case is to prepare as if this case will go to trial. It is the cases that lawyers take shortcuts on and that they don’t prepare that ironically are the ones most likely to go to trial – and the ones most likely to be lost at trial.
Filing an appeal if you happen to lose your car accident lawsuit
If your case goes to trial and you happen to lose your car accident lawsuit because a jury or a judge rules against you and in favor of the at-fault driver, then you may be able to appeal the ruling to your state’s appellate courts. This is a decision you will want to discuss thoroughly with your lawyer and is often used as a tactic in automobile crash lawsuits to reach a settlement by compromising on prevailing party costs and attorney fees and other issues that arise post-trial. Even if you happen to lose a car accident lawsuit, your lawyer may still have things to negotiate and reach a compromise settlement on, such as waiving appeal if the defense will agree to pay a certain amount. Keep in mind that if clear judicial error occurred at trial, making an appellate win likely, the other side may also want to settle to avoid incurring the costs of appeal and still facing the exposure of having to go through yet another trial in the future.
Also keep in mind that the vast majority of automobile crash lawsuits settle, and your odds of reaching a settlement increase if your lawyer is experienced and has a successful track record and is known to take cases to trial and has obtained notable verdicts because all of this also increases the exposure and risk for the insurance company defending the case. The vast majority of car crash cases are resolved by way of settlement either before a lawsuit is filed, after case evaluation/mediation or after facilitation. As a lawyer, I’ve also had dozens of cases settle on the eve of trial or even during trial when the insurance company finally understands their exposure and “finds” their checkbook.
As for the cases that do end up going to trial and going all the way through to verdict and judgment, these cases typically resolve at some point during the appeal process.
You don’t pay your attorney if you happen to lose your car accident lawsuit
With very few exceptions, you will not have to pay attorney fees if you happen to lose your car accident lawsuit. Most lawyers – including our own attorneys at Michigan Auto Law – work on a contingency fee basis, which means the crash victim only pays a fee if the attorney reaches a recovery for the crash victim and wins the victim’s lawsuit, either by a settlement or through a trial verdict.
In other words, if your lawyer is working on a contingent fee and does not win your case and there is no financial recovery for you, then you do not have to pay attorney fees. There are some law firms out there that still try to recover costs and fees from clients, and these are lawyers and law firms that you should probably stay away from.
What happens to your No-Fault benefits if you happen to lose your car accident lawsuit?
Michigan is a No-Fault state, and normally an automobile crash lawsuit will be a completely separate case from your entitlement to receive No-Fault benefits – even if you happen to lose your car accident lawsuit. Your own insurance company must still pay you these No-Fault PIP benefits if these benefits are “reasonably necessary” to your accident-related care, recovery or rehabilitation.
The only possible exception to this would be if there were Michigan No-Fault benefits that were also the subject of lawsuit. If there is a combined first party PIP case involving No-Fault benefits that is filed and tried at the same time as your lawsuit, these PIP benefits will no longer be recoverable by you either through a renewed claim or through a future No-Fault lawsuit.
Were you injured in a car crash? Call the auto accident attorneys at Michigan Auto Law
If you were injured in a car crash and you have questions about your legal rights to pain and suffering compensation, economic damages and auto No-Fault insurance benefits, you can speak to an experienced auto accident lawyer at (800) 777-0028 for a free consultation. You can also get help from an experienced No-Fault insurance attorney by visiting our contact page or you can use the chat feature on our website.