Can the Other Driver File a Counter Claim to My Car Accident Lawsuit?
If you ask the people involved in a car accident who was at fault, they’ll both point to the other person. Nobody is going to stand up and admit that they were at fault. Why would they do this? It can’t possibly lead to any good. This is why there are so many car accident lawsuits in Houston, Texas. One driver insists the other party is at fault and demands compensation. The other driver hires a car accident lawyer in Houston to file suit. What usually happens is that the two sides have to come to some agreement on how to settle the matter.
When you file your insurance claim, the claims adjuster is going to review your case. They’re going to try to determine who was at fault. Financially, it makes more sense for them to hold you accountable. Why would they want to pay a claim if they don’t have to?
This is why you need an experienced car accident lawyer in Houston. They’ll negotiate with the insurance adjuster to try to settle your claim. If they’re unable to do this, they’ll have no other choice but to file suit on your behalf.
Who Files Suit First?
The outcome of any car accident lawsuit may come down to who makes the first move. The person who files a lawsuit is sometimes given the benefit of the doubt. Why else would someone file suit if they weren’t the victim, right?
That’s not necessarily true. Sometimes, a driver files suit in order to force the other side to settle. For example, the insurance company may truly think you were at fault. But that may not be true. They may know their client is at least partially at fault. However, they know they can settle for less than the full amount if they deny your claim.
If your claim is denied, you should be the first to strike. Your Houston car accident attorney can file suit against the other driver. Their insurance company is required to defend the lawsuit on behalf of their customer. This means that they’ll have to respond to the lawsuit.
If they decide to push back, they may file a counter-claim.
What is a Counter Claim?
If someone is sued but believes the other party is at fault, they can file a counter claim. When they are served with your complaint, they not only answer your complaint, but they file a complaint of their own. This is called a counter claim.
Basically, this is the insurance company’s way of telling the court that their client is not only not liable – but they’re actually the victim! They’ll demand that you pay their client damages. While your Houston auto accident attorney may not be surprised that they filed a counter claim, they’ll still be frustrated.
What this may be is an effort to initiate settlement negotiations. As soon as your lawyer receives the counter claim, they’ll do two things: First, they’ll file a response to the counter claim. Second, they’ll contact the insurance adjuster and start settlement negotiations.
Can You Settle a Counter Claim?
You can settle a counter claim the same way you can settle your lawsuit. In fact, more than 90% of all car accident lawsuits eventually settle. Very few of them go to trial. So, the fact that the defendant files a counter claim doesn’t mean you won’t settle your case. It just means that you’ve lost a bit of leverage.
Your attorney will still work hard to negotiate a settlement of your case. They’ll try to get the insurance company to agree to a fair settlement amount. Your attorney’s goal is still to get you as much money as possible.
It will really come down on the facts. If your attorney believes that you have a strong case, they’re not going to be willing to accept a low-ball offer. However, if your lawyer truly believes your odds of winning in court are less than 50%, they may encourage you to accept a settlement for less than an ideal amount.
Contact an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer in Houston Today
If you or your loved one have been injured in a car accident, you need to call a Houston personal injury attorney. They can review your case and let you know what it may be worth. They can also answer any questions you may have.
Call McDonald Worley today and schedule your initial consultation. It’s absolutely free and you pay nothing unless you settle your case.