Even If you have never been in a car accident, you might have heard that some of these cases end up being resolved in a settlement, without going to court, often without anyone ever filing a lawsuit. Depending on the circumstances of your case, there will be some advantages and disadvantages of settling or going to court. How much can you expect from a car accident settlement depends on many factors. As settlements are not standard, there is no average car accident settlement, every single one is unique, so it is essential to understand the difference between these two options and how they might apply to your case.
How Does the Settlement Process Work?
When involved in a car wreck caused by another driver’s negligence, and you are injured in the process, you are entitled to seek compensation for your damages through a personal injury claim. This compensation usually covers all your medical bill expenses, wages you were unable to earn due to being out of work during your recovery, and your pain and suffering. This process involves more than submitting a claim to the other driver’s insurance provider and receiving compensation for your losses. Depending on the case, your claim could be resolved quickly, or it could become a long, drawn-out process that requires substantial court involvement, including a lawsuit and an appearance in court.
Settling Outside the Court
There are a few reasons why one might choose to settle a car accident over getting the case to court. That mostly includes saving much time by obtaining compensation sooner, having a chance to avoid appearing in court or facing an unpredictable jury and wanting to save on legal fees (which can be unpredictably high). The longer it takes to receive a payment that covers your medical bills and wages, the deeper the debt may become, and even if your car accident case goes to trial and you win a judgment, it might be difficult to collect it all. This might sound like an easier and faster way of getting closure after being involved in a car accident. Still, sometimes it is better to get legal guidance and representation through each step of your settlement, so you can be sure you are getting the most of it.
Going to Court
After you file your injury claim with the insurance provider, the insurance company investigates the accident. The investigation involves a review of every piece of evidence that you provide to prove your claim’s validity, such as the official police report, photographs of your car and the other driver’s car, statements from witnesses to the accident, etc. If you cannot or for some reason don’t want to reach an appropriate settlement with the insurance provider, you might need to bring your claim to court. Your lawyer will then determine if going to court is the right choice for you, and if so, the lawyer will walk you through all the steps involved in your case. Briefly, both parties appear in court and present their claims to the jury. Both sides examine witnesses, and after they present evidence, the jury will reach a verdict. The judge reads this verdict to all parties involved, and both have the option to appeal the judgment entered in the case.
Deciding What Path to Take
With all things considered, there is no immediate right answer about whether or not you should settle your car accident claim. Every single case is going to be different from the other one and therefore must be addressed as so. The issue with settling quickly is that you might not know the full extent of the injuries you sustained and if they will require further treatment. Once you accept a settlement offer, you are not able to reopen your case if you later realize it was not enough to compensate you for the costs associated with the accident. Another thing to keep in mind is that settlement discussions can continue even if you file a lawsuit, even so, they can continue after the jury reached a verdict. Settling a claim out of court is often less expensive and less stressful for all parties involved, but in some cases, it is impossible or just not good enough.
Insurance companies are known to aggressively protect their profits. On the other hand, your lawyer’s job is to protect you and seek the maximum amount you can get as a team. With all being said don’t forget that you can still settle outside of court with the assistance of an attorney who is experienced in negotiating with insurance companies.