Do I Settle a Claim or Take My Car Accident Case to Court?
By Chris Dixon
Car accident settlements can range anywhere from $10,000 to $25,000. The claims that back these settlements can be settled both in and outside of court. The option that is chosen is entirely dependent on each case and its specifics. Some cases are easily settled with the help of an experienced car accident lawyer outside of court, while others require a bit more time, negotiation and benefit from going to trial. To find out which option is the best choice for your case, it is best to discuss your car accident with a local lawyerwho can decide whether you should settle your claim or take your car accident case to court.
When to Settle a Car Accident Claim Outside of Court
Sometimes the quickest and least stressful way to recover damages for a car accident claim is to settle a car accident claim outside of court. Lawyers typically lean towards settling outside of court as it is often less expensive than going to trial and it usually takes less time to reach a settlement. At least 80% of personal injury cases are settled without a trial. Taking a car accident case to trial can put you at risk of receiving nothing in damages. When your case goes to trial, the decision of who is at-fault is entirely in the judge and juries hands. If either the judge or jury believes that you are guilty or at-fault, or that both you and the other driver are at-fault, you risk not receiving damages entirely.
When settling a car accident claim outside of court, your personal injury lawyer will negotiate with the negligent driver’s insurance company and do everything in their power to get you the most in compensation. While court cases rely on the judge and juries decision, when settling out of court the amount that your case receives is reliant on how solid your evidence from the accident is, the tactics your lawyer uses when negotiating and how much they push against the insurance company.
Taking Your Car Accident Case to Court
Taking a case to court, also known as “litigation”, is not common for personal injury cases. One in 20 personal injury cases goes to trial and is resolved by a judge. The cases that are taken to court are most often cases where the defendant’s liability is clear and there is no doubt that the person who was harmed is eligible to recover damages. Going to trial is a last resort for most lawyers, but if the other party will not award an acceptable settlement the only thing left to do sometimes is to present the case to a judge and have them decide who is liable and who should receive damages for the accident.
Should I Settle My Car Accident Claim Without a Lawyer?
It could be risky to attempt settling your car accident claim without a lawyer. Even if you have gathered substantial evidence that shows the other person is liable for the accident, large insurance companies have their ways of getting you to settle for less. They might make you an offer that seems pretty decent, but in reality, might be significantly less than you could have gotten from them. Hiring a car accident lawyer ensures that you are getting the most possible compensation for your claim. It might seem tempting to save money by not hiring a lawyer, but legal representation is often affordable. Most lawyers offer free initial consultations, utilize a contingency plan which means that you won’t have to pay until they win damages for your claim, or offer payment arrangements so that their services are more accessible.
How Does a Lawyer Decide Whether to Settle a Car Accident Claim in or Outside of Court?
Your car accident lawyer will take into account the facts of your case, survey its strengths and weaknesses and decide whether or not it would benefit from being settled out of court or in court. Most cases are settled prior to going to trial, but in some cases going to court is necessary to receive a proper settlement. If after a bit of negotiation from your lawyer the other driver’s insurance company still won’t award an acceptable settlement, your car accident lawyer will more than likely recommend that your case goes to trial. That is, if the evidence clearly shows that the other party is in the wrong. While it’s not a deal breaker, if you’re even slightly liable for the accident as well the judge and jury will have to take this into account when deciding whether or not to award damages. This can result in a lower settlement amount. So, to decide the best options for your car accident claim, it is wise to consult with a lawyer to decide whether to settle a claim or take your car accident case to court. For more insight into the options available to your case, contact the Dixon Injury Firm today.