Should I Try to Settle My Car Accident Claim Out of Court?
No one wants to sit around and wonder if they will get fair compensation from the liable party after being in a car accident. In some situations, medical bills can start piling up quickly. Life may become increasingly difficult if the plaintiff’s vehicle was destroyed in the crash and they do not have a substitute.
All of these inconveniences and troubles will eventually lead to this extremely common question that personal injury attorneys hear: “Should I try to settle my car accident claim out of court?” Unfortunately, the answer is not as simple as the question.
Benefits of Settling Your Car Accident Claim
Should you settle your car accident claim out of court? Maybe. Will you? Probably.
The truth is that most car accident claims never reach the courtroom, instead ending in a settlement. This is due to the fact that after enough investigation and pressure from the plaintiff’s legal representatives, the liable party’s insurance company will cave and admit partial or total liability. Trying to deny the obvious is bad for public relations, and could cost the insurance company more than the fight is worth.
As a plaintiff, the benefits of settling your claim out of court include three factors:
- Time: Settling a car accident claim will almost-assuredly take less time than taking it to litigation and the courtroom. Mainly because waiting for your next court hearing date could take weeks. Whereas if you are trying to settle out of court, the timeline is yours to control.
- Energy: By saving time, you are also likely to also save yourself energy. Many people also enjoy the reduced stress of a settlement, compared to the tension one might feel in knowing that a court will decide the fate of their claim.
- Guaranteed money: Of course, a big draw of settling your car accident claim is knowing that you will get something for your efforts. In the courtroom, you never know the outcome until the judge rules it. Even cases built on solid evidence could go sideways.
Benefits of Not Settling Your Claim
Statistically, you, your personal injury lawyer, and the opposition will settle your car accident claim. But what about the off-chance that you don’t? Or, that you can’t? Sometimes the liable party will not budge an inch and try to get off the hook without giving up a penny. When this happens, the court is your only avenue. What are the advantages then?
Two main benefits of taking your claim to court as a lawsuit include:
- Finality: You may appreciate the sense of finality that a courtroom’s verdict or ruling brings. Hopefully, that finality will be in your favor.
- Larger compensation: Defendants in personal injury cases often try to settle with the direct objective of saving themselves money in mind. For this reason, settlements are often less than what may have been given through a courtroom verdict. In exchange for not knowing if you will get any money at all, litigation often means having a chance of receiving much more compensation if you do.
Should I Settle or Not, Then?
With all things considered, there is immediate right answer about whether or not you should settle your car accident claim. Every single case is going to be different from the next and must be addressed as so. The most you can do is find a trustworthy legal team to guide you through the process and get their input on whether or not a settlement will be fair and adequate, or if only the courtroom can do justice in your situation.
Habbas & Associates and our San Jose car accident attorneys have nearly 200 years of combined legal experience focused primarily on personal injury claims. Altogether, we have accrued more than $300 million in verdicts, awards, and settlements for our clients. If you live in the region and want to know the right choice for your own car accident claim, please do not hesitate to contact our team and ask for a free consultation today.