Most people are unaware of how many car accident injury cases end in settlement as opposed to going to trial. A large percentage of insurance claims are also resolved through settlement with no lawsuit being filed. In some cases, there are advantages to going to court and having a jury decide on the outcome of your case. There are many factors to consider, however, as each injury case differs. This blog post will cover settling a car accident injury case vs. going to trial.
Settling Before a Lawsuit
There are some advantages to settling your car accident claim before going to court. Here is a brief overview of how reaching a settlement before a lawsuit can benefit you:
- Financial compensation for injuries is received faster
- Car accident lawyer fees are lower
- Less time is spent in court proceedings
- Juries can be unpredictable
Generally, the main question that will come to mind when deciding to accept a settlement or going to trial is if the risk of receiving zero compensation outweighs the settlement estimate of the accident.
The standard way of settling a car injury claim before going to court starts with a demand letter. Before drafting up this demand letter, a lot of preparation and evidence gathering are required. When a client receives medical treatment, all medical records must be provided from the treating doctors. This can possibly take several months, and they may charge a fee to send the records. Records of missed work should also be requested from the employer. This will show hours and salary before the injury and if time was missed because of it. Evidence of liability for the car accident will also need to be gathered.
After all medical records and other records are gathered, a well-written demand letter will be drafted. Important dates listed in chronological order will be written, and events surrounding the injury will be described. Your lawyer will advise that important medical records be enclosed in the demand letter. When the letter is complete, it will be mailed the negligent party, person, or group and his his/her attorney.
After this, settlement talks will proceed.
Going to Court
As we stated above, attempting to settle your car accident case before court is preferable, but it isn’t always possible or advisable in every situation. Sometimes, there may be no response to the demand letter, or the insurance company will either not offer anything, or their offer is outrageously low.
Car Accident Court Case
Your car accident attorney will first file your lawsuit in court by drafting a legal complaint and submitting it to court. The other driver must also be served these complaints. This is usually done by a process server or law enforcement officer. The other driver will have a number of days to answer the complaint.
Next is the discovery process during which you will request information from the defendant and vice versa. Information is gathered by submitting questions, or interrogatories, to the defendant. Another way information is submitted is through what is called a deposition. Depositions can be scheduled, so that people testify at a certain time and place. This is recorded and may be used in court.
The last step of a car accident lawsuit is trial. During a trial, a jury or judge will be presented with your evidence and decide the outcome of your case. Preparation for and representation at trial can be time consuming and expensive.
Still Able to Settle
Before a verdict is entered, you and your car accident lawyer can settle the case if an acceptable offer is presented. After filing a lawsuit, you do not give up your right to settle.