After suffering the pain and injury of a serious car accident, it is natural that you want to obtain compensation quickly. You have medical bills to pay. Working is difficult or impossible. The mortgage is due. That is why many people decide to settle out of court instead of sue for their car accident injuries. But before you decide to take a settlement for you car accident claim, I want to explain critical factors to consider first.
Careful thought is required when it comes to deciding to settle or sue in court. Every case is different. Here are some things to consider:
When It May Be Better To Settle A Car Accident Injury Claim
Some estimates state that 95% of lawsuits settle prior to trial. This is not surprising. Settling out of court is faster. It is less expensive. There is less risk. These factors are important because you have bills to pay and a family to support. The faster you get the money you deserve, the easier it is to move on with life.
Settling also avoids the need to appear in court, depositions and a possibly long trial. And going to court means that you are depending upon the jury to see things your way. Even with strong evidence in your favor, since juries can be unpredictable, you might lose and get nothing. Imagine needing money for your injuries….and you leave the courthouse empty handed. Seen in this devastating light, one can see why some choose to settle, even if it is for an amount that one considers less then the full value of their case.
Some experts maintain that you may want to take that settlement, even if you think it might be ‘half a loaf.’ A study by DecisionSet – a litigation decision consulting firm – found that most plaintiffs who passed up a settlement and went to trial often ended up getting less money. So, this is worth bearing in mind.
If you do think that you want to settle, your attorney should review all of your medical and work records. Next, he will send the other party a demand letter detailing your injuries, out of pocket costs and the amount you want for compensation. This letter should include all of the important dates pertaining to your accident. It also should include a precise description of the accident and how the other party is responsible. Supporting documents, such as a police report or medical findings, should be included.
Once the letter has been received by the other party’s attorney, negotiations begin. It is rare that the insurance company or other attorney will accept the amount that you propose in the demand letter. A counteroffer is usually presented. You may choose to negotiate this further, or reject it.
When It May Be Better To Sue in Court on A Car Accident Claim
Sometimes you may not have a choice but to sue in court for your accident injuries. The other party may not reply to your demand letter. Or, the insurance company may make a very low offer. If you have $50,000 worth of injuries and you are offered $20,000, this is clearly not enough. In that case, the logical step would be to file a personal injury lawsuit. The other person will be required to answer the complaint in a certain time period. This usually is 30 days.
After the defendant responds to your lawsuit your personal injury attorney will engage in discovery. This is the collection of information that will be used in court to show why you have demanded compensation. Discovery is all of the evidence that will be presented to the judge and jury during the trial.
Settlement May Still Happen
Even if you file a lawsuit, settling is still an option until a verdict has been rendered. In some personal injury car accident cases I have seen, filing a lawsuit encourages the insurance company to hike their offer. But remember: Once the jury gives its verdict, if it is not in your favor, the possibility of settlement is drastically reduced .
However, there are cases where negotiating is ineffective. Some cases simply need to be litigated. At this point, a judge or jury trial may be the only option. You need to have a very experienced Long Beach personal injury attorney working in your corner when that happens.
A Long Beach Car Accident Attorney Can Help Whether You Settle or Sue
Your Injuries Are Personal to Me
A person who is injured in a serious car accident needs an attorney who really understands their pain, stress and suffering. You need someone who can guide you through the stressful medical and legal maze. And most of all, you need an attorney who really cares about them and their loved ones. .
It often is a complex matter to decide whether to sue or settle in a car accident claim. You could be in desperate need of compensation immediately, but it could be better to go to trial to get a better outcome. Whatever the situation, I will use my years of experience to help you to obtain the maximum amount of compensation, including lost income, pain and suffering and medical costs. I have assisted my clients with car accident claims for more than 30 years.
If you were injured in an accident caused by another person, it is important to have an attorney in your corner who can help you to decide whether to settle or sue. I can help ensure you get the compensation you deserve. Schedule a free consultation with me today. Contact the Law Office of Michael D. Waks. Call me at 888-394-1174 or fill out the online contact form.
You are under no obligation and you will never pay any money unless you recover damages for your injuries.
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