If you’re thinking about taking legal action after a serious car accident, then you might be anticipating your case going to a full-blown trial reminiscent of those seen on television. Your case might come to that, but the chances aren’t as high as you think since most cases result in some sort of settlement.
As you prepare to head into your legal proceedings, you need to carefully think about whether settling your case is the right move.
Why do personal injury cases settle?
Simply put, settlement provides advantages to both sides. The defendant gets to resolve the case for less than what could potentially be awarded after a trial, while the victim gets to recover compensation more quickly while minimizing the risks associated with taking the case to trial.
Settlement can also reduce costs for defendants, as they may end up paying less in legal fees.
Is a settlement right for you?
Ultimately, only you can answer that question. However, there are some factors that you’ll want to take into consideration when you make that determination. This includes:
- What your claim is worth: Before making any decision on settlement, you need to know the value of your claim. So, before sitting down at the negotiation table, make sure you have an idea of your medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering. That way you have a number to aim for during settlement talks.
- The risks you face by going to trial: There’s a lot of uncertainty when take your case to trial. There’s also a lot of risk. For example, it can be hard to tell whether a jury will impose comparative negligence, which could ultimately reduce your recovery. And even if you anticipate that comparative negligence will apply, it can be difficult to figure out how much the jury will reduce your recovery. You can avoid that uncertainty by settling your case.
- Your immediate need: A lot of car accident victims need money fast, as medical bills quickly come due and they need to make mortgage and car payments. For those who find themselves in this position, settlement can be especially enticing since it can provide financial relief faster.
- Your desire to fight: Going to trial means that you’re going to be battling with the defense. It can feel like all-out war at times, with each side knowing that there’s a lot on the line. If you’re averse to that conflict, then settling your case might be your best course of action. But if you want to face the risks and fight for what you think you deserve, then maybe you’ll want to take your case to trial.
There could be other factors that you’ll want to take into consideration in your case. Just make sure that you’re conducting a thorough analysis so that you make the decision that’s right for you, your family, and your future.
How much will you get out of your car accident case?
There’s no easy answer to that question. It depends on the severity of your injuries, the extent of your financial losses, the impact your injuries have had on your daily living, and any contributions you made to the accident. That said, you can maximize your compensatory recovery by being prepared going into your case, even if you’re hoping to resolve it through settlement.
With that in mind, now is the time to start preparing your claim. You can talk to witnesses, gather evidence, and figure out how you’d present your case if it were to go to trial. After all, you’ll want to be able to lay out your case during negotiations so that the defense is more uneasy taking the case to trial.
By adequately preparing your case, you’ll hopefully be in a stronger position to achieve the outcome you want, thereby giving you the financial stability you need while you focus on your recovery.