Settling vs. Going to Trial: Weighing Your Options in Car Accident Cases

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Filed under Automotive, Editorial

A car accident can cause serious injuries while also wreaking havoc on your financial situation. With medical bills, property damage, and other expenses related to the accident, plus your usual monthly bills, things can easily spiral out of control.

While you have the right to pursue compensation through a car accident case, you may wonder if it is best to take a settlement or go to trial. To determine which one is right for you, you should look at the advantages and drawbacks of each as you weigh your options.

Pros and Cons of Taking a Settlement in a Car Accident Case

 A settlement is the most common way a car accident case is concluded. This is when the insurance company decides to compensate you for your damages during the litigation of your case. 

A settlement may be to your advantage because it is much quicker than going through a trial. You will be able to get your money more quickly, plus it is less stressful than having to go to court. Your attorney may need to go through several rounds of negotiations until you have been offered a fair amount.

However, the downside of taking a settlement is that there is a chance that a judge or jury could reward you with more in a trial. Your attorney will help you weigh those risks to see if it is worth it. Another potential disadvantage is if your injuries worsen after taking the settlement. Once you accept the settlement, that is the end of your case and you can’t ask for more money.

Pros and Cons of Going to Trial in a Car Accident Case

Your attorney may believe that your case is strong enough to win at trial with a judge or jury determining whether or not the defendant is liable for your damages. Because of this, the distinct advantage is that you may receive more compensation than the insurance company would offer in a settlement. The jury may decide you should get more money for your pain and suffering.

Trials can also serve as a way to get justice for your accident. If your car accident left you with severe injuries or the defendant was grossly negligent, a trial may prevent them from acting in that way again. 

The biggest drawback of going to trial is that it is a long and drawn-out process that could take more than a year. The court costs and attorney fees will be deducted from your compensation, which may leave you with roughly the same amount if you’d simply agreed to the settlement.

It is also possible that if you go to court, you may lose and walk away with nothing. Trials are riskier, but they have the potential for a bigger payout, even when you deduct the fees.

Deciding on a settlement or trial should not be taken lightly. A legal consultation can help you get an attorney’s thoughts on the situation to decide what would be best in your case.


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