When you’ve been injured in a car accident that wasn’t your fault and you begin to see the bills piling up and your injuries affecting your daily life, you start to get very comfortable with the idea of suing the driver who hurt you. You envision a Perry Mason moment when the other driver is on the stand and makes a statement about his or her egregious behavior behind the wheel that stuns the judge and the courtroom. Surely, you’re going to win big now.
Unfortunately, car accident cases are rarely this cut and dry or end this easily. Preparing for trial can be a grueling process for you so you have to ask yourself if it’s automatically worth the time and frustration. Below we discuss the pros and cons of going to trial versus settling your personal injury claim.
Should I take my injury case to trial?
There are benefits and drawbacks to preparing a case for trial that should be weighed before you decide on that path. Arming yourself with all of the available information can help to guide your expectations.
Pros of trying your car accident case include:
- A jury award may be larger than a settlement figure because juries have no vested interest in saving money like the insurance company does. Juries can take in and personalize the emotional toll you are able to show them when determining an amount they believe you deserve.
- Because trials are a matter of public record, defendants risk the information being discovered at a later date in, say, another accident case that could show a pattern of negligent driving.
- The closure some victims receive from going to trial is cathartic and allows them to move on more easily because they feel they’ve been heard and have received justice.
Cons to consider in taking your claim to trial:
- Because of the element of dealing with human emotions and experiences of jurors, trying cases can be very unpredictable even when you know you’re right and can prove it. Once you have resigned yourself to putting the outcome into the hands of strangers, you no longer have a say in whether you’ll receive anything to compensate your damages.
- Trials can be long, aggravating, and time-consuming with no guaranteed outcome for the stress you’ll be put through.
- The more serious your injuries and damages are, the less you may end up receiving should you win. Experts and other tools required to prove your case don’t come cheap and are all part of litigation fees that come out of your award.
Should I settle my accident case?
Just as with trying your case, you need to consider whether settlement is the right avenue for you. Sometimes the decision not to settle can be made simple when the insurance company believes it has a strong case that it makes such a low offer that you have no reason to consider it. However, that isn’t the only factor to take into account.
Pros of settling your injury claim include:
- Settlement negotiations are not limited by the scheduling constraints of a court docket so each side can take a little time to discuss and think about the offers that go back and forth without being bound to accept.
- You have more leeway to come up with creative settlements that may yield a better overall result than a straight jury verdict at trial for which you have no input.
- Settlements take the guesswork out of how much you’ll end up with in the end before you agree to it.
- Your claim resolves much faster than taking your case to trial and proceeds are typically paid within 30 days or less.
- You may get less than if you were to go to trial but you’ll also be paying less in attorneys fees and costs because you won’t incur the expense of trial preparation.
- There is the element of privacy that comes with the settlement route.
- Settlement carries a much lower stress factor because it’s primarily a conversation between your attorney and the insurance company negotiating the terms you approve or deny.
- If the accident was big enough, it may make the news, which can draw unwanted attention to and cause embarrassment for the at-fault driver. Fear of this can leverage into a faster, more satisfactory settlement of your case.
Cons you can expect when settling your claim include:
- With the right case and jury, you could receive more at trial than through the settlement process. Depending upon your injuries, that could put you in a healthier financial position to receive necessary care for the remainder of your life.
- Fault is rarely admitted during settlement so if you need to hear “I was wrong,” you aren’t likely to get that level of closure through this process.
- Settlements typically include a confidentiality clause that prohibits you from disclosing the case or settlement terms with anyone outside your immediate family. This means no news interviews, no publicity, no using your experience to educate or warn others. You are essentially being paid in part for your silence, which won’t sit well with everyone.
Car accidents are traumatic enough on their own. Choosing the right method for protecting your claim should be worth the strain it may place on you. The knowledgeable attorneys at Yeboah Law Group, P.A. will guide you in the right direction by explaining what you’ll face with each option for disposing of your particular case. To schedule your free consultation give us a call today at 1-800-835-5726 or we invite you to reach out to us through our contact form. Proudly serving clients in Fort Lauderdale, Miami, and throughout South Florida.