One of the first questions a car accident victim who has sustained serious injuries often has is whether their case will go to trial. Damages in a car accident lawsuit are typically obtained in one of two ways: through settlement with the defendant’s insurance company or by a jury’s verdict. While the vast majority of personal injury cases settle out of court, there are reasons why it might be necessary to proceed to trial to secure the compensation you deserve.
Reasons Your Car Accident Case Might Go to Trial
There are several factors that determine whether your car accident case goes to trial. A jury may need to decide the outcome of the matter if the insurance company refuses to offer a fair settlement or the parties cannot agree who is at fault. Critically, insurance companies always seek to pay out the least possible amount of compensation, regardless of the severity of your injuries.
Even if you file a lawsuit, it doesn’t always mean your case will conclude at trial. Negotiations continue throughout the litigation process and a settlement can be reached at any time. In fact, it’s not uncommon for a car accident lawsuit to settle on the eve of trial. Based on the strength of the case and the weight of the evidence, an insurance company might want to avoid the risks that come with trial, and thus may see more incentive in increasing its settlement offer.
Should You Accept a Settlement Offer Rather Than Go to Trial?
If the insurance company offers you a settlement, it’s crucial to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney to ensure you receive the maximum monetary recovery to which you are entitled. In addition, it’s never a good idea to accept the first offer made by the insurance company. These are usually very low offers that start the process of settlement negotiations. Settlement offers can increase in value as you incur additional medical bills, time lost from work, and out-of-pocket expenses.
If a fair offer is made, there can be several advantages to settling a personal injury case and avoiding trial. The pros of settlement include:
- Certainty — When you are offered a settlement, you agree to the amount of compensation you will receive. Although a jury may award a higher amount at trial, there is never a guarantee.
- Reaching a faster resolution — While resolving your case more quickly should not be the sole factor that determines whether you will settle or go to trial, it’s essential to keep in mind that litigation is lengthy. There are several phases involved in litigation, and each can take several weeks, months, or more, depending on the complexity of the case.
- Privacy — When your case goes to trial, the details of your case become part of the public record. However, when settlements are reached out of court through negotiation, mediation, or arbitration, the plaintiff can have more control over their privacy.
- Less stress — The legal process associated with a lawsuit can be time-consuming and is often overwhelming. Settling out of court can help you avoid the stress associated with litigation and trial.
The pros and cons of settling a car accident case versus going to trial should be carefully weighed. While settling can be more efficient and less stressful, it’s also permanent. Neither party can renegotiate a settlement once they have entered into it. It’s also important to consider that you could potentially be awarded much more compensation at trial than you would receive by accepting a settlement.
Contact an Experienced New York Personal Injury Attorney
Being in a car accident can result in devastating and life-changing injuries. If you were hurt in a car accident due to someone else’s negligence, it’s vital to have a personal injury attorney by your side who can ensure you receive fair and just compensation for your injuries. At The Dearie Law Firm, P.C., we have extensive experience negotiating favorable settlements and obtaining substantial jury verdicts on behalf of our clients.
The Dearie Law Firm, P.C. has convenient office locations in Manhattan, the Bronx, and Brooklyn, as well as mobile locations serving Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, the Bronx, Staten Island, Westchester County, Rockland County, Nassau County, and Suffolk County. Contact us today to schedule your consultation.