When you have been injured in a car accident, you can either settle with the negligent party's insurance company or go to trial. Research by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) shows that only around 4% of all injury cases end in trial, the rest are settled out of court. Therefore, it's natural to consider a settlement over filing a lawsuit. But is settling a good idea for your injury case? What should you do during the settlement to maximize compensation? Read on to find out whether you should settle or go to trial after getting injured in a car crash.
The Benefits of Settling Your Claim Out of Court
Settling your personal injury claim is a low-cost alternative to going to court, especially if there is no dispute regarding the severity of your injuries. Below are the advantages of settling out of court.
Control over the outcome
Personal injury settlements offer the plaintiff more control over the outcome. You only reach a settlement when both parties are satisfied with the exchange. Therefore, if the defendant's insurance isn't offering adequate compensation, you can push for further negotiations to reach a satisfactory settlement.
The outcome of a trial depends on the judge or civil jury. According to BJS statistics, around 90% of all personal injury cases taken to trial are heard before a jury. The outcome of your case depends on the unanimous decision of the jury members. If you don't have a solid case against the negligent party, you may end up with little or no compensation.
Quick and hassle-free process
When you file an accident injury claim, the liable insurance party begins the claims process immediately. Once all the evidence and medical records have been reviewed, the insurance company will make an offer. Where the offer pleases the plaintiff, the settlement process can be completed within a few weeks or months. Conversely, a trial can take up to a year or longer if there are side appeals.
Out-of-court settlements are confidential proceedings. There are no public records of the process or the amount awarded for your injuries. Therefore, if you value anonymity, settling is the best option. Conversely, trials are public proceedings, and anyone who wishes can access the records.
How to Negotiate for the Best Settlement
Settlements are typically less stressful and more desirable than trials. However, settling with the other party comes with the risk of getting less compensation than you deserve. Therefore, before you commence the exchanges, use these tips to negotiate the best settlement for your injury claim.
Assess your worth
Before stepping into a settlement meeting, you need to assess your worth. Calculate your monetary damages based on the injuries and losses suffered due to the accident. Determine the minimum amount you will accept from the insurer. You can adjust this value over time based on the strength of your case. This is the best way to ensure that you don't accept a lower settlement than what you deserve.
Refuse lowball offers
Filing a personal injury claim can intimidate a first-time plaintiff. It's normal to worry that the insurance company will deny your claim if you don't accept their offer. However, this isn't the case. If the company offers a low settlement amount, reject it. As long as you have a solid case against the negligent party, you should ask for reasonable compensation for your injuries.
Compile all relevant evidence
Evidence can make or break a personal injury case. If you have overwhelming evidence, the other party will try to settle to avoid a lawsuit. Therefore, gather as much evidence as you can. This includes irrefutable witness statements, photos and surveillance videos, and medical evidence. Document all your medical expenses and financial losses to substantiate your claim.
Settlements may offer better outcomes than court trials, but they can also overwhelm the injured party. To avoid making costly mistakes along the way, hire a personal injury attorney near you to take charge of the settlement process.Share