The majority of car accident cases are settled out of court. Instead, they find themselves reaching a compromise well before they ever step foot insid
The majority of car accident cases are settled out of court. Instead, they find themselves reaching a compromise well before they ever step foot inside a courtroom. The parties involved in a car accident, including those who were at fault, insurance companies, and attorneys, typically prefer the speed and reliability of a settlement to the uncertainty and expense of going to trial.
However, this does not mean that you can confidently assume that your case involving the auto accident will be settled. Hiring a seasoned car accident injury lawyer who is equally capable of winning at the negotiating table and in front of a jury is the most reliable way to ensure that you receive the compensation you need to pay your bills and rebuild after being injured in an accident. This is because hiring such a lawyer increases the likelihood that you will receive the money you require.
- 1 The Role of Settlement in Car Accident Cases
- 2 Reasons Not All Car Accident Cases Settle
- 3 Tips for Achieving a Favorable Outcome in Your Car Accident Case
The Role of Settlement in Car Accident Cases
In the area of law pertaining to personal injuries, settlements play a significant role. The following is an explanation of what a settlement is, as well as an explanation of why they are so frequently used in cases involving automobile accidents.
What is a car accident settlement?
A legal dispute between two or more parties can be resolved through the use of a settlement, which is an agreement to do so. Settlements can take many different forms and be used for a variety of purposes, but they almost always involve the parties involved in reaching a compromise in order to put an end to a legal dispute or claim for compensation once and for all. The parties to a settlement entered into a legally binding contract by virtue of the terms of the settlement. Once a settlement has been finalized, there are very few instances in which it can be undone or reconsidered.
In the majority of cases involving motor vehicle collisions, the injured party of an accident sues or claims financial damages against the party that was at fault for the collision and the liability insurance provider for that party.
A compromise of that claim will typically involve the following:
The crash victim releasing the at-fault party and its insurer from future liability for the victim’s damages; The crash victim voluntarily terminating any pending lawsuit or legal claim against those parties; And The at-fault party and its insurer paying the injured crash victim an agreed-upon amount of money in a lump sum or over time.
The majority of car accident settlements are negotiated by attorneys representing both the party who was injured and the party who was at fault, as well as, frequently, an adjuster working for the insurance carrier of the party who was at fault. There are three different ways that negotiations can take place: in person, over the phone, or in writing. They could happen all at once or spread out over several weeks or months.
The majority of the time, the process of settling through negotiation involves an ongoing back-and-forth of demands, offers, and counter-offers, which ultimately results in a written agreement. When both parties or a representative from each party signs the agreement, it immediately turns into a legally binding document for both parties.
Why do car accident cases settle so often?
The majority of cases involving automobile collisions are resolved amicably because parties typically prefer to settle their differences rather than go to trial. It is common for parties on both sides to place a high value on the ability to have some input into the timing, conditions, and financial terms of the resolution of a claim. The certainty that a settlement will be reached will often make future planning easier and relieve the stress that everyone involved is experiencing regarding their finances.
Once a car accident claim has been formally initiated, the only alternative to settling the claim is going to court. This means going through the process of presenting evidence and legal arguments to a judge, arbitrator, or jury and asking them to decide who wins and how much the loser must pay. The time and effort required for litigation is one of the primary reasons why a settlement may be preferable. When it comes to auto accident claims, it’s not uncommon for one or both parties to want to settle out of court in order to save time and money compared to what would be required in the event that they took their case to court.
The legal process inherently involves a great deal of unpredictability. When you put your car accident claim in the hands of another person to decide, the outcome of the case is completely out of your control, regardless of how competent your attorney is or how compelling your case may be.
When it comes to cases involving car accidents, many of the parties involved would rather reach a compromise, either by paying a little more than they would prefer or by accepting a little less than what they want, rather than run the risk of the judge or jury awarding them a much more costly loss.
The fact that many cases involving car accidents involve relatively straightforward claims for monetary damages brought by two parties is another factor that encourages settlement. To a large extent, settling a personal injury claim involving a car crash boils down to playing a numbers game when it comes to determining who was at fault for the accident. This is a situation that arises quite frequently.
The parties evaluate the severity of the accident victim’s injuries and losses, the amount of insurance coverage that is available, as well as their costs and the likelihood of going to trial. As long as their analyses put them in the same ballpark financially, they will typically end up reaching a settlement agreement.
Reasons Not All Car Accident Cases Settle
There are some cases involving car accidents that are not resolved in settlement. In addition, it is not always easy to tell right away which ones will fall into this category.
Strong Differences of Opinion About the Merits of a Car Accident Claim
In the vast majority of cases, the inability to settle is due to the opposing parties holding views that are wholly incompatible with one another on at least one of the two central issues in any case involving a car accident:
Who should be held legally and financially responsible for the accident? How much, if anything, should the victim of the accident who was injured receive as compensation for their injuries?
When the parties and their representatives have strong opinions on these issues that are different from one another, it can make settling extremely difficult, if not impossible. Due to the fact that the majority of cases involving car accidents are fairly straightforward, something like this does not occur very frequently. When this occurs, however, the parties are left with little choice but to continue the legal process until one of them modifies their position sufficiently to make it possible for them to reach a compromise.
Unpredictable Factors that Get in the Way of Negotiations
A divergence of opinion between the parties regarding the validity of the case is not the only thing that can prevent a settlement from being reached.
Other obstacles that can prevent a claim resulting from a car accident from being settled through negotiation include the following:
A decision made by a business, typically an insurance company, not to settle a particular type of car accident claim. This decision is made for business reasons, such as the possibility that it will set a precedent for future cases or because the amount at stake is so high that fighting is the only viable option.
Strong determination on the part of a party to “have their day in court” regardless of the outcome of the case;
Disagreement between the parties regarding the timing or approach for moving forward with settlement negotiations.
In order for the case to be resolved, there must be participation from multiple victims and liable parties in any settlement that is reached, or A prolonged lack of certainty regarding the accessibility of evidence or the development of legal principles may affect the outcome of a case when it is brought to trial.
When a car accident case is first opened, it can be challenging to anticipate these and other factors that are similar. They frequently do not become apparent until a considerable amount of time has passed, during which each party will evaluate and reevaluate the strengths and weaknesses of their positions, as well as any newly discovered facts or legal arguments.
Look for an Experienced Trial Lawyer
Even if the case is going to be settled out of court, it is still in your best interest to hire an attorney who has extensive trial experience. This is true even if the outcome of the case is already predetermined. Because of this, cases involving automobile collisions typically only result in top-dollar recoveries when the attorney representing the victim is prepared, willing, and able to take the case to trial.
After all, the possibility of incurring expensive losses in court is a common factor that motivates parties to settle. Suppose the defense attorney and insurance company believe that your lawyer instead hopes to avoid trial at all costs. In that case, they will use this information to their advantage in order to push the settlement value of your case down as low as possible.
Because it requires thorough preparation to build a compelling argument for presentation in the courtroom, hiring a trial lawyer can also assist in resolving your car accident claim favorably. When handling a case involving a car accident, a trial lawyer will handle each step of the process with an eye toward presenting the case in front of a judge and jury. This focus is likely to add weight to the evidence and precision to the legal arguments that the lawyer presents on your behalf, all of which your lawyer can use to your advantage when negotiating a settlement on your behalf.
Insist on a Track Record of Successful Car Accident Settlements and Jury Verdicts
It goes without saying that simply hearing from your attorneys that they are prepared to represent you in court is not enough. The best lawyer to represent you in a case involving a car accident is the one who can substantiate the claims that they will make on your behalf with a demonstrated history of winning similar cases, both inside and outside of the courtroom.
Even a proven track record cannot guarantee future success. You won’t find an attorney who will guarantee you a positive resolution to your case. However, it does serve the important purpose of providing you with the peace of mind that comes from knowing that your lawyer is familiar with the best ways to achieve results for clients in situations similar to yours.
In addition to this, it can be of assistance to your attorney in reaching a favorable settlement. Successful car accident attorneys are able to point to their previous victories as evidence that they know how to win in the courtroom and that defense attorneys and insurance companies have taken them seriously in other cases. This enables them to negotiate better settlements for their clients. In essence, the attorney will put the track record itself to work for you in order to further your cause.
Tips for Achieving a Favorable Outcome in Your Car Accident Case
You can improve your chances of getting a good settlement or jury verdict in your car accident case by doing more than just hiring the right car accident lawyer. If you follow the advice below, you will be better able to secure the funds you need to pay your bills and begin the healing process after experiencing a traumatic event, as well as protect your rights in the process.
Seek Medical Attention
Even if you think you’re fine and the injuries are minor, you should get checked out by a doctor as soon as possible after a car accident. It’s important to get prompt medical attention for any pain or discomfort because some forms of severe trauma can masquerade as minor aches and pains.
Seeking medical attention has benefits beyond just protecting your health. When a car accident victim can demonstrate the specific damages sustained as a result of the collision, they are more likely to receive a favorable settlement offer. Medical records from the time immediately following a car accident can be the most compelling proof of injuries. Documentation of your self-care and lack of responsibility for the severity of your injuries can be bolstered by medical records.
Do Not Try to Settle on Your Own
While settlements are reached in the vast majority of auto accident cases, this does not mean that they are always without difficulty. Maximizing the value of your claim after a car accident requires the expertise, experience, and credibility of a seasoned attorney.
It’s almost never a good idea to try to settle a case on your own. Insurance companies and defense attorneys will ignore your claim. In addition, they will take every opportunity to use your lack of experience against you. Our experience has shown that accident victims who try to represent themselves in court receive much less compensation than they are legally entitled to.
Don’t Wait to Get a Lawyer
There is probably a time limit on filing a claim for damages after an auto accident. The longer you wait to get in touch with a skilled attorney, the more likely it is that you will miss an important court date or evidence-gathering opportunity. If you wait too long, you may lose the right to any compensation at all.
Consultations with any reputable auto accident attorney are on the house. They take cases on contingency, which means they only get paid if you do. Talking to an attorney as soon as possible after a car accident in which you were injured is in your best interest.