Any person hurt in a car accident, because some else failed to follow the rules of the road may ultimately have the decision of whether to accept less compensation in a settlement, or roll the dice on more compensation at trial. This blog attempts to help navigate you through that decision.
Here are a few quick background facts about a car accident:
Negligence: Whose fault was the accident? Fault is often unclear. If the accident was not your fault, or not entirely your fault, you may be entitled to compensation for damages caused by the accident.
Damages: If you were hurt in the car accident, you may be entitled to money for your medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages—as well as possible other damages.
Coverage: The other driver should have insurance (i.e. Liability Coverage). If he or she has no insurance, you can turn to your own automobile insurance company for coverage (i.e. Underinsured or Uninsured Motorist Protection).
Key Deadline: You have 2 years after the accident to file a lawsuit, but waiting is often costly. Waiting is a luxury most can’t afford.
Settlement v. Litigation/Trial: Often the insurance company will offer you money for your damages. The amount of money may be low, but it may also be an amount that helps you instantly with no risk.
Nonetheless, you may reject the offer and proceed to litigation and trial in hopes of a more substantial recovery. In litigation, you the Plaintiff, carries the costly burden of proving the negligence and damages noted above. Doing so, will not cost you in the beginning, but likely must be paid back to your attorney. Additionally, the attorney’s fee is a higher percentage of the recovery at trial than it is before litigation and trial. You will also be questioned both in person and via written questions prior to trial. You may also be questioned at trial. For some, all these questions are uncomfortable and a hassle, when there’s no guarantee the recovery will be worth it. Ultimately, you will ask the Jury at trial to award you a reasonable sum, and the person who hit you may ask the Jury to award you $0.00. A Jury of your peers then makes the decision.
In summary, the question of settlement versus trial when you’ve been hurt in wreck is: Should I take a settlement now and know my compensation, or leave it to a Jury of my peers to decide? Sometimes, insurance companies almost make that decision for you by offering you little to nothing for your damages. Other times, however, insurance companies come to the table with a number that is reasonable in light of all the circumstances affecting your case. With good advice from an attorney who truly has your best interests at heart, you will confidently make this decision.
If you have questions about an auto accident, whether you were the driver or a passenger, feel free to contact me, attorney Rich Tanasi at 702-906-2411 or RTanasi@TanasiLaw.com. I am here to help.