Settle or go to court?

If you happen to be in a car accident, should you or should you not take your claim on trial? This is a dilemma that affects a lot of car accident victims and it happens mostly when there is a dispute with the car insurance and when neither of the parties is willing to compromise.

Although filing a lawsuit has an advantage, which is if you end up winning the case, but it takes a lot of time and if patience is not one of your virtues, you should try settling the claim without going to court.

Settling without going to court:

Going to court should be a last resort where you, as a victim feel the compensation is unfair and that you deserve more. But this is common, and filing a demand letter to the insurance company usually does the job.

A demand letter includes:

  • The medical bills that were incurred because of the injuries as a result of the accident.
  • The cost of repairing your vehicle because of the damage or the cost of replacing the vehicle because of the accident.
  • If you were using a rental, you should also include the receipts stating the amount of money you paid to the car rental company because of the damage.
  • Stating the psychological and physical impact that the accident had in you and your family as well.
  • The final amount of money that you expect from the car insurance company.

Your car accident lawyer will negotiate through the adjuster with the car insurance company, and hopefully if both the parties can meet on a middle ground, then there is no reason for a lawsuit.

Settlement through a court:

If all else fails and you are still not satisfied with the settlement, it never hurts to ask. But if the car insurance company is not budging from its offer, the next step would be for you lawyer to file a lawsuit by drafting a legal formal complaint. This complaint must also be served to the at-fault driver, known as the defendant through a law enforcement officer. The defendant will usually be given about 20 days to answer.

After which there will be a period of discovery where both the parties will exchange information by submission of written questions. During this period, a deposition can also be conducted where a couple of eye witnesses can be called for testimonials which can be used in the court if need be.

Even if a lawsuit has been filed, if both the parties can enter a settlement, the case can avoid going to trial.

When and if the case goes on trial, your car accident lawyer will advise you on the best possible step, where of course, the final decision will always come down to you. A trial will take time and money. During the trial the judge and the jury will hear both the parties based on the evidences provided and will provide the final decision over various representation of the trial.