Among the critical decisions you’ll make in a car accident lawsuit is whether to settle your case out of court or pursue it to trial. There are pros and cons to both routes, with distinct advantages and disadvantages to consider. Your Bryan, TX and Hempstead, TX car accident lawyer will help you decide the best course of action.
7 Pros and Cons to Settling a Car Accident Lawsuit Out of Court
One of the primary reasons many choose to settle out of court is the speed. Trials can be lengthy affairs, sometimes taking years to reach a verdict. Settlements often provide a faster path to closure, allowing all parties to move on and minimizing the costs involved. You may, simply for peace of mind’s sake, want to be done as quickly as possible.
Predictability and Control
Settling gives you more control over the outcome. Instead of leaving the decision to a jury or judge, both sides have a say in the terms of the agreement. This mutual involvement ensures that you’re not faced with unexpected verdicts that might not favor your situation. While you might not get everything you want, that can sometimes be better than leaving things to the hands of a judge or jury, where you risk ending up with nothing.
Trials are expensive. By choosing to settle, you can significantly reduce the attorney fees, court costs, and other expenses associated with prolonged legal battles. And since settling will also save the other side on their costs, they, too, have an incentive to settle if that’s what you’re looking to do.
Court trials are public events, but settling privately allows you to keep the details of the incident and your agreement confidential. This might be preferred if you wish to avoid public scrutiny or protect your reputation.
This element can also work in your favor if the other side is anxious to avoid publicity and willing to pay you a generous settlement to keep things quiet. On the other hand, you may wish to make things public, in which case you may choose not to settle out of court. Again, talk to your Bryan, TX and Hempstead, TX car accident lawyer about the specifics of your case.
Potential for Lower Compensation
While settling guarantees a payout, the amount might be less than what could be achieved in court. Some feel they’re leaving money on the table by opting for a quick settlement. Your lawyer can help you decide whether it’s too big a risk to go to court to justify accepting a potentially lower settlement in your specific case.
No Legal Precedent Is Set
When cases are decided in court, they can set a precedent that influences future, similar cases. Settling doesn’t contribute to legal precedents. This might not make much difference to your personal situation, but if you’re hoping to deter the other party from engaging in the same behavior again, or if you want to contribute to making a change that will be in society’s best interests at large, you may not want to settle.
Lack of Vindication
For some, a trial isn’t just about compensation; it’s about having their day in court and achieving a moral victory. Settling might not provide the emotional closure that a court win might offer. At the same time, you may not want to risk losing out on compensation or spending extra money just to get a feeling of revenge. Again, your attorney is your best ally here and will help you make a decision that’s in line with your holistic best interests.
Important Considerations in the Settlement Decision
How Strong Is Your Case?
If the evidence heavily favors your claim, a court trial might yield higher compensation. Conversely, if your case has weaknesses, a settlement can ensure some compensation rather than risking a loss at trial.
What Are Your Financial Needs?
If you have pressing financial needs due to medical bills or loss of income, settling can provide funds more quickly than a trial, even if you might have ended up with a larger payout if you went to court.
Litigation can be emotionally draining. Some might find the continuous back-and-forth, endless recounting of the incident, and public exposure too overwhelming and prefer the relative quiet of a settlement.
Get Legal Guidance in Bryan, TX and Hempstead, TX for Your Potential Car Accident Lawsuit
Before making a decision, it’s always wise to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. They can provide insights specific to your situation, evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your case, and offer guidance on the potential value of your claim. They can also help you make the best decision about whether to settle.
Most of all, you’ll want your lawyer to be at your side to deal with the insurance companies. Insurance companies play a significant role in the settlement process, but they are businesses with the primary goal of maximizing profits, and, as such, they might offer an initial settlement that is much lower than the actual value of your claim. Their experienced adjusters often use strategies to save the company money, even if it’s at your expense.
There are both pros and cons to working with the insurance company directly rather than going straight to court, and your lawyer will help you evaluate each of these:
Pros of Engaging with Insurance Companies
Dealing directly with insurance companies might lead to a quicker settlement, as they are accustomed to the negotiation process and have systems in place to streamline it.
Less Legal Complexity
Interacting directly with insurers might save you from having to go deeper into the legal world, with all the complexities of courtroom requirements.
Cons of Engaging with Insurance Companies
Unequal Bargaining Power
Insurance companies have vast resources and experienced negotiators. Without proper representation, you might find yourself at a disadvantage and may end up accepting a lower settlement than you deserve. Don’t ever go to the bargaining table without a skilled and experienced attorney, and make sure your Bryan, TX and Hempstead, TX car accident lawyer recommends negotiation before getting into it.
Potential for Undercompensation
Insurers might not factor in the long-term effects of your injury. They may push for a quick settlement before the full extent of your injuries and their impact on your life become apparent. You need to work with an experienced lawyer who knows how to properly calculate, and argue for, your damages.
Don’t Forget the Finality of Settling
Once a settlement is reached, it’s usually final. This means you won’t have the opportunity to ask for more money later if you discover your injuries are more severe than initially thought or if other complications arise. There are some very good reasons to settle out of court, but you only want to take this step with a lawyer on your side to advise you.
Making the decision to settle requires careful consideration of the advantages and disadvantages inherent in the process. You need to understand the implications of both pathways with regard to your specific situation, and this is best done by seeking guidance from seasoned legal professionals. If you’re faced with such a decision and need help, contact the law firm of Brian C. Gutierrez right away for help. We’ll walk you through every step, ensuring your rights are protected and your best interests served.