According to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration, in 45% of fatal crashes, the driver was speeding, drunk, or didn’t have their safety belt on. You’d want justice, especially if you are involved in a preventable car accident. Discover how you can make the right choice for your car accident case. Here are some options you might want to consider.
Option #1: Settling Out of Court—the Pros and Cons
Your first option is settling out of court. Most people choose this option. It involves communication between you, your attorney, the at-fault party, and their insurance company. You can reach a satisfactory settlement with a good lawyer, solid evidence, and effective communication skills.
Most people choose settlement because of the certainty the process gives. You are guaranteed compensation even if it’s not what you’d like. Besides, legal fees are much lower because negotiations take less time to prepare for than trials. Other people prefer the confidentiality that comes with a settlement.
That said, there’s a reason to be hesitant about accepting an offer. First, the moment you accept an offer, you give up your right to an appeal. You’d have to live with the outcome even if it was unsuitable. Further, discovery is limited since the process is oriented toward faster resolution. You may also receive lower compensation than you deserve, especially if you don’t have a qualified lawyer.
Option #2: Going to Trial—the Pros and Cons
Your second option is going to trial. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, only 3-4% choose this route. It involves appearing before a judge or jury and presenting your case. If you need an attorney to win a settlement case, you need them more to go to trial. If you’re in Missouri, find a reputable car accident attorney in St. Louis to represent you.
There’s a reason most car accident victims opt not to go to court. First, you’d have to cough up more legal fees without guaranteeing a win. It could be an all-or-nothing scenario. More parties are involved, so you can’t be certain of your outcome. Resolving your case may also take longer, which can drain your resources. For others, the additional publicity adds to their stress post-accident.
It’s not all dull and gloom, though. You could potentially get a higher compensation if you go to trial. Sometimes, the low compensation offered by insurance companies triggers some people to go to trial. If you don’t like the outcome of a trial, you can appeal. Your attorneys have more room for discovery. Throughout the process, you have more control than with a settlement.
Making the Choice
Ultimately, the choice to settle or fight is up to you. Sometimes it’s not about the money; what you believe can make you go to trial. If you have a severe injury, the compensation should be enough to cover your medical costs. If the compensation is enough, and you believe you’ve been serviced justice, it’s okay to settle and put it behind you. Otherwise, through your attorney, fight for your legal right.