When most people are injured in car accidents, the cases settle out of court. The reason for this is that an out-of-court settlement is typically the fastest way to obtain much-needed compensation for medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and other costs.
However, if you’re hurt in a car crash and the insurance company is being difficult, you and your personal injury attorney may consider going to court for a car accident settlement. But whether you should settle out of court or go to trial depends on many factors. The car accident lawyers at The Francis Firm can advise you on your best legal options.
There are several reasons to consider settling out of court. The biggest reason is that you can obtain compensation faster than going to trial. Most people need money after a serious car accident for medical expenses, lost earnings, car damages, and pain and suffering.
Second, if the case goes to court, juries are unpredictable. Even if the other party caused the accident, there always is a chance you could lose at trial. That would mean you receive nothing in compensation for your damages and injuries.
Third, unless the case involves significant damages, there is a large possibility that the insurance company will negotiate a reasonable settlement with your attorney. Most insurance companies prefer to settle car accident cases outside of court to avoid the costs and risks of a jury trial.
Fourth, settling out of court is less stressful than a trial. When you’re overwhelmed with severe injuries and recovering your health, you may not want to deal with a trial that may take months to happen and resolve.
Fifth, car accident trials take time. Not only does the trial itself take weeks, but it may also take months to get the case on the court’s docket.
Lastly, settling gives more control to you and your car accident lawyer. You have the power to take the settlement or not and can continue negotiating for more money. In court, your fate is in the hands of the jury.
The most common reason to opt to court for a car accident case is that the insurance company doesn’t offer fair compensation or fault for the accident is contested. If you take the case to a jury and win, you could obtain a significant financial award.
However, the insurance company for the liable driver wants you to accept the lowest possible settlement. Therefore, they usually choose this option to save money and keep their shareholders happy.
Second, Texas is a comparative negligence state, so the insurance company might even try to shift some of the blame for the accident onto you. If they succeed, it could lower your settlement according to your percentage of fault for the incident.
Third, while settling outside the courtroom is the most common option in car accident cases, there are moments when the plaintiff may have to go to court to get a fair settlement. Your car accident lawyer will advise you if the insurance company offers a reasonable settlement.
Fourth, there also is a chance you could receive significantly more compensation if you go to trial. In many cases, the attorney may recommend going to trial if you have severe injuries and the insurance company will not offer a large enough settlement. In addition, many jurors sympathize with severely injured drivers and may pay the insurance company more money to teach them a lesson.
Lastly, some plaintiffs also simply want their day in court and want the case judged by a jury of their peers. If that is what you want, tell your personal injury attorney.
Another consideration about going to court or settling is the problem of uninsured drivers in Texas. It’s estimated that approximately 20% of Texas drivers don’t have auto insurance, which amounts to about 3 million drivers. Why is this important regarding settling or going to court?
If you take an uninsured driver to court for your injuries, you will unlikely collect even if the jury rules in your favor. In addition, most uninsured drivers don’t have significant financial assets, so going to court could waste time and money.
Fortunately, Texas drivers can purchase uninsured and underinsured driver coverage on their personal auto insurance policies. Thus, if an uninsured driver causes an accident, you can collect compensation in a settlement with your own insurance company.
Your Francis Firm auto accident attorney can assist you in negotiating a settlement with your insurance company under your uninsured and underinsured driver rider. Uninsured and underinsured coverage is optional in Texas, but it’s wise to pay for it if you are in a crash with an uncovered driver.
If you were in a car accident in Dallas or Fort Worth because of someone’s negligence, you could be entitled to compensation for your injuries and losses. Depending on the case circumstances, your attorney could recommend settling or taking the case to court. Contact The Francis Firm personal injury attorneys today for a complimentary case review.