One of the fears crash victims have about contacting a lawyer is that the lawyer will need to file a lawsuit. However, most car crash claims do not result in a lawsuit being filed. Most of the time, car crash claims are settled out of court. This means the insurance company and the victim’s attorney were able to agree on the amount of compensation that should be paid for the victim’s damages.
There are various advantages to settling a claim as opposed to going to court. We discuss these advantages below, along with some of the disadvantages of settling a case.
Even though most claims settle, it is important to have an attorney who is prepared to go to court. We discuss why below.
If you were injured because of another driver’s negligence on the road, call us today to learn more about how one of our lawyers may be able to help you. At Friedman, Domiano and Smith, there are no upfront fees for our services and no fees while we work to pursue compensation.
Schedule your free legal consultation today: 216-621-0070.
Pros of Settling a Car Accident Claim
A Cleveland auto accident lawyer from our firm can discuss the benefits of settling a case in more detail, but we have listed some of the main benefits below.
Resolving the Case Quicker
It could take a year or longer for a court case to reach its conclusion. There are many steps that need to be taken before a trial can even begin, including pre-trial mediation and discovery.
Many car crash cases are settled within three to six months. However, it is important to state that each case is unique and there is no one-size-fits-all answer about how long it may take.
Settlement negotiations are less formal than in a court trial, which helps to save time. Once both parties agree on a settlement, they can get to work on finalizing it and getting the victim his or her compensation.
You Are Guaranteed to Receive Compensation in a Settlement
If you settle, you are guaranteed to receive at least some amount of compensation. However, unless you hire an attorney who is prepared to go to trial, you may be less likely to recover the full value of your claim. This is because if the insurance company does not think there is a chance of a trial they may be less likely to increase their offer of compensation.
If you take the case to trial, it is important to understand the possible outcomes. You could receive more compensation than you would in a settlement. However, there is also a chance the jury might award you significantly less or no compensation at all.
The Insurance Company Cannot Appeal the Settlement
Insurance companies cannot appeal a settlement. Once the offer is signed, neither party can take further legal action about the crash that was the subject of the claim.
However, if you take the case to court, there is a chance the insurance company might file an appeal if they do not like the result. This could further delay your receipt of compensation.
Settlements Are Often Less Stressful
Crash victims generally feel less stress when settling, unlike the thought of going to court, which often causes victims to feel considerable anxiety. They may get nervous about the thought of having to testify and answer questions from the insurance company, for instance. Fortunately, victims do not have to go to court to provide testimony in the settlement process. This can be a huge relief for many crash victims.
Victims may also feel more stress as the legal process of a court trial drags on. Settling a claim, however, takes less time than going to court.
Court cases become public record, but settlements do not. That means most of the details of your settlement will remain private. Many people would rather keep the details of any legal process private.
Cons of Settling a Car Accident Claim
While there are many advantages, there are some drawbacks to settling a case. You can discuss these things in more detail with your attorney.
You May be Able to Recover More Compensation at Trial
Juries may be willing to award more money to the victim than the insurance company would be willing to pay out. That is why insurance companies would prefer not to go to trial. There are also additional expenses with preparing a case.
Your case is in the hands of a jury, not the insurance company. Juries are often more sympathetic to accident victims than large insurance companies, particularly if the victim’s attorney presents strong evidence.
The Results of a Court Case are Public Record
Most of the details of a settlement remain confidential. The idea of having the details of their legal process disclosed in a public record is something most victims want to avoid. However, there are times when confidentiality may matter less to some injured victims.
For instance, some victims may want cases to be part of the public record because it makes the insurance company look bad.
Maybe the insurance company’s handling of the claim was particularly egregious. For example, maybe they denied compensation to a victim who suffered a serious injury, even though the severity of the injury was blatantly obvious and supported by evidence.
You Cannot Appeal a Settlement
Once you agree to a settlement, you cannot recover more compensation from the insurance company. You may be able to file a separate third-party claim or file a claim with the insurance policy of a third driver.
Unfortunately, if you later realize you need more compensation, you may be out of options for recovering more. There is no way to file an appeal.
Alternatively, if you take a case to court, however, you can file an appeal if you are unhappy with the jury’s verdict.
Are You a Crash Victim? Call to Discuss Legal Options
Are you unsure of your legal options after a crash? Call Friedman, Domiano and Smith to learn if you may have a case and schedule your free initial legal consultation. We have been representing car crash victims in Cleveland and throughout Ohio for decades, recovering millions on their behalf.
If you have questions, call today. We are ready to help: 216-621-0070.
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