After going through the physical, mental and emotional anguish often associated with a car accident, the last thing you may want is to end up going through a grueling court battle. Even so, you want to hold the at-fault party responsible for your injuries and other damages.
You may consider settling your case, but you want to be sure if it's in your best interests to do so. It may help to know that a large percentage of cases don't make it to trial, and settle instead. However, many factors go into making that determination. Every case is unique, and you shouldn't feel pressured to settle unless you feel satisfied that the parties involved treated you fairly.
Issues to consider
Before accepting a settlement in lieu of going to trial, you may ask the following questions:
- Do you face any practical challenges in trying the case?
- What minimum amount would you accept as a settlement?
- What chance do you have to succeed at trial?
- Do you know the other party's insurance policy limits?
- How strong or weak is your evidence?
- How strong or weak is the other driver's evidence?
- What financial resources does the other driver possess?
- What were the outcomes of cases similar to yours?
Finding the answers to these questions will more than likely require some investigation and research. Once you receive the answers to these and any other questions you may have, you can make an informed decision regarding pursuing settlement prospects.
You don't have to make this decision alone
Deciding to settle your case instead of going to trial could have significant effects on your future. More than likely, the negotiations will begin with a low offer from the insurance company. Many Pennsylvania accident victims fear that, if they refuse this settlement, they get nothing, and the insurance company is counting on that fact. Fortunately, you do not have to accept that first offer.
The question becomes whether you want to continue negotiations or proceed directly to filing a lawsuit. You are within your rights either way, especially since you can toll the statute of limitations by filing suit and continue to negotiate thereafter. The insurance company won't tell you that you only have a limited amount of time to file your claim in court. The longer the negotiations continue, the greater the chance you could lose your right to sue.
As you can see, making the decision to settle involves significant time and effort. Fortunately, you don't have to go through it alone.