Car accident court cases can seem like a lot of trouble. Most car accident cases are not high profile and are handled in small claims court. If damages are extensive or there was a death involved in the accident though, the court case can receive some local media coverage. Depending on your role in the case and in the community, the media coverage can be a good reason to reach a settlement as early as possible.
Likeliness of Case Going to Court
Many people who are involved in a car accident misunderstand the legal process and the likelihood that their case will go to court. In fact, most cases never make it to court. There is a huge incentive for at fault parties to settle and avoid the expensive cost of litigation. So, do not be surprised or put off if you are asked to go to mediation or offered a settlement.
If You are Offered a Settlement
Whether to take a settlement offer can be a difficult decision. Your attorney should be able to help you decide whether the settlement accurately reflects the value of your claim. It is a good time to talk about the cost of litigation with your attorney because even if you might receive more money in a trial, you may stand to pay higher legal fees and there is always a chance that you will not win when you go to trial.
Only you can decide if settlement is the right move for you. Your attorney can only advise you of the costs and your case and make a recommendation. You get to make the final decisions about whether or not to accept a settlement offer.
Pros and Cons of Going to Trial
- You may get a larger award than in settlement negotiations; and
- Some people feel more satisfied by holding the party accountable through the legal process for any damages they have caused.
- Legal fees for trials usually cost more than those for settlement negotiations because it takes longer to prepare for and conduct a trial; and
- You might not win.
Getting Legal Help
If you are going to take your car accident case to court, you will likely need an attorney to assist you with arguing your case and inspecting the incident. An attorney understands the intricacies of the law, including how evidence will be handled in court. You will have more confidence going into a court case with an attorney on your side.