Should you sue or settle for injuries caused by a car crash?

December 30, 2014

If a car accident leaves you hurt, you'll have to decide: should you sue for injuries incurred in the crash? Or settle out of court? Here's what you must know.

Should you sue or settle for injuries caused by a car crash?

Many car accident injury claims end up in settlement—more than most people are aware of. The majority of injury lawsuits end up settling well before trial and a large number of insurance claims are resolved through settlement without a lawsuit ever being filed. There are advantages to both settling before trial as well as going to court. Before you make your decision on which way to go, consider some of the steps that will have to be taken and weigh the pros and cons of both options.

Settling before filing

There are several advantages to settling a car accident injury claim before filing a lawsuit in court, including that you’ll receive compensation faster, you can avoid an unpredictable jury decision, you can save time by avoiding appearances at multiple court proceedings such as hearings, depositions and trial, and a settlement will cost far less in attorney’s fees.

Going to court

Should you feel that court is a better option due to, for instance, a lack of response to your demand letter or a less than satisfactory settlement offer from the insurance company, you may choose to file a lawsuit. At this point, you may be able to sue an insurance company for injuries incurred in a car accident, and pain and suffering, property damage and lost wages following the incident.

In order to do this, you’ll have to take the following steps:

  1. Obtain all insurance information from the driver at the scene of the accident.
  2. Open your claim with the insurance company of the driver who caused the accident within 30 days of the accident. Once your claim is opened, you have three years to sue the insurance company.
  3. Get immediate medical attention for your injuries. You need this documented in order to prove personal injury, pain and suffering and lost wages. Follow your doctor's advice in treating the injury.
  4. Get a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer and organize all documents that you’ll need to bring to your consultation:
    • Insurance policy
    • Insurance information of the at-fault driver
    • Copy of police report
    • Copy of your medical records including the injury you reported to your doctor
  5. Your consultation will determine whether or not you have a valid case. If you do, you may want to proceed by hiring a personal injury lawyer.
  6. Once you're ready to proceed, it’s important that you follow your lawyer’s advice throughout the entire process. Negotiations will go back and forth between your lawyer and the at-fault driver’s insurance company until the insurance company makes their final offer. If you choose not to accept the offer, you will proceed to court.
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