It’s helpful to know the benefits of going to trial and getting a settlement in your car accident case. Our team of car accident lawyers in Fort Myers can help you determine which option works best for you.
At Viles & Beckman, our team of car accident lawyers in Fort Myers explains the difference between these two legal options. Read on to learn what the difference is between settling and going to trial in a car accident case.
Settlement vs. Trial Process for a Car Accident Case in Florida
In the settlement process, our lawyers will gather evidence regarding liability, injuries, and damages caused. This is shared with the at-fault driver’s insurance company to negotiate a resolution.
Offers and counteroffers are routinely exchanged until an agreement can be reached. The goal is to come to a number that fairly compensates you without proceeding further.
If we can’t agree on a settlement, pursuing a trial becomes the next step. To gather testimony, our car accident lawyers in Fort Myers will take depositions of witnesses and experts. Then, we’ll set a trial date where a judge or jury will view and hear your evidence and arguments.
At trial, both sides have the chance to share their views with a judge or jury. Witnesses testify and are questioned. After examining all evidence, the ultimate decision-maker, the judge or jury, will determine liability and damages through a final judgment. If successful, you will recover compensation. But there are no assurances of the outcome as trials are unpredictable.
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Pros and Cons of a Car Accident Settlement
When considering whether to settle your car accident case, it’s important to weigh the potential advantages and disadvantages. As your Fort Myers car accident attorney, here are a few pros and cons that are common when settling:
- The settlement allows you to resolve your claim without going through a lengthy trial. This means you may receive compensation faster.
- By settling, you avoid the uncertainty of a trial where the result can go either way. There are no guarantees with a trial.
- Settlement negotiations are generally less expensive than preparing for and undergoing a full trial.
Some cons, on the other hand, include:
- In many cases, settling results in less monetary compensation than what a successful trial might yield if damages are adequately proven. You give up the chance to receive a full jury award.
- When you settle, you lose some control over the outcome. The insurance company dictates the settlement terms rather than a third-party decision-maker, like a judge or jury.
- Settling means you waive your right to continue investigating the case through the discovery process. This could turn up documents or information helpful to increasing the settlement value or a future trial.
What About the Pros and Cons of Going to Trial?
While settlement avoids a drawn-out legal process, proceeding to trial does have some advantages. Here are some key pros to consider:
- A trial allows for all evidence to be presented before an impartial third party, like a judge or jury. They can make an unbiased decision on liability and damages.
- If you have a very strong case, a trial provides the opportunity to receive a full and fair compensation award from the decision-maker. Potentially more than a settlement offer.
- Going to trial maintains your right to have your day in court and tell your side of the case directly to the trier of fact.
Here are some common cons of going to trial:
- Trials are unpredictable. There are no guarantees as to the final ruling, even with a good case. The outcome is out of your control.
- The pre-trial and trial process is much more lengthy than negotiating a settlement. It can take a year or more to go to trial.
- Expenses are much higher with trial preparation, including costs like depositions, expert witnesses, exhibits, court fees, and attorney fees up to and including trial. These can easily exceed a settlement value.
- The stress and anxiety of a trial are unavoidable as opposed to settling without this risk.
How Your Car Accident Lawyer Can Help You in Either Situation
Whether you pursue settlement negotiations or take your case to trial, we will provide valuable assistance at each step. Here’s how our car accident attorney in Fort Myers at Viles & Beckman can help:
Presenting at Trial
We are experienced trial lawyers who can clearly communicate your narrative and position to the judge or jury. Our examination skills will highlight strengths and address flaws.
With our guidance, you can make an informed choice between settlement or trial and feel supported throughout the legal resolution of your accident claim. We’re here to fight for the maximum recovery for you.
Guiding Your Settlement Discussions
We have experience evaluating car accident cases like yours to fully understand the strengths and weaknesses of your claims against the at-fault driver. By scrutinizing all available evidence, such as vehicle damage photographs, medical records, and witness statements, we can accurately gauge the value of your case in a settlement. Our involvement in speaking directly with the insurance adjusters handling your claim allows us to advocate on your behalf.
If the initial offer seems too low, we will negotiate by emphasizing the liability arguments and documentation of your extensive treatment expenses to get you a fairer settlement. If direct negotiations stall, we are familiar with alternative dispute resolution methods like mediation that involve a neutral third party.
Such mediations have proven successful at times in facilitating agreements where the insurance company and our office could not see eye to eye previously. Our 40 years of experience with mediation allows us to strategically prepare and engage in the process to increase the odds of bringing about a resolution with improved terms for you.
Negotiating the Best Outcome
We understand the tactics adjusters commonly employ to undervalue claims as well as the thresholds where increased liability or special damages will trigger higher settlement offers. When discussing the resolution of your case directly with the adjusters, we can skillfully reference your extensive injuries, high medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and diminished quality of life to emphasize this should fall into a higher payout category.
If initial conversations do not meet our objectives for reasonable compensation, we have various escalation strategies to apply increased pressure through potential litigation indicators and statutory deadlines. Our goal is to leave no money on the table by probing for the maximum settlement limits and pursuing supplemental and uninsured motorist coverage avenues where applicable. With our experience handling similar injury cases, you can be confident we will negotiate aggressively to get you a successful outcome.
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Learn More About the Difference Between a Settlement and Going To Trial
At Viles & Beckman, our team of experienced car accident attorneys in Fort Myers can help you whether you’re considering going to trial or settling in your case. Our team will be here for you throughout the whole process of your case.
To learn more about what the difference is between settling and going to trial for a car accident case, contact us today.