If you’re being sued in a car accident, you probably want to know if the other party will settle.
The short answer is: probably.
The long answer is a little more complicated. About 95% of personal injury cases settle before trial. The same is true for car accident lawsuits.
But why is this? Well, there are several reasons.
Our personal injury and car accident attorneys here at Gordon & Gordon are going to go over them all with you in this post. We’ll also talk about the difference between a car accident settlement and a judgment in court.
Being Sued in a Car Accident: What’s the Difference Between a Settlement and A Judgment?
Well, the most obvious difference is that one happens in court, and one happens outside of court.
But to understand why settlements are preferable in the majority of cases, it’s important to understand how the decision-making process is different in each case.
So, say you’re being sued in a car accident. That makes you the defendant.
The first thing that will happen is that the plaintiff’s attorneys will file a claim with your insurance. They will give your insurance company all the information they have: eyewitness testimony, police records, and medical records. They will give your insurance company all the evidence they have that their client sustained an injury and that your negligence and recklessness caused it.
From there, your insurance company and the plaintiff’s attorneys will begin negotiations. If your insurance company believes the evidence is compelling, they will probably want to settle early. This is because if your case goes to trial, a judge will probably award a massive verdict to the plaintiff.
If the evidence is weak or uncertain, your insurance company might return with a lower number. This will continue until the number satisfies both parties. If the two cannot reach an agreement, the case will go to trial.
Here’s where things can get sticky for one party or another. In a trial, a judge will decide the amount and also who gets it. Your insurance company and the plaintiff’s attorneys will present their evidence. Once the judge makes a decision, you can’t negotiate it or belatedly accept an earlier offer. So when you’re being sued in a car accident, settling is usually better all around.
First, Insurance Companies Want to Settle
When you are being sued in a car accident, you probably won’t have to pay up. It will be your insurance company. And it’s in the insurance company’s best interest to settle a case quickly. They want to do this for a few reasons, which we’ll talk about farther down.
An insurance company’s entire goal is to close a claim quickly. For this reason, your insurance company will push hard for a settlement.
If you are the plaintiff in a case, a settlement is probably in your best interest. But make sure you consult your attorney before you accept any settlement offer.
Attorneys and Insurers Want to Avoid the Unpredictability of a Trial
This applies most to an insurance company, but the plaintiff’s attorney will probably want to avoid a trial as well.
Anything can happen in a trial. To avoid an unexpected result and to reduce their own risks, both plaintiffs and defendants will look to settle a lawsuit.
Even if neither party gets exactly what they want, there’s a degree of certainty with a settlement. The plaintiff can avoid getting nothing, and the defendant can avoid a massive verdict for the plaintiff. Both of these things can happen in trials, and there is no mitigating it or negotiating it.
Plaintiffs Want Payment Quickly
The plaintiff in a car accident suit wants to get their payment as quickly as possible. After all, money now is worth more than money later.
Additionally, plaintiffs probably have expenses. These include medical bills and lost wages. The longer it takes a case to resolve, the deeper in debt the plaintiff may get.
It is always better to settle because when an insurance company agrees to an amount, they will pay it out quickly. If you receive a judgment in court, there is no guarantee of collection.
This is because if the amount the judge awards you exceeds the defendant’s liability policy, the defendant is responsible for the overage. There is no guarantee the defendant can pay this out-of-pocket. The best way to get paid quickly is to settle.
When You’re Being Sued in a Car Accident, Everyone Wants to Save Money on Litigation
Litigation is expensive. When a case drags on for years and years, the costs start to pile up. There are depositions to attend, and expert witnesses to hire.
The price tag can easily reach five figures before trial and will double just for the trial itself. Both sides will incur these costs and would probably like to avoid as many of them as possible. Settlement early accomplishes this.
Achieving Closure After Being Sued in A Car Accident
Plaintiffs want to move on from their injury. When you’re being sued in a car accident, you want to get on with your life. Insurance companies want to close claims. Settling a case achieves closure more quickly than going to trial.
Being Sued in a Car Accident? Contact Gordon & Gordon