After a car accident, is it better to sue or to settle?
Many people mistakenly believe that after receiving an offer from the insurance, their only option is to either accept that initial amount or to file a lawsuit in order to get an amount they believe that they truly deserve. Luckily this is not the case, and depending on how much time is remaining before the statute of limitations expires, there is plenty of time to work towards a fair settlement. However, determining whether or not a lawsuit or settlement negotiations are the best course of action depends on a lot of different factors that are very unique to the victim’s situation. Is the defendant willing to negotiate? Are they actively attempting to deny your needs, or is there room to work together?
Regardless of whether or not you are working with a defendant who is willing to negotiate, your best choice is to hire an attorney as soon as possible so you can make these decisions with the support of an experienced legal professional. In conversations with car accident lawyer Harrison, we learned a bit more about what makes either of these options preferable, and how to move forward with the uncertainty at the start of your case.
Are You Able to File an Insurance Claim?
The hope after an accident is that the responsible party is insured, meaning that there is financial support for your injuries and financial damages. The unfortunate reality is that many people choose to drive a motor vehicle without insurance, meaning that you are left with limited options when it comes to collecting a fair amount of compensation. In an instance where you have been hurt my someone who does not have insurance, you and your lawyer may decide that filing a lawsuit right off the bat is the most appropriate course of action.
However, if you were hurt by someone who does have an insurance policy then you should attempt to settle directly in most cases. Of course, there are situations where this is not the case, but those are an exception. The most important thing that you can do before even filing a claim with the insurance company is to hire an attorney to represent your case. From the moment you communicate with the insurance company first, they will be analyzing every statement that you make in order to limit your settlement amount.
When To File a Lawsuit
Again, the specifics of when to file a lawsuit versus when to attempt to settle are highly specific, but it is important that you file a lawsuit if you have been unable to reach a settlement agreement and your statute of limitations is about to expire. Once this happens, you will have little to no ability to seek any compensation from the defendant. There are certain instances where you may be able to appeal to the courts in order to have an extension, but these are very rare and should not be counted on.
If you have reached a point in your negotiations where you are fairly certain that the defendant will not reach a fair middle ground with you, then your only option may be to leave it up to the courts. The reality is that there will be a number of opportunities to attempt negotiations during preparation for the actual trial, as well, meaning that even filing a lawsuit is not a certainty that you will need to go to trial.
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