When harm comes to you through no fault of your own, you have a right to be compensated. After a car accident, it's important to speak to an auto accident attorney as soon as you are able. Doing so helps provide accident victims with a greater chance of success by preserving evidence and by obeying the statute of limitations. Your attorney will probably try to settle your case but some personal injury cases must be taken to court.
Settlements are Final
When you settle a case, you do so outside a court of law. That means a case can be settled without involving a judge, a jury, and a courtroom entirely. It should also be mentioned that a settlement can occur once a trial has begun. A settlement, however, is still a legal and binding agreement and you must know what you are agreeing to before you sign on the line. Once you settle, you cannot change your mind and take further legal action against the other driver. Be sure not to sign anything from the other driver or their insurance carrier without consulting with a personal injury lawyer. Settlements can also be known as a release. Some unscrupulous insurance companies have been known to present a check to accident victims along with such a release. Make no mistake, signing a release, cashing a check, or agreeing to a settlement ends your claim for good.
Settlements Are Often Preferable
The above should not be taken to mean that settlements are a bad thing. To the contrary, a good and fair settlement is a lot quicker, less stressful, and less expensive than taking a case to court. It's important, when considering a settlement, that you involve an attorney. Most accident victims are in a vulnerable position and many don't realize what they should be paid after an accident. An attorney can evaluate the following and help you arrive at a figure that covers your needs:
- Your medical expenses
- Future medical needs
- Repair and replacement of any personal property
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Fault in the accident
When Court is Necessary
Sometimes, the other side won't agree to a settlement and a lawsuit must be filed. The legal process for a trial involves serving the other side with the suit, discovery and investigations, and the trial itself. Only cases that are expected to result in large sums should be pursued in court. Speak to your personal injury attorney to find out more about taking another driver to court.