Sue Or Settle: What Should You Do If You've Been Injured In An Auto Accident?

16 October 2017
 Categories: , Blog


After a car accident, your mind and body may not be in the best condition to make fast and crucial decisions, but that's exactly what you need to be able to do in order to seek justice. The choices you make now can impact the rest of your life, financially and otherwise, so make sure you consider all options and seek the most qualified advice, especially if you're left with the decision to sue or settle your case.

What You Need In Order To Pursue A Settlement Or Law Suit

Following a car accident, timing and documentation are crucial to your legal standing. You need to ensure you're filing any paperwork within the allotted time frame and that your records are meticulous and verified. No matter how extensive your injuries, following proper procedure is what will allow you to either sue or accept a settlement. Here's what you need to move forward:

  • The name and contact information of the other driver.
  • The contact information for the other driver's insurance company.
  • The names and badge numbers of the officers who responded to your accident.
  • A copy of the official police report (of the accident).
  • Photographs of the vehicles involved, as well as the scene of the accident.
  • Names, contact info, and statements from any witnesses.
  • Medical records that indicate the extent of your injuries and how you'll be affected short- and long-term.

Acquiring this data, especially if you've been hurt badly, may require a lot of effort and you should have help doing so, if needed. Have friends and family working on your behalf, and as soon as you decide to pursue some form of compensation or justice for the accident, contact a personal injury lawyer who specializes in cases involving automobile accidents and the subsequent harm they cause to people.

The Advantages Of Settling Your Personal Injury Case

In order to settle a case, you'll need to prepare a demand letter to be presented to the insurance company representing the other driver. This letter will contain all the relevant information needed to prove your claims and support the testimony of all witnesses. An attorney should help you prepare a demand letter, considering how much you have at stake. Your demand letter will include police reports, medical records, proof of your employment and lost wages, and other evidence about the accident. You should keep copies of every document submitted in the event that the insurance company and/or the other driver do not meet your demands.

Hopefully, your demand letter will be met with no resistance and the insurance company will see the benefits of agreeing to a settlement. For you, a settlement is beneficial for a number of reasons.

  • You won't have to endure a lengthy and stressful trial process, which can be very grueling if you're seriously injured.
  • The amount you spend on attorney's fees should be substantially less if you can avoid a trial.
  • Any compensation you're given will take less time to reach your pockets than if you had to go through a trial.

Although most cases aren't cut-and-dry, nor easy to pursue with an insurance company or the law, if the circumstances surrounding your accident are fairly uncomplicated and easy to prove, a settlement is the fastest, easiest, and least stressful course of action.

Why You Might Decide To Take It To A Jury

Although, for the most part, you'd probably prefer to settle, if the terms of your settlement are not agreed to, such as the insurer insisting on offering you much less than you and your personal injury attorney believe to be just, you should take your case to court. Especially if your injuries are going to keep you out of work for a long time, or worse, you're not going to be able to return to your previous job or normal way of life at all, you need to hold someone accountable, and therefore financially liable, for your situation.

Most of the financial burden of injuries sustained in automobile accidents is incurred in the first 18 months; however, you may be looking at a lifetime of serious backaches or other debilitating circumstances, making you eligible for greater compensation and further emphasizing the need to continue going after the responsible party, along with their insurer, via a trial by jury.

What Happens As You Prepare For Your Day In Court

Your lawyer will guide you through the process of preparing for trial, which involves filing a complaint with the appropriate court and serving the same paperwork to the other driver, the discovery process (when information is gathered), holding depositions (where people are required to answer questions about the accident), and eventually a trial date.

Everything you and your lawyer gather in preparation for the case will be admissible, making the original documentation you so diligently collected immediately following the accident all the more important. Since trials can be so time-consuming and a jury may not rule in your favor, despite overwhelming evidence validating your claims, reaching a settlement will likely be the goal of your attorney and should be yours as well.

How Important It Is To Follow Your Personal Injury Attorney's Advice

Because most of what you think you know about trials probably comes from watching television and movies, you might be inclined to believe that a trial by jury is an exciting exhibition where justice is ultimately seized in dramatic fashion, but that's not usually how it plays out. Your lawyer, based on their education and experience, can tell you what the best course of action for your particular case is, and winning or losing likely depends on following that advice.

No matter what your emotional state or personal opinion about the other driver, listen to your attorney and take a settlement if that's what they think you should do.

Contact an attorney like James Lee Katz to get help pursuing compensation.